Trash trucks: a new hot spot for ads

IDEA SPOTTING: Glad's NYC campaign leads to 2% boost in market share

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jneff@crain.com

The garbage truck may have become the latest advertising vehicle of the future.

Ads on New York City garbage trucks have worked so well for makers of Glad trash bags-boosting market share two percentage points in the city through December-that they're looking to try the tactic elsewhere.

As the campaign came to an end Jan. 31, the New York City Department of Sanitation was fielding calls from other advertisers, including two entertainment marketers and a marketer of cleaning products, that were interested in taking Glad's place on the city's 2,000 garbage trucks and 450 street sweepers.

Glad Products Co., an 80-20 joint venture between Clorox Co. and Procter & Gamble Co., first put ads on New York City sanitation vehicles last Thanksgiving through a partnership with the nonprofit group Keep America Beautiful. The deal was similar to Glad's sponsorship of New Orleans' first post-Katrina Mardis Gras last year, also arranged through the nonprofit group as well as the brand's Glad to Help foundation.

Glad isn't disclosing the terms of the program, which included an undisclosed cash payment, a minimum of 125,000 ForceFlex trash bags for New York City cleanups (about $57,000 worth if purchased at Gristedes) and as many as 125,000 more bags based on a donation of one box for every box purchased in New York during the promotion.

The Glad ads, which billed the brand as "New York City tough," occupied space normally used for public-service announcements, said Vito Turso, deputy commissioner of the Department of Sanitation.

New York garbage trucks will never look like Nascar racers, and the Department of Sanitation has turned down sponsors who want to put ads on trash collectors' uniforms, Mr. Turso said. But he believes another commercial partnership like the one with Glad is a real possibility.

"It's got to be tasteful," he said. "We may not be getting any phone calls from Chanel No. 5, but there may be other brands that are interested in the moving targets that we've got going through New York City."

The New York deal has resulted in about 17 million consumer impressions since it began in November, said Andy Baack, marketing manager for Glad.

Other than the bags to be used for cleanups in the five boroughs, the Department of Sanitation hasn't earmarked proceeds of the deal for anything specific, Mr. Turso said.

For its part, Glad is ecstatic about the return on investment from the New York program; the company also saw strong ROI from the Mardis Gras sponsorship, Mr. Baack said.
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