Sick of having to clean up after irresponsible dog owners, authorities in Brunete, a small town 20 miles west of Madrid, came up with an ingenious way to keep the streets clean. They started sending the dog poo back to their owners in boxes marked “Lost Property”.
The council of Brunete had not approved a budget for the original street cleaning campaign, but advertising agency McCann was willing to do all the work for free. During the course of a week, more than a dozen volunteers patrolled the streets keeping an eye out for owners who didn’t clean up after their pets. As soon as they spotted an offender, they approached them and sparked up a conversation about their dog, trying to find out its name and breed. “With the name of the dog and the breed it was possible to identify the owner from the registered pet database held in the town hall,” a spokesman of the town council explained. As soon as the owner left, the volunteers picked up the poo and packaged them in cardboard boxes branded with the town hall insignia and marked as “Lost Property”. The smelly packages were then delivered by courier to the pet owners homes, along with a fine warning.
The unique campaign won the “Sol de Plata” award at the Ibero-American Advertising Festival, and authorities reported a 70 per cent drop in the amount of dog mess found in the streets after the 147 “express poop” deliveries were made. To keep the momentum going, the authorities of Brunete have come up with a new campaign. Aided by a team of volunteers, they have created remote-controlled pieces of fake poo that crash into dog owners. They come with miniature banners that read “Don’t abandon me. Pick me up.” Most people reacted positively to the council’s initiative, although some said they would prefer the town create special areas where dogs can do their business.