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The trash can pictured is not a City-approved waste receptacle. It was an advertising tool for ck IN2U, Calvin Klein’s newest fragrance, and its stay at the corner of Dundas and Victoria Streets long outlasted its welcome.
Branded with the catchphrase “what are u in 2?” with no mention of the fragrance itself or of Calvin Klein, eighty faux trash cans were distributed across Montreal and Toronto as part of the ck IN2U teaser advertising campaign. From March 8–10 this year, soon before the fragrance launched, Coty Prestige (which does marketing for ck IN2U) ran the teaser, for which Speed Promotions executed the design and distribution of Post-It notes and trash cans. In Toronto, forty cans were placed in high-traffic areas, mostly along Queen Street West and College Street, and around the Entertainment District.
Craig McLaughlin, national account manager at Speed, confirmed that Speed “did not have any city permits” to place the cans on public property. It was a guerrilla-style campaign, so if someone didn’t like the cans, he or she was free to remove them. (We should have done that with Audi’s “sculptures.”) McLaughlin said that since it is out of Speed’s control to track the cans after being placed, he didn’t know how long they would unofficially circulate. He guessed there probably are more around Toronto and Montreal long after the teaser, providing “additional exposure”—it was not part of the deal to collect the cans after the teaser campaign ended. Free corporate advertising? All the better for Calvin Klein. Interestingly, while we were getting the story behind the leftover bin at Dundas and Victoria last week, it disappeared from the intersection.
So why the Oscar-the-Grouch-style trash cans? Is Sesame Street that CK sexy? Maybe they were bins to toss away the ck IN2U packaging. (Or maybe to dump the actual fragrance itself after taking a whiff.) Whatever they were, they sure weren’t proper containers for people IN2 recycling (in fact, in response to “what are u IN2?” someone scrawled “recycling” on the can in the photo). According to Mavis Fraser, director of marketing at Coty Prestige, the cans were intended to be used as real waste receptacles; the trash can in question was recently being used for that purpose until it went missing. McLaughlin didn’t know who would have emptied the fake cans in Toronto—there was no arrangement with the city to have garbage pick-up. Biodegradable waste, cardboard, and pop bottles sat in a trash can when they could have been in their respective bins. But the options weren’t available. Maybe you should brand green bins next time, CK? Better yet, how about getting a permit the way you’re supposed to and cleaning up the mess after the contract expires?
Photo by Jenelle Rupchand. Catchy headline by David Topping.


  • Steve

    OK, So. Let’s all make a pact right now. Nobody buy ck IN2U or go to the website.
    Just ignore this whole campaign and don’t make it worth it for them to do this kind of advertising so they will just abandon it.
    I know that won’t happen, enough gullible people will be like, “Oooh, look…a garbage can asking ME what I’M into…wow…and look, a website…I wonder what it is, ohmygod, it’s Calvin Klein…and it’s a fragrance…how cool…must buy…must buy”

  • Paige

    I thought this campaign/product was already dead in the water after the NYT style section mocked CK for calling the ideal CK IN2U consumer a “technosexual”.
    It’s rather amusing to see them trying SOOO hard, still.

  • Jonathan Goldsbie

    Were you able to get a comment from the City?

  • rek

    Were these cans secured in any way? Who is held responsible when it’s knocked over and rolls into traffic?
    I have another idea for a pact: Formation of an anti-guerrilla-advertising crew to “relocate” ads like the cans and the TTs and pressure city hall to stop letting ad companies squat on public property. If it’s illegal or doesn’t have the proper permits (not hard to find out, evidently) it gets hauled away and re-purposed or painted over or scrubbed off.

  • Marc Lostracco

    I don’t really get the thinking behind why you’d use a garbage can to advertise cologne. Someone should Photoshop this can for the Touch Up Toronto feature.

  • matty

    why does toronto get so much guerilla advertising? it seems like it might just be one culprit who is doing this repeatedly.

  • Raven

    I can only hope that the drumming buskers who often appear on the SW corner of Yonge/Dundas absconded the cans to use as instruments.

