Speed Reads

Garbage in, Garbage out

Toronto has to throw out its anti-littering campaign, after misusing major brand names

The city of Toronto has been forced to scrap an official series of anti-littering posters, unveiled just recently, due to a fundamental blunder in their basic concept.

The ads showed pieces of litter from major brand-name products, with one piece partially covering another so that their names formed new derogatory words about the people supposedly littering them. This likely ran afoul of intellectual property law by appropriating these brands for use without permission, and manipulating them in a way that would negatively affect their reputations. The Toronto Star gives some examples:

Among the brands depicted were Reese's Pieces and Gatorade ("Pig"), Fun Dip and Drumstick ("Dipstick"), Sweet'N Low and Life Savers ("Lowlife"), and Lay's and Krazy Glue ("Lazy"). [Toronto Star]

The city's spokeswoman also confirmed to The Star that the city did not consult with any of these companies, and that some of them subsequently complained; she declined to say exactly which companies were the ones to complain. --Eric Kleefeld