City of Toronto pulls great anti-littering campaign

Toronto ad
© City of Toronto LiveGreen

The City of Toronto is buried in lawyers. Try to pay a parking ticket online and you have to check through pages of acknowledgements and disclosures that make most software EULAs read like Sandra Boynton.

© City of Toronto LiveGreen

So how did they not see this one coming? Advertising agency Publicis Canada mashed together the typical litter you might find on a city street to deliver messages describing the kind of people who litter, Say Reese's Pieces and Gatorade to get Pig;

© City of Toronto LiveGreen

Or DuMaurier cigarettes and Gatorade Redbull to get Dumb. Needless to say, the companies whose products were strewn about were not happy. An intellectual property lawyer tells the Star:

There are two trademark issues that I can see here. One is that there is a section in the Trade-marks Act that says you cannot use another person’s trademark in a way that depreciates its goodwill …The other is that the trademarks are being used without any kind of licence or permission.

© City of Toronto LiveGreen

It's a shame really, because it is a brilliant campaign, and there is a provision in the Canadian Copyright Act that exempts satire or parody, which I bet someone could claim this is. Furthermore, the manufacturers of these products do bear some responsibility here, making money selling these things while citizens have to pay through their taxes to have them picked up. They could have been good sports about it; the city is really a sort of partner in their business, taking away their garbage.

© City of Toronto LiveGreen

That's why it's time for deposits on everything.

Tags: Advertising | Toronto

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