McDonald's Photographed Trash Bins Like Burgers to Curb Littering

Using brand assets beyond the iconic 'M'

The Unmissable Big Bin, Unmissable Bin Royal and Unmissable Bin Deluxe sound edible and for a limited time only. They're actually McDonald's way to curb litter in Belgium—by photographing trash cans like they're the latest, greatest burger. McDonald's went all in on perfecting the imagery, so much so that they used their food photography company (Studio Wauters) to capture the trash bins at their best—full of garbage.

Created by TBWA\Belgium, a series of three images are running outdoors, in restaurants and online through May.

We caught up with Pieter Claeys, a creative at TBWA\New York who was working at TBWA\Belgium at the time of this brief, to learn more about the campaign's backstory.

Muse: What was the brief?

Pieter Claeys: McDonald's has been actively working with cities to put more trash bins around their restaurants. But now, they wanted to focus on consumers. How can we get them to notice trash bins again, and even better, use them?

How did you come up with this idea to illustrate trash cans as burgers?

We love playing with brand assets. If there's one brand asset of McDonald's that advertising has played with, it's the iconic M. But we wanted to do something different. McDonald's has so much talent in selling burgers with beautiful packshot ads, so we thought, what if we use this same talent to sell trash bins as well? So we decided to play with packshot photography and give iconic burger names to the typical trash bins we're seeing in Belgium. The idea was quite simple to execute. We looked for trash bins that somehow resembled burgers when you shot them from the right angle. 

Is litter and waste a problem in Belgium?

Definitely. I have been in dirtier cities, but litter and waste are definitely a problem in Belgium.

What do you hope comes out of it?

We hope the campaign gets attention and ultimately changes behavior. The campaign has been featured on national radio in Belgium. Not bad for an outdoor campaign. Now let's hope we start seeing cleaner streets, too.

Anything else?

It's a national outdoor campaign, but each outdoor features the local trash bin in that city. 


Clients: Philipp Wachholz, Isabelle Verdeyen & Karen Schellekens
Creative Team
Executive Creative Director: Jeroen Bostoen
Creative Director: Jeremie Goldwasser
Creative team: Pieter Claeys, Greg van Buggenhout & Olaf Meuleman
Social copywriters Ellen Stoffels, Nadine Claes, Manu De Wit, Hedda Lubbers

Account Team
Client Services Director: Bénédicte Ernst, Geert Potargent
Account Director: Elien Onclinx
Account Manager: Lore Boghmans
Account Executive: Naomi Goossens

Strategic Planner: Helena Gheeraert, Louise Marinus

Designer: Sébastien Bontemps

Quentin Glodé & Laure Miquel-Jean

Studio company: MAKE
DTP: Karol Cepowicz, Marianne Gualtieri

Retoucheur: Bert Machielsen (Livingroom)

Post-production company: MAKE
Post-Producer: Geneviève Paindaveine & Elien De Brouwer
Monteurs: Xavier Pouleur, Nabil El Hajjouti

Photography company: Studio Wauters
Photographer : Marc Wauters

Art Buying
Elly Laureys & Polly Seynaeve

Digital Production Agency : MAKE
Project Manager: Philippe Hulhoven, Laura Paulus
Digital copywriter: Nadine Claes & Sarah Pierrequin
Digital production: Jaimy Vanaken & Koen Corneillie

Print Production
Michel Prairial

Media Agency: OMD

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