I found it surprising that, despite the $5 toll each car is charged to cross its span from Marin into San Francisco, that the Golden Gate Bridge is still financially strapped and is currently facing a projected deficit of a whopping $80 million. But even more surprising to me was the news, following an August 24th meeting, that the operators of this national landmark (one of the top five attractions in the United States) are seriously considering getting corporate sponsorship to cover the historic bridge's overwhelming bills. What this means is that like SBC Park or Pacific Bell Park or AT&T Park (or whatever name it happens to go by) that likely soon the Bay's most famous attraction may be renamed something like the Verizon Span, or the Google Gate Bridge, or perhaps something like "the Golden Gate Bridge brought to you by Pepsi." Now according to the overseers of the bridge, who will meet again this month to make the final decision on the matter, they are assuring all concerned that they will not do anything "tacky" like the aforementioned renaming in their handling of this proposed "corporate partnership." But frankly I have my doubts and I worry that this type of proposed sponsorship may set an unhealthy precedent with US national monuments and landmarks, and that soon Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, and even the White House will be up for corporate partnership. (If you have any funny or ironic ideas of what sponsors might be matched with what national landmarks please add them in the COMMENTS box below. And if you wish to voice your concerns about the proposal for the GG Bridge email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Anyways this whole idea of sponsorship or selling out or cashing in, depending on how you look at it, is really just part and parcel of these United States of Consumerism in which we dwell and where really nothing is sacred and everything is up for sale especially when it comes to ad space in exchange for dollars - be it on TV, radio, online, sides of buildings and buses, or on an individual's personal car or even on their face!
So how much to advertise on someone's face with a permanent tattoo? It all depends on how desperate for money one is or how much an entity is offering to pay to advertise. And yes it has been done many times already including a couple of years ago when Utah mom Kari Smith sold ad space on her forehead to the gambling website/virtual casino GoldenPalace.com. The 30 year old agreed to have the permanent tattoo on her forehead in exchange for $10,000. The reason? To send her son Brady to a private school (both pictured left).
Not as lucrative but then not nearly as permanent is the Lease Your Body program that places temporary tattoos on bodies for 30 days for anywhere from $100 to $5,000. And for that companies get to advertise on various body parts (arms, legs, foreheads, etc) by leasing out body-space to place a temp tat with their logo or advertising message for a month. And if all of this sounds crazy, then how about the guy that I saw on the streets of New York last week who had a small NIKE logo tattoo strategically positioned on his ankle. Compelled to know, I had to stop him to ask, was he paid for this product placement? No, he laughed back at me, as if I was the crazy one. Wow! I thought, Imagine that: to give free ad space to some corporation! But then I thought just how different from that is someone paying to get a tattoo of their favorite band (really just another trademark) such as say Black Flag on their arm? All of this got me thinking about paid product placement on the body and wondering when did it all start? So I did a little research and determined that in terms of tattoos for money, it began about six years ago with athletes selling out body space to advertisers. It seems that professional boxers, despite considerable opposition from boxing regulators and television broadcasters, were among the first to tap into the method. And certain professional basketball players have proposed wearing tattoo advertisements during televised games as well but the NBA insists it will prohibit the practice. In my research I also discovered that most tattoo artists and diehard tattoo fans think very poorly of this practice.
Finally as far as private auto sponsorship this is something that has been common for a few years now - especially with the "wrap-around" method - a giant temporary sticker that advertisers place on cars or SUVs usually for a sum of about $500 to $800 a month. Not a bad proposition to many, especially compared to a permanent face tattoo, and considering that this amount could cover many strapped individuals' monthly car nut.
Please add any comments, negative or positive, you might have in the box below. Thanks!