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Manufacturing Initiative

MAJOR MANUFACTURING COMPANY RESEARCH PROJECT TO COMBAT EFFORTS TO BAN PRODUCTS IN MULTIPLE STATES

Situation

At the end of 2010, the plastic bag industry found itself embroiled in a battle against everyone from environmentalists to highschoolers. Dozens of state legislatures and city councils throughout the U.S. were proposing ordinances banning or taxing plastic carryout bags from grocery and convenience stores. Stores which failed to comply with passed ordinances would face stiff fines, not to mention the higher costs of only offering paper bags – which would be passed on to consumers as a per bag fee.

Opponents of the effort lauded the usefulness of plastic grocery bags beyond the one-time carry-home use, as well as the increased cost to consumers using paper bags or increased health risks of using reusable bags. But their voice was muted by the uproar of the environmental community over plastic bags reaching waterways and city council members pushing to clean litter from their streets.

The industry was at a crossroads – sit back and let these ordinances take effect, jeopardizing thousands of jobs, or find a way to make their voice heard by reasonable voters. 

GSSG was retained to:

·       Develop a strategy to push back against the environmentalists assault on the industry

·       Defeat the proposed ban in Oregon and assist in the efforts in California and Maryland

Our Approach:

·       We began by conducted survey research both nationally and in each state facing legislative action with oversamples in our most challenging areas.

·       Used results to find messages which helped or harmed the plastic bag ban cause, and used those messages to frame an communications architecture

·       Advised, based on this framework, a series of print, radio, and television ads to inform the public on the adverse effects of a plastic bag ban.

·       Used our network of relationships to directly and indirectly lobby the Oregon legislature.

Results:

·       Changed the entire conversation surrounding the plastic bag issue to a more favorable reasoned understanding

·       Successfully defeated statewide bag bans in Oregon, California, and Maryland.