In a dark TV ad aired in 1971, a jerk tosses a bag of trash from a moving car. The garbage spills onto the moccasins of a buckskin-clad Native American, played by Italian American actor Espera Oscar de Corti. He sheds a tear on camera, because his world has been defiled, uglied, and corrupted by trash. The poignant ad, which won awards for excellence in advertising, promotes the catchline “People Start Pollution. People can stop it.” What’s lesser known is the nonprofit group Keep America Beautiful, funded by the very beverage and packaging juggernauts pumping out billions of plastic bottles each year (the likes of The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, and Anheuser-Busch Companies), created the PSA.
The real message, underlying the staged tear and feather headdress, is that pollution is your problem, not the fault of the industry mass-producing cheap bottles.