An innovative revenue stream for suburbs: exclusive advertisements on city property

Naperville, Illinois is considering a new tactic to provide for funds for the city’s coffers as there is nearly a $5 million budget shortfall projected for next year:

Naperville is considering an unusual option for long-term revenue: giving corporations exclusive rights to advertise on city property.

In a memo to the City Council this month, finance director Karen DeAngelis cited several examples of how this could work, including a program in which KFC pays for pothole repairs in cash-strapped cities in exchange for stamping the fresh asphalt with the chicken chain’s logo.

Naperville also could sell the naming rights of buildings or allow companies to advertise their products as “the official drink” or “the official burger” of the suburb for a fee, DeAngelis said.

“It’s not something we’ve done before, so we would be on the leading edge and we would need to be careful,” she said in an interview.

This might lead to some very interesting scenes – “Naperville City Hall, brought to you by Geico.” I imagine such ads might be attractive to businesses for the amount of people who might see them, particularly in a vibrant downtown Naperville.

Would a majority of suburban residents go for this? As one expert suggests in the story, this could lead to some negative repercussions and a process of “NASCAR-ization.”

If the city of Naperville couldn’t raise a significant amount of money with a program like this, would it be worth doing it on a small scale or would it just lead to more trouble than its worth?

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