Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Kelloggs turns to actors to get its message across

March 2009

The cereal manufacturer Kelloggs has taken the unusual step of using undercover actors to convey waste-cutting messages to employees.
The two female thespians, from the CragRats theatre company, were sent into Kelloggs’ UK headquarters in Manchester as cleaners.

As they worked through the four floors, emptying bins and tidying up, they confronted unsuspecting staff with light-hearted comments about their wasteful habits and inattention to recycling.

Kelloggs’s community and social responsibility manager Bruce Learner, who commissioned the stunt, said it was meant to ‘stir up’ the 550 employees, and had caused a degree of consternation. However, the exercise proved to be a successful way of reinforcing ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ messages.

‘No one knew about this in advance, so the sight of these cleaning ladies making comments about their habits took people by surprise,’ he told EP. ‘It would be fair to say that some people were challenged and taken off guard.’

The idea arose after Learner had used a CragRats actor dressed as a cleaner to make humorous interruptions to a presentation he was making at an away day for 100 finance staff. The idea worked well and he decided to take it in another guise to head office.

The actors were careful not to disrupt working patterns, and were instructed to keep comments amusing and non-confrontational. Most of their interventions were improvised, but they also set up semi-scripted vignettes between themselves.

In general, staff were picked up for misdemeanours such as drinking from plastic cups instead of mugs and failing to use the recycling bin. But they were also praised if they had shown a commitment to reducing waste.

Learner conceded it was difficult to attribute any direct behaviour change to the exercise, but said waste audits continue to show improvements.

Kellogg's | UK & NI Ireland | Communication

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