Almost three decades ago, Keep America Beautiful created a powerful visual image to dramatize how litter and other forms of environmental pollution were hurting America, and how litter was every individual's responsibility.
Keep America Beautiful's landmark public service ad, which featured the now-famous face and tear of the actor Iron Eyes Cody, first aired on Earth Day 1971. It was titled “People Start Pollution, People Can Stop It,” and it went on to become one of the most successful and memorable campaigns in advertising history. This public service ad — which became widely known as the “Crying Indian”ad —and the several versions that followed, are credited with helping to fuel the fledgling environmental movement in this country.
Keep America Beautiful's follow-up PSA, titled “Back By Popular Neglect,” first aired on Earth Day (April 21) 1998. It recalls the famous face and tear of Iron Eyes Cody, and delivers a strong message about litter prevention and individual responsibility. It was adapted to include information about the 1999 Great American Cleanup™.