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Kids Can Take Over Parents' Devices with Ads Urging Them to Ditch Single-Use Plastics

Gelo’s ‘Parent Track’ aims to build on the recent surge of kids educating their parents and driving more sustainable practices at home.

Sustainable soap startup Gelo has launched an anti-single-use plastic campaign with a fresh angle: It gives kids the power to follow their parents around the internet with ads that constantly urge them to ditch single-use plastics and live more sustainably at home.

The Parent Track, developed by Gelo in partnership with creative agency Mischief @ No Fixed Address, comes as more children than ever before are educating their parents on being more environmentally savvy.

All kids have to do is visit The Parent Track page on their parents' or family laptops, computers, phones and tablets for those devices to get automatically cookied. From then on, that device will receive numerous digital ads with messages from kids encouraging their parents to follow more sustainable practices. These ads, which follow the users around the internet, lead to a suite of educational tools created by Gelo to give guidance on how to be kinder to the environment.

Image credit: Gelo

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"When it comes to sustainability, our future is quite literally in the hands of our kids — so, we've given them this cheeky tool to help educate their elders," said Gelo co-founder and CEO Curan Mehra.

Ads include notes such as:

"You still kiss your kids in public; don't embarrass them more by buying single-use packaging."

And:

"Your kids aren't mad that you bought single-use packaging, they're just disappointed. Which is way worse."

"Using strategies we learned from our own parents — persistence and guilt — the Parent Track utilizes cookies to help kids convince their parents to quit single-use plastics once and for all," said Dylan Wagman and James Leake, associate creative directors at Mischief @ No Fixed Address.

With an increased demand for hand soap during the coronavirus pandemic, Mehra and his father, Sanjiv Mehra — former executive at Unilever and founder of EOS products — saw a demand in the market for hand soap as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and knew they had to go to market fast with a quality product that also helps eliminate the manufacturing and shipping of single-use plastic bottles.

While industry giants are collaborating as we speak on a standardized Recyclability Framework that will help the US make good on a recently unveiled national strategy to achieve a circular economy for plastics by 2025, more alternatives to single-use packaging along the way will be instrumental.

As an alternative to conventional, single-use plastic bottles, Gelo offers dissolvable, biodegradable pods filled with ultra-concentrated cleansers that can be combined with water at home to create hand soap. By eliminating the need to ship water or single-use plastic bottles, Gelo’s Hand Soap Refill Pods help prevent landfill waste and dramatically reduce carbon emissions. The company says the gel pod pouches leave behind 97 percent less packaging waste compared to the equivalent number of single-use bottles — Gelo says it has helped divert millions of bottles from landfills since launching on Earth Day last year.

"More than 1.3 billion tons of plastic waste will flow into the world's oceans over the next two decades without widespread intervention,” Curan added. “It's hoped that this somewhat annoying drive for awareness will convert to tangible change in households across America and beyond.”

The Parent Track tool comes at a time when young climate activists continue to capture the world's attention. Following 2019's colossal Global Climate Strike, in which an estimated 1.6 million children took part, a Nature Climate Change study found that kids studying the environment increased their parents' level of concern by an average of 23 percent. The research found that daughters had the greatest effect — and an almost double (40 percent) increase in the level of concern among conservative parents.

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