Corporations have, for several years, sponsored athletic events and named stadiums after themselves. Jack Murphy Stadium, named for a famous sports figure in San Diego history, became Qualcomm Stadium when that company offered millions to the city to "support" the teams.
Now, in a new wave of business "take-overs," a company has decided to "sponsor" a city. Bangkok, Thailand, after a generous donation of two hundred million dollars over the next five years, will become Bang-Coke. The Atlanta, Georgia based soft drink bottler is attempting to increase their presence and market share in Southeast Asia and feels that having their name prominently displayed on maps and written on reports, shipping labels, and other mail will increase brand awareness.
Richard Wiggens, corporates spokesman for the beverage, said that "we were trying to identify ourselves with something else that stands out. We wanted to avoid Cocaine because of the negative connotations, so went with the city instead."
Other cities may soon follow as many companies are negotiating in the wake of the Coca Cola deal. San Francisco may soon become San Franklin/Covey Planners. Denver will simply change to Denver Mattress. Salt Lake City will add a word to the front to become Morton Salt Lake City. Pittsburgh will become PittsBurger King. The nation of Camaroon will be called Yahoo Dot Comaroon. Portland, Maine will change to Portland o'lakes butter while Portland, Oregon will now be known as Portlandmark Insurance.
Places other than large cities will be effected. Johns Hopkins University will become Johns Hancock Insurance Hopkins University. The Mississippi River will become the Mississip Pizza Hut River. Mount McKinley will change on the maps to become Mount McKinLea & Perrin's Soy Sauce.
According to Dr. Mark Sheffield, and economist at Yale Lock University, "there is no telling where this may end. I foresee the original names eventually being dropped in favor of just the corporate identity. It is Eisenhower's Military Industrial Complex in action.