City of Hamilton

Flushables campaign teaches Hamilton to ‘Own Your Throne’

2019 IABC Gold Quill Award

2019 Hermes Award - Gold

The challenge

The Hamilton Clean Harbour Program aims to improve Hamilton Harbour’s water quality, protect its natural habitat, and enhance the harbour experience for residents and visitors. Recently, through an older combined sewer overflow (CSO) system, hygienic items and other non-flushable waste started appearing as floatable and shoreline debris in the harbour. The City needed a way to educate residents on how their non-flushable waste can harm the environment, as well as cost time and money to clean up and repair damaged sewer infrastructure. Our challenge was to deliver an outreach campaign that could accomplish long-term resident flushing behaviour. 

The insights

With a traditionally sensitive and private topic (toilet etiquette), we knew our approach needed to be creative and original, keep a lighter tone and still turn heads. We created the medieval campaign theme “Own Your Throne” to encourage residents to take ownership and responsibility of what they flush down their toilet. Through our in-depth research process, we discovered that using humour to deliver the message that only pee, poo and toilet paper should be flushed would create the best engagement with residents of all ages. Our campaign’s heroes, the 3Ps (Richard the Turd, Sir Peeter and the Duchess of Swirl), represent the only items that can be safely flushed, and are the campaign’s ambassadors through marketing materials.

The flushables team

Our “Own Your Throne” animated video series has generated more than 40,000 views in a few short months

The result

We created and implemented a full communications and marketing strategy with measurement, survey distributions, and full design and copy development of print and digital advertisements, radio ads, infographics, social media posts, 2D animated videos, website landing pages, posters and more.

The campaign’s videos and web pages have generated tens of thousands of views, along with hundreds of social media shares and comments. Residents and students have also gotten the opportunity to learn about the 3Ps and appear in photo opportunities through selfie boards and character puppets at events like World Toilet Day, an OHL Hamilton Bulldogs game and UN World Water Day.