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Schooled By Dubai Do

2008_5_1DubaiDo3.jpg

Dubaimetro
Naming Rights
Turn your brand into a destination
RTA offers Dubai Metro Naming Rights
Welcome to the ultimate branding and marketing opportunity. With Dubai Metro Naming Rights, you can put your brand on a Dubai Metro station of your choice, or one of the two lines of the Dubai Metro Network.
Dubai Metro Naming Rights offers you unmatched impact and visibility to take your brand to new levels of saliency and success. What’s more, it is an immersive marketing opportunity that allows you to communicate and interact with your consumers at various touchpoints spread across the station.
And last but certainly not the least, it is the perfect opportunity for your brand to become a part of Dubai Metro, an eagerly awaited mega project that will continue to drive Dubai’s growth and success well into the future.
To find out more about how Dubai Metro Naming Rights can turn your brand into a destination, please email namingrights@rta.ae
www.rta.ae

This ad, which appeared on page 14 of the March 10 issue of Business Week and on page 93 of the April 19-25 issue of The Economist, kicked off the recent debate about selling naming rights to Toronto subway stations, when, as reported by the Post, Commissioner Peter Milczyn pulled out the ad at last week’s TTC meeting and remarked, “I was flipping through The Economist the other day. One of the world’s wealthiest jurisdictions is selling naming rights. It would be interesting to see what we could do here in Toronto.” (See also the Star, Globe, Sun, Torontoist, blogTO, and Steve Munro coverage and discussions, as well as this detached-from-reality Sun editorial.)


Beyond all of the obvious philosophical issues surrounding the corporatization of public space, and the questionable suggestion that we should be taking city-building tips from Dubai, some of the problems with this idea include:
• No company, as noted by Steve Munro, could or would shell out for more than a fraction of the cost of building a station. As basic, non-interchange stations come with a price tag of $70-100 million, the majority of the money would necessarily have to come from government sources. Even the highest-end naming-rights opportunities for private facilities rarely exceed half that much. (Bell, for example, put up $25 million to turn the Toronto International Film Festival Group’s now-under-construction HQ into the Bell Lightbox; Air Canada paid $40 million to gets its name on MLSE’s arena.) When it comes to funding public infrastructure with private money (problematic in itself), it’s important to consider what sort of investment might entitle the transference of (symbolic) ownership. If the public pays for something, why should someone else get their name on it? Why are we subsidizing their advertising?
2008_5_1_CityForSale.jpg• Naming rights aren’t sold so much as rented. Air Canada’s deal with MLSE is up in 2015. Sony’s deal with the City of Toronto for the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts is up in 2017. Buildings, public and private, are becoming like banners ads on a website.
• The public doesn’t get to find out with whom the City is negotiating a naming-rights deal until a contract has already been signed. That means the public gets no opportunity to express concerns if a particular company is especially inappropriate for whatever reason.
• The last thing the federal and provincial governments need is one more excuse to not adequately fund transit. Once something is paid for with private money, it’s extremely difficult to convince a government to restore public funding to it, even if the public purse overflows in the future. Privatization is most often a gradual process of the erosion of the public realm, and accepting corporate contributions (whether “donations” or sponsorships) is one way to absolve the government of its responsibilities. Philanthropy is not a sustainable way to build infrastructure.
• Even a “donation,” as opposed to an explicit sponsorship opportunity, would not be much better, as the company would receive a generous tax break: it would still be our money going into building or maintaining a station, someone else would just get their name on it.
• Lifted entirely from Munro: “Station naming will be very much like the One Stop situation: companies would line up around the block to name Bloor-Yonge because of the exposure, but nobody will want Chester (although I kind of like the idea of a Big Carrot Station). Do we start choosing where to build stations based on whether they can get sponsors?”
The TTC ended up voting to ask staff to report on the matter. The Post notes that only Vice-Chair Joe Mihevc and Commissioner Sandra Bussin dissented, although Chair Adam Giambrone expressed his distaste for the concept in the Star. While it wouldn’t have been entirely unreasonable to argue that there would be no harm in asking for a report (aside from the wasted staff hours), that didn’t turn out to be the case. OC Transpo, the Ottawa region’s transit agency, is now seriously considering the idea as a direct result of the TTC’s move; the Canwest-owned Ottawa Citizen published an editorial in favour, as well as a subsequent letter in response.
Says the original Citizen report, “If [OC Transpo Manager of Business Development and Community Partnerships Patrick] Curran had his way, the Terry Fox transit station could become, say, the Terry Matthews station — if the price is right and the name sits well with bus riders.” Because, of course, the people in our society most deserving of public recognition are those who can afford to pay for it.
Scan taken from hypermediate. Graphic at left by Jonathan Goldsbie, modified from one by Dave Meslin.
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