In a bid to raise some much needed cash, China will be auctioning off advertising space on the Great Wall. Widely, and inaccurately, described as the only man made structure visible from space, China believes that advertisers will flock to the Wall to get their adverts worldwide recognition.
"Initially," said Xiang Chung, the Interior Minister for Advertising, "we hope to set up billboards across the faces of the walls, on both sides. Ultimately, we are going to be putting very large adverts on the top for space tourists to see."
Initial estimates put the number of billboards that can be adorned on the sides of the wall at thirty million, but with some careful sizing, this could be doubled.
"The wall is very long," said Chung. "However, there are certain stretches that will obviously attract a premium cost such as those sections near populated areas and some areas that we will struggle to sell due to their inaccessible locations."
There is also a deal to thrash out with the Mongolian government about adorning their side of the wall with adverts. The Mongols have stated that they will not accept Chinese propaganda posters, though they will be quite happy with adverts for Lynx Deodorant, because they find the women in these ads very attractive. There is also a logistics problem. Adverts have a certain shelf life, and it is though that a team of twelve thousand billboard employees will be needed to keep the adverts fresh.
"We think we will be replacing the ads at the start of the wall before we've finished putting the last of the boards up in the less accessible areas," said Chung. "This is no bad thing, and we have requested training for the twelve thousand new jobs we have created from several billboard companies across the world."
There is a clamour in the advertising world to be the first company to get an ad on the Great Wall. Thus far, clothing giant, Gap, are leading the bidding war. Chung is not keen on this result. "I'm not sure having a Gap on the wall is a good thing," he said.