Advertising Makes Its Way Into Your Town

In this New York Times Article, Stuart Elliot examines how municipalities around the country are turning to advertising to rescue their sagging budgets. From logo-emblazoned police cars to the sponsorship of zoos, ad creep is making it's way into towns across America. Not everyone is happy about it.

"We call it the city-for-sale phenomenon," said Gary Ruskin, the executive director at Commercial Alert in Portland, Ore., an organization dedicated to fighting what he terms ad creep. "Every one of these is a victory of crass commercialism over local values."

"Places like parks are intended to be sanctuaries from the more noxious aspects of our commercial culture, refuges from the hustle and bustle of marketing," he added. "Instead, they're now degraded into huckstering, up for bid to the corporations with the deepest pockets."

Other towns see it as a needed source of revenue.

"Oh, almost every day I get a call from a city that wants to know what we're doing," said Mary Braunwarth, the development director for the City of San Diego. "I wouldn't say that in a perfect world we wouldn't do this, and it's not a panacea," she said. "But if done correctly and appropriately, it can bring in revenue to pay for existing activities or for new programs that would be difficult to fund."

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Do you want your police cars covered with logos so you don't have to pay higher taxes or would you rather pay more to keeps ads out of yout town?

by Steve Hall    Jun-24-03   Click to Comment   

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