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Trash talking

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From California, ground zero of touchy-feely New Age mumbo jumbo, comes this unique take on recycling:

We should recycle because cans and bottles may get their feelings hurt if we don't. Yes, that's the tack taken in an ongoing campaign from Riester-Robb in Santa Monica for the California Department of Conservation.

In separate TV ads, voiceovers offer the thoughts of an alumi num can and a plastic bottle as they bounce along the ground. They don't like being thought of as trash (who does?), and they both dream of one day being recycled into something useful and important. At the end of each spot, their wishes are granted: The can helps make a softball bat, and the bottle somehow ends up in a float held closely by a female lifeguard.

According to agency creative director David Robb, the ads, which first appeared in May, have been a huge hit among local recycling groups that have adopted the statewide campaign.

"People have affection for products but not the cans and bottles they come in," Robb said. "We wanted the consumer to have a relationship with that can or bottle even after they consume the product."