Edinburgh duo create ‘Pukemon’ game to tackle Leith’s litter problem

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An advertising guru behind the iconic Irn Bru ads has litter-picked his way into augmented reality to try and crack Leith’s rubbish problem.

And to help drive the anti-litter message home to local kids, trash-hating husband and wife team Gerry and Zsuzsa Farrell have adapted the Pokemon Go ‘pocket monsters’ craze in the hope it will help engage children.

The Pukemon campaign has been launched. Picture: Contributed

The Pukemon campaign has been launched. Picture: Contributed

The co-founders of Leithers Don’t Litter, a community campaign group trying to clean up the city’s streets, have created and app with some special new monsters to “catch”.

Pukemons, brainchild of the Edinburgh couple, is a new app which uses augmented reality to help parents teach their kids that it’s not cool to drop litter.

With funding from Leith Chooses, five Pukemons have been hidden in five Leith playparks.

Passionate about cleaning up Leith, this is the next catchy campaign in a string of successful efforts Zsuzsa and Gerry of Gerry Farrell Ink have launched since starting the anti-litter organisation Leithers Don’t Litter in 2015 .

The Pukemon campaign has been launched. Picture: Contributed

The Pukemon campaign has been launched. Picture: Contributed

Gerry said: “As far as we know, this is the first time anyone’s ever used augmented reality in an anti-litter campaign.”

“We’ve built our own Pukemon app and put up five specially designed posters in five Leith Playparks - Leith Links, Henderson Gardens, Dalmeny Street, Sandport Street and Taylor Gardens on Great Junction Street.

“On each poster there’s a piece of litter but there’s a cute little monster hiding there too.

“The kids have to find all five. They can do that by asking their mums and dads to download a special app onto their phones. It works with Android and iPhones. These little creatures – the Pukemons – have a very strong reaction to litter. The clue’s in the name.”

The fun initiative launched yesterday at Leith Market in Dock Place when over 50 kids tried to catch the five Pukemons – Sicki, Ikki, Slimi, Boaki, Yukki.

Children also got a free Pukemon badge in exchange for collecting a small bag of rubbish from the surrounding streets.

The idea is a rift on the popular augmented reality game Pokemon Go which allows players to “catch” animated characters that pop up in the real world using their smartphones.

Different Pokemon characters appear as players travel around the real world.

The Pukemon app, created by Dani Labrosse at Labrosse’s Stuff, can be downloaded at “Leithers Don’t Litter: Pukemon” app from Google Play or from the Apple App Store.

The community campaign group was hailed as a model for local anti-litter drives across Scotland at Holyrood when MSPs praised the initiative as an example which could be followed nationwide.

They also won the “Best Litter Prevention Initiative” Award at the Scottish Resources Awards in 2016 and the Grand Prix at the Drum Scottish Creative Awards.

And in October Leithers Don’t Litter were finalists at the Scottish Resources Awards in the”Best Partnership Initiative” category with Changeworks for the eye-catching Flyspotting campaign which reduced flytipping by 47 percent.

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