Huntington Beach for Sale?
At a council meeting on September 17, 2012, city council members were asked to look at and consider a proposal to sell naming rights to the city’s assets–beaches, pier, parks–anything that a company will pay to advertise on. Some of the nation’s biggest advertising budgets include laundry soaps, phone service, insurance companies, banks, liquor, drugs, diapers and cars–pretty exciting stuff to look at as you gaze down the HB Pier while sitting at a stoplight on Pacific Coast Highway in your very own car. If the coastal commission allows it, they can even add some electronic billboards to the scene on the beach, or Pierside Pavilion that already is making additional profit as a cell site and is set to expand in a council-approved renovation.
Council member Connie Boardman looked at a list of items and questioned how you would strip Shipley Nature Center of its title in exchange for a new name, even while much of its operations and funding comes from a non-profit organization. We’ve compiled a few suggestions for sponsors and the resultant branded names such as Depends Senior Center and Sparkletts Pacific Ocean. Why not take it a step further and permit companies to install RFID readers so the they can track people wandering past their signs, much like shoppers in Walmart stores are tracked? Once the city of Huntington Beach serves up public assets on a silver platter to private enterprise, marketers will find real value in paying for public access and will pay a whole lot more. Of course, as private citizens this technology is invasive but marketers believe it isn’t a matter of IF but WHEN cash-strapped cities will give away the bank.