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Blake Pontchartrain: the “throw me something, mister!” trash campaign 

click to enlarge A TV commercial starring a singing trash can won an advertising award for Peter Mayer advertising.

A TV commercial starring a singing trash can won an advertising award for Peter Mayer advertising.

Hey Blake,

In the 1970s and '80s, there was a commercial that aired with a singing trash can. I've tried to Google it and nothing comes up. I know I did not dream this and hope you can help prove to my friends I am not crazy!


Dear Tina,

  You most certainly are not crazy, but the idea of a singing, dancing trash can might have been. That's exactly what an advertising campaign for Mayor Ernest N. "Dutch" Morial's Clean City Committee depicted. It was part of an initiative to reduce litter on city streets by adding hundreds of new trash cans. The receptacles featured a cartoon figure of a man (wearing purple, green and gold stripes) with his arms outstretched and "Throw me something mister!" printed below.

  The 1978 television commercial was the creation of the Peter Mayer advertising agency. It was produced by local advertising and public relations executive Clem Goldberger and featured a jingle written and performed by her agency colleague Sid Berger, who remembers the jingle was recorded at Allen Toussaint's legendary Sea-Saint Studios. Berger says three different commercials were filmed on a shoestring budget with a cast that included local actor Allen Koob as the dancing trash can.

  Times-Picayune critic David Cuthbert took note of the commercial, calling it "the amiable bit of anti-litter promotion in which a dancing trash can is followed through the streets by a group of citizens truckin' on down to a catchy snatch of song." Berger proudly recalls that the spot won an Addy award, presented by the Ad Club of New Orleans. The commercial was equally popular on the streets, where Goldberger remembers seeing lots of "trash can man" costumes the following Mardi Gras. Here are the lyrics:

  Oh I'm just a little garbage can sitting around on the street.

  I may be little, but my job is big. I'm trying to keep New Orleans neat.

  So don't throw it on the ground or leave it hanging 'round.

  Bring it on over to me.

  Throw me something, mister.

  I said "Throw me something, mister."

  I said "Throw me something, mister."

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