Beer can toilets?

Company wants to turn portable potties into advertising objects

July 23, 2004 - A Missouri man hopes to put new meaning in the term "going to the can." Mike Mason has formed MediaCan Inc. to turn portable toilets into advertising venues - including the option to make the potty look like a beer can.


So far, he hasn't had much luck getting large companies to put their message on 8-foot-tall beer cans, pill bottles or other cylindrical shapes. Anheuser Busch, for example, said MediaCan, "is not an idea that fits with the image of our brands."

Mason has patented the structures - two 40-pound plastic panels that fit around portable toilets as a shell. Advertising can be inserted into the panels. "There's a desperation right now for different types of advertising," he said. "We're serving a dual purpose, by hiding an eyesore and providing an advertising venue with a lot of wow factor."

Adam Salacuse, president and chief executive of Boston alternative advertising agency Alt Terrain LLC, says that brands have to be careful about creating a negative connotation.

"Marketing now is all about being relevant and creating a positive experience," Salacuse said. "I'm going to go relieve myself in a Budweiser can? That could be a problem."