  • J

    or when all of the cans get filled with garbage, we take all of them and give Mr. McLaughlin some nice lawn ornaments.
    But yeah, I agree with Marc. There are some pretty obvious connotations happening with this badly executed campaign. The garbage can theme doesn’t continue on the website, just this lame urban thing that a lot of other companies are playing on with their flash sites.
    The garbage cans look bad and the type looks like it could have been stenciled by anyone, so most people would probably pass it off as graffiti.
    There’s nothing clever about this campaign that a potential consumer would be able to recognize right away (other than smelling like garbage) since it’s all about the ‘attitude’. And since the cans aren’t being treated and emptied out, there are litter problems and public health risks involved. So boo, Speed promotions. Your uninformative site is just as vague and uninteresting as this campaign

  • Steve

    Anti-Guerrilla Ad Squads. I like it. Really, it’s the only way to turn it around, throw this crap back in their faces. I like the idea of taking each can when it’s full and dumping them on the company president’s lawn. They feel like they can put stuff out there without consequence in the name of “hey, it’s business”. All I hear about is companies who talk about they care about the environment, and then I get pounds of their junk mail every single day.
    But yeah, trip over one of these and sue the pants off of them.
    As an inidvidual, try doing ANYTHING publicly that will lead to YOU making money WITHOUT a permit and see how fast you get shut down. Hold a concert on the street, or a dance performnce…when they ask for your’ permit, ask to see Calvin Klein’s.

  • Joanthan

    I whole heartedly agree with returning the trash to Speed. For some reason this campaign really irks me. I would be willing to personally walk one of those full trash cans right to their office and dump it in the reception.

  • Jenelle

    Jonathan, the media rep from Waste Management seemed shocked that this CK trash can ad campaign was going on. She had no idea. But she said she can’t be sure if the head of Waste Management knows about it, and I couldn’t talk to him because he’s on vacation. I asked McLaughlin to send me a list of routes where the cans were placed but he never did. I’m going to bug him about it again tomorrow.
    rek, many cans were not secured. Like I mention in the post, anyone could have taken one. Would make an interesting addition to your bedroom.
    Come on Marc, garbage is so hip and urban and technosexy.

  • rek

    Damn, I like the idea of dumping the cans on Speed’s property, but wouldn’t that be Illegal Dumping and just as wrong?

  • Josh

    Are you guys just really sad that you were not quick enough to get a quality bin for your own garage that had some funky paint on it? Im sure that if you wrote to CK they would arrange to get one to you. Funny enough, I noticed one of these cans sitting on the curb with a bag in it on gorbage day outfront of a residential strip in downtown (Niagara Street area) and it looks as though someone has adopted it for their use…looks as though the campaign will stay alive alot longer that you hoped as it will make an appearance there at least once a week…

  • Oscar

    Why doesn’t anyone complain to the city of Toronto for using those waste/recycle bins with built in ad space – you know the ones we pay for through our taxes, that are always overflowing. Who do you think makes the money off those ads? Tax payers? Nooooo.
    EuCan, the Canadian division of a Mexico-based multinational, EuMex, that specializes in ad-based “street furniture.” Correct! (look it up)
    Toronto – like many other large and dense urban centres has a waste disposal problem. Complaining about CK garbage cans is not gonna change anything – nor is dumping their contents on private or public property.
    If the city of Toronto handed out free garbage cans for the public to use and manage (put to the curb on garbage-day) would you contribute?
    Oh I’m sorry your complaining because of the advertising – better use the city bins then.

  • Jenelle

    I think some people are forgetting the crucial fact that “Speed ‘did not have any city permits’ to place the cans on public property.”
    An update from the Waste Management media rep: the Litter Manager told her that they “‘took two [cans] off the streets during the Spring clean up as no one was emptying them.’”
    An update from McLaughlin: he spoke with the people at Coty Prestige and both were “uncomfortable with my line of questioning” so he refused to send me a list of routes of where the cans were placed.

  • Josh

    I think you are hung up on an old school yard issue that goes something like “uhhh teacher…Bobby budded in line”… Get over it.
    What do you say to the advertisers who give away free food in the morning? What do you do about the advertisers who walk in to coffee shops and buy your coffee for you as a gesture on behalf of a brand? What are you saying about all the grassroots marketing that is clever and catches your attention? You, in this case, turn to your self righteous moral “high ground” to do a poor post mortem of a campaign and then wave your hands in the air exclaiming “uhhh Bobby budded in line again!!”
    You certainly have created a thread of entertainment – bravo.