KFC will use images of iconic Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Harland Sanders with Indianapolis firefighters and city fire trucks to help market the launch of a new product, fiery grilled chicken wings, later this month.A lot of my Republican and Libertarian friends love the idea of selling the right to advertise on city assets, or the naming rights to city assets. That way private businesses make "voluntary" contributions to the public dole and our taxes are reduced.
A Tuesday photo shoot was conducted at the city’s fire station and Indy Parks center at Garfield Park. Mayor Ballard may also appear in those photos, which will be primarily distributed for media use.
In exchange, Louisville-based KFC will provide $2,500 to the local fire department to buy 1,000 smoke detectors that will be handed out to the public. KFC also will pay $2,500 for about 150 fire extinguishers for 17 Indy Parks recreation centers. Each fire extinguisher will feature a 4-inch KFC logo.
“In a time when money is tight for all city municipalities, we see this as a win-win,” Pittman said. “This is a pilot program for both sides to see how this is received.”
There’s potential to expand the sponsorship deal, city officials said, and could include having KFC feed Indianapolis firefighters during extended fire and other emergency runs.
In April, Ballard announced plans to launch a city sponsorship program in which businesses could sponsor city programs, services and possibly even buildings or other city-owned structures. City officials said they’ve been talking to potential corporate sponsors since August.
City officials hope to have 10 to 15 such deals rolled out this year.
“We want to get these first deals right,” said Michael Huber, Ballard’s director of enterprise development. “We want to make sure these deals have a clear benefit and are good for the citizens. We want the benefit these deals provide to be obvious to the citizens.”
First, let me assure you our taxes will never be reduced by this scheme. It will simply be more revenue that our elected officials can spend, i.e. waste. Second, the practice is tacky beyond belief. Do we really want our public assets to be adorned with stickers like a NASCAR driver's uniform? Or have our public buildings named after some company? I know they regularly do that for sports stadiums built with tax dollars. Of course, when it comes to Indy, taxpayers don't get the naming rights money from Lucas Oil Stadium - the Colts do.
Finally, one can't help but overlook the amount involved in this particular sponsorship deal? $5,000? KFC certainly seems to be getting a lot of bang for the (few) bucks it is paying the City It's more than a little surprising that the administration though this tiny deal was worthy of a press release.
I'm reminded of an episode of Reno 911 in which a Hooters-style restaurant sponsored the Reno Sheriff's Department. The cars were repainted the restaurant's colors - pink - along with decal. The officers were outfitted with pink uniforms. Is that next?
Here's an idea. If the City wants money, don't give the billionaire Simonses $15 million more per year of our tax dollars for the Pacers.