I really should do a post on July 4th.  Something with a new spin, like how having it on a Wednesday throws vacation scheduling into a tizzy.  But I won’t.  Maybe I’ll do something next year.

Instead, I was interested to see two articles in the last 10 days highlighting a new trend: cities selling ads on everything from fire hydrants to historic buildings.  From Baltimore to Milan, local governments are devising creative — and controversial — means to make up for lost tax revenue and shrinking budgets.

Here are a few interesting naming rights deals that cities have devised with corporations, starting with America’s favorite colonel:

Finger lickin’ good. In Brazil, Indiana

And the Atlantic Avenue subway stop in Brooklyn now has an additional name (and in return the MTA is pocketing $4 million over the next 20 years).

So are these people at the Atlantic Avenue stop or the Barclays Center stop?

In Europe, efforts have extended to sell ads on historic buildings — here’s a big H&M ad on the side of Milan’s gothic cathedral, Duomo, which had its groundbreaking in 1386.

The heart is a nice touch

The Madonna ad looks out of place, but some of these — at least to my American eye — just look like your run-of-the-mill billboard.  This brand always confused me (why do they have to use a “v” when a “u” will do just fine?), but here it is in Milan’s Piazza Duomo:

In other news: “In France, the caretakers of Versailles have agreed to let two hotels open on the palace grounds and have proposed ­licensing the image of the building for use on luxury watches. In Spain, planners eager for more tax revenue approved the construction of an office tower in the historic city center of Seville near the Gothic cathedral where Christopher Columbus is buried, ignoring threats from the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to disqualify the city as a World Heritage site if the project proceeded.”

Will be interesting to see if this trend reverses when the world economy improves. Meanwhile, if you’ve seen some interesting ads pop up in unlikely places in your community, let me know.

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