Ad Nut
May 11, 2023

God and AI team up to stop Taiwan's litterbugs

Hold on to the trash! There's a new sheriff in town and he's not just any cop, he's a holographic god.

Garbage is a messy problem in Taiwan. You have to be ready at a specific time, at a designated location, and wait for the garbage truck to dump your litter. You only have ten minutes, and the garbage truck doesn’t wait. If you fail, you have to bring the garbage back home. That caused inappropriate sneaky garbage disposal, making littering a severe problem. Even penalties are useless.

Many in Taiwan revere their gods and believe their behaviour is being watched. So, Leo Burnett and Digitas Taiwan developed the ‘God is watching’  Behaviour Recognition Detector for BaoXing Council in New Taipei City. It is an AI-powered device that detects rubbish dumpers and projects a holographic god, reminding people to dispose of their waste properly.

This AI detecting hologram is modelled on Tudigong, the God of Land, respected like a family elder in Taiwan, making him the perfect god for solving a messy problem. A pilot programme was launched through analysis of human garbage dumping behaviour and AI deep learning, coupled with holography, after two months of planning and testing.

Kevin Yang, CEO and CCO at Leo Burnett Taiwan, explains: “Most people don’t dump with bad intentions, so creating a little holographic god was the silliest way we could think of to show BaoXing Council how creativity and technology can make our neighbourhoods better.”

Just in three months,  ‘God is watching’ successfully reduced the illegal waste dropped by 73%. Ad Nut likes the imagination in use here, so even though it may be scary for humans, a part of Ad Nut is happy to see that the New Taipei city government is initiating further cooperation with the project. On the other paw,  Ad Nut also wonders whether trying to place holograms and detectors on random potentialy dumping sites is really an efficient solution to the problem, rather than just providing the folks with alternative sites to dump their trash off-hours. 

Nonetheless, if you're dumping waste in the middle of the night in Taipei these days, be careful. God will manifest to scare you off in a flash of a second.

Now if only there were a god to tell people to properly clean up after themselves in public toilets!


Brand: BaoXing Council, Xindian District Office - New Taipei City
Agency: Leo Burnett Taiwan & Digitas Taiwan
Chief Creative Officer: Kevin Yang
Creative Director: Eki Lee
Associate Creative Director: Jenny Hsu
Art Director: Ego Chiang
Copywriter: Eki Lee
Agency producer: Evans Kao
Creative Technologist: Cathy Wu
Technical Director: Felix Chang
Animator Special Effects: Justin Chen

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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