The “Crying Indian” Ad That Got the Environmental Movement Off Track

KAB needed to propagandize without seeming propagandistic and [counter] the claims of a political movement without seeming political. At the moment the tear appears, the narrator, in a baritone voice, intones: “People start pollution. People can stop it.” By making individual viewers feel guilty and responsible for the polluted environment, the ad deflected the question of responsibility away from corporations and placed it entirely in the realm of individual action, concealing the role of industry in polluting the landscape.

…The shift to the throwaway was responsible, in part, for the rising levels of litter that KAB publicized, but also, as environmentalists emphasized, for the mining of vast quantities of natural resources, the production of various kinds of pollution, and the generation of tremendous amounts of solid waste.

The “Crying Indian” Ad That Fooled the Environmental Movement | Essay | Zócalo Public Square



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