Garbage Trucks: the New Hot Spot for Advertisers

Glad's New York Effort Results in Strong ROI, Other Marketers Take Notice

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BATAVIA, Ohio ( -- The garbage truck may have become the latest advertising vehicle of the future.
Garbage-truck ads boosted Glad trash bags' New York City market share by two points through December.
Garbage-truck ads boosted Glad trash bags' New York City market share by two points through December.

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

Who's next?
And as Glad's garbage-truck campaign comes to an end Jan. 31, the New York City Department of Sanitation is fielding calls from other advertisers, including two entertainment marketers and another marketer of cleaning products, that are 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 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 financial terms of the program, which includes an undisclosed cash payment, a minimum of 125,000 ForceFlex trash bags to be used in cleanups (about $57,000 worth if purchased at Gristede's), and up to 125,000 more bags based on a donation of one box for every box purchased in New York during the promotion. Glad also bought ads in The New York Times and New York Post in November around the program.

'New York City tough'
The Glad ads, which billed the brand as "New York City tough," occupy space normally used for public-service announcements, like those telling New Yorkers to rake and bundle their leaves for recycling in the fall, 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 that want to put ads on trash collectors' uniforms, Mr. Turso said. But he believes another commercial partnership like that 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."

Hasn't earmarked proceeds
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 of the New York program; the company also saw strong return on investment from the Mardis Gras sponsorship, said Audy Baack, marketing manager for Glad.

The New York deal has resulted in about 17 million consumer impressions since it began in November, he said, including about 5 million New Yorkers who have been exposed repeatedly to the garbage truck ads. The remaining exposure came from the newspaper ads and coverage in New York's Daily News and two local TV news shows.
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