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.