Forget streets paved with gold, a road lined with chicken is the way to go. First "The Colonel" introduced KFC's 99¢ Ultimate Value Menu. Now he's offering to fill pot holes for cash-strapped cities:
"This program is a perfect example of that rare and optimal occurrence when a company can creatively market itself and help local governments and everyday Americans across the country," said Javier Benito, exec VP-marketing and food innovation at KFC.
Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson noted in a statement that budgets are tight for cities across the country, and finding funding for road repairs is a dirty job. "It's great to have a concerned corporation like KFC create innovative private/public partnerships like this pothole refresh program."
Naturally, KFC isn't doing the hard work for free. In exchange for its labor, the Kentucky-based chicken chain stamps "Re-freshed by KFC" into its repair, and only for the first four cities that take the offer. But Advertising Age reports that this style of good-will marketing is on the rise:
Jens Bang, president of Cone, a Boston-based cause branding and corporate responsibility firm, said that recent scandals on Wall Street and in the banking industry have built up consumer skepticism, and "corporate marketers have to be concerned about building trusted relationships with their core stakeholders."
...Charmin provided a public restroom in Times Square [and] also developed an application for iPhone and BlackBerry that helps consumers find toilets when the need arises. Samsung has installed electrical charging stations in many major airports to help travelers stay connected while in limbo.
The Chicago Tribune says Chi-town officials aren't too keen on the idea, mostly because it would compete with the city's own pothole repair promotion. And because "[w]e don't allow any type of printing or advertising placed on a city street or sidewalk," said Brian Steele, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation.
Perhaps in these lowly economic times, however, cities should consider accepting sponsorships if they are having difficulty providing basic services themselves. Plus, having image-conscious companies take care of road repairs might cut down on scenes like the one below: