State Government...Sponsored by.......


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Jeff White
December 29, 2003, 12:14 PM
The politicians will do anything to get all the money they can. Just think of the possibilities. State Police Cruisers can have Glock, Winchester, Remington and Bushmaster stickers on them....The Geritol people can sponsor the Department on Aging.....Might be hard selling ad time in some of the other agencies....Who would sponsor the Deptarment of Revenue? The CPA association?

I thought that we funded government through taxes and fees...Silly me. Who believes the advertisers wouldn't want something in return for sponsoring the agencies? Another chance to get some good political contributions in return for the contract on the most visible advertising. After all, selling CDLs turned out to be a bad thing.....:barf:
Jeff



http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/News/Illinois+State+News/A1AF5CADEF0DF5F886256E090074ED13?OpenDocument&Headline=Illinois+state+government+is+looking+to+sell+itself+to+adver
Illinois state government is looking to sell itself to advertisers
By RYAN KEITH
The Associated Press
12/28/2003

Blagojevich hopes to raise
millions; sponsorship for
ID badges is one idea

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - What's in a name? Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration hopes the answer is piles of money for a cash-strapped state government.

He wants to sell advertising space and naming rights for state government - everything from a movie sound stage in Chicago to ID badges worn by employees. Advertisers and sponsors like the idea, too.

But don't count on a big influx of cash too soon, experts warn. They said it can be a slow process in an unproven area.

"Because this is so new, sponsors may not necessarily be lining out the door to write checks," said Bill Doyle, vice president of Rhode Island-based Performance Research, which compiles data for corporate sponsors of sports and other events. "It is going to have to be worked on."

The idea intrigues people in advertising, a field where taking a successful risk can mean huge profits and establish new trends in a flash. A company that has helped research sponsorships for Blagojevich said Illinois could get $300 million in three years if it aggressively courts corporate sponsors.

Blagojevich's staff is poring over ideas and hopes to bring sponsors on board by next summer to bring in much-needed cash with no sacrifice from taxpayers.

"We have nothing to lose," Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said. "We realize it's sort of a new field, and we're comfortable being the first to explore it more."

Experts in advertising and sponsorships agree that the notion is probably the wave of the future and could catch on quickly, just like corporate sponsorships for college football bowl games and other events.

Government officials elsewhere seem to agree. New York City has signed a $166 million deal for Snapple to be the city's official drink. Officials in Indiana, South Carolina, Massachusetts and Wisconsin have floated ideas to tap into corporate sponsorships for budget help.

Blagojevich is looking at expanding sponsorships at the Illinois State Fair to include signs on golf carts and department cars and even bringing county fairs into the sponsorship mix. Retailers might be sought to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce and sell merchandise promoting tourism in the Land of Lincoln, and a variety of social service programs could get the backing of corporations who might supply products or services for their clients.

"I think that the potential is incredible for this, as long as the sponsor and the state agencies work together to convey a huge benefit for the consumer and the taxpayer," Doyle said.

But there are drawbacks and hurdles, for governments and for potential sponsors.

Commercializing state government has drawn plenty of critics, and some of the ideas floated by state agencies have raised eyebrows, such as finding sponsors for Abraham Lincoln memorabilia. Moving too far too fast could be damaging for politicians and especially advertisers, experts said.

Officials "can survive the few letters to the editor they're going to get," said Allen Adamson of Landor Associates, a New York consulting firm for corporate sponsors. "For the advertiser, it has to be much more 'buyer beware.' Will it be brand building or potentially brand damaging?"

Advertisers could get caught up in political crossfire for being tied as a sponsor to initiatives or officials with image problems, or they could simply pick the wrong idea to endorse and not reap the benefits they hoped for, experts said.

Some officials have proposed limiting sponsorships, preventing brand names being placed on the Capitol or other historically significant sites and artifacts. The governor promises sponsorships will be appropriate and tasteful.

"We are not going to do anything in poor taste," Ottenhoff said. "We are not going to do anything ... that desecrates our history or anything of value to the state of Illinois."

Advertisers will eventually embrace government sponsorships, experts said, but officials must make strong sales pitches that prove there's a substantial audience to be reached - and profits to be made.

That can be tough in such an unproven area, and expecting $300 million in sponsorships anytime soon is unrealistic, experts said. But if a few sponsorships work initially, many others will come quickly, they predict.

"There's going to be a curve, but once the ball starts rolling, it's going to accelerate at a faster pace," said Randy Herz, vice president of Herz Financial, which helps promote sponsorships by wealthy families for public buildings.

And eventually, sponsorships throughout government - on roads, buildings and name tags - will be commonplace, they contend.

"Today it's a whole different ballgame," said Doug Wood, general counsel for the National Association of Advertisers. "Consumers are expecting to see everything branded."

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