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March 30th, 2009:

#8. Naming rights

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America is a land of big companies, giant advertising budgets and even bigger egos. Mix that with our great nation’s entrepreneurial spirit and you get a land where the naming rights for everything are for sale.

And I do mean everything.

  • Have a car payment you can’t make? Don’t scrimp and save the European way. Just call a vehicle wrapping company and turn your car into a moving billboard.
  • Need money to send your son to school? Sell advertising space on your forehead for $10,000.
  • Is your city running out of money? Rename the town after the latest dot.com company and collect a hefty payday.
  • Need new office chairs at your university but you’ve already sold the naming rights to all the buildings and departments?  Never fear, try soliciting contributions for endowed office chairs. Some sucker will surley bite.

Naming rights popped back into the news last week when the mayor of Louisville agreed to let Kentucky Fried Chicken paint its logo on potholes around town. The catch was that KFC had to pay to have the 350 potholes filled first.  Some have decried this as a tragedy. They say it is a sad state of affairs when a city has to sell advertising space on the roads in order to pay for basic repairs.

But these critics don’t appreciate the American can-do spirit.

In Europe, local leaders might have been content to simply cry and whine for more repair funds – all the while letting their roads decay. But in America, we swallow our pride, we put our dignity up for sale and we get the problem solved.*

God Bless America

*Even if the solution might result in distracted motorists and increased car accidents.

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