City launches plastic bag ordinance ad campaign


by ASHLEY GOUDEAU / KVUE News and photojournalist DOUG NAUGLE

Bio | Email | Follow: @AshleyG_KVUE

Posted on February 18, 2013 at 7:05 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 18 at 7:21 PM

AUSTIN -- Around Austin, you can find iconic statues that help give the city its unique personality. From the Stevie Ray Vaughn statue at Auditorium Shores to the Willie Nelson figure downtown. They are the things tourists, and locals alike, flock to for photos. And now, they are the stars of a new ad campaign.

The City of Austin's TV and radio campaign to inform Austinites of the single-use bag ban now on the air.

An announcer says:

"Beginning March 1st, thin, plastic shopping bags won't be available in Austin. So keep a reusable bag handy, and always remember to bring it."

"I have not seen the commercials but I heard it was pretty expensive. $850,000," said Laura Courtney who lives in Austin.

The $850,000 is for TV, radio and print ads that will run now through April and again later in the year. Plus a new website, set to launch next week.

Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing (SMAM) is the company behind the campaign.

"Austin has a very strong identity and we think it's important to speak to the community here, to show images that people can relate to," said SMAM PR Director Robert Nash.

But is starting the ad campaign just 10 days before these bags are banned enough time to educate the public?

"No," said Donovan Powell. "They should give us a heads up like a year in advance, more than just throw it at us in ten days."

"Oh that's plenty of time. I think it's been in the news. People know that it's coming," said Courtney.

But not everyone is ready. A spokesperson for Subway restaurants in Austin tells KVUE News the company is "scrambling" to find a way to comply with the ordinance.

There will be an official launch for the campaign Thursday at 10:30 a.m. in front of the Willie Nelson statue downtown.        

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