“Need Cash? Complete Quick and Easy Online Surveys for Money,” announce posters on campus, advertising a company called Red Cube Research. The ads display an “Official Campus Posting” stamp, as well as apparent endorsements from U of T student unions: the Arts & Science Student Union (ASSU) and the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU).
However, neither the UTSU nor the ASSU approved the use of their logos or names. “This group is not affiliated or endorsed by us in any way,” said Ben Coleman, UTSU president. This is not the first time that student union logos have appeared on advertisements without their knowledge; unapproved posters bearing the ASSU’s name appeared in January 2015.
When the ASSU became aware of the ads in January they contacted Red Cube Research, who immediately removed the ASSU logo from the posters, and eventually removed all student union references, but a number of ads remain on campus boasting the misleading logos.
Although the ASSU’s official logo was removed from the posters in January, Red Cube continued to use their name on its website. “They are still using our name on their website to give off the impression that we have endorsed their position,” said Abdullah Shihipar, ASSU president, in an interview with The Varsity in January.
Since the ASSU does not own the rights to their name, there is nothing they can do to limit its use. Acronyms of organizations that do not exist at U of T, such as “UTORSU” and “UTOR UTSU” remain on the posters, and are likewise not owned by the UTSU.
Red Cube Research could not be reached for comment.