Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Golden Gate for Sale 

The people overseeing the San Francisco landmark consider selling ad space on the bridge

Wednesday, Sep 19 2007

The Golden Gate Bridge: It's San Francisco's most famous icon. Next week the public agency that oversees the bridge may decide whether to allow corporate advertising at its visitor center — because nothing says "profound architectural achievement" like a poster for the FOX fall lineup.

To some extent, you can't blame public entities for looking for new "revenue streams," as the bean counters might say. And, hey, the good folks who run the bridge — a 19-member board that includes lots of people not from S.F. — are assuring the public that the Golden Gates naming rights won't be sold to the highest corporate bidder. Still, what if the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District becomes addicted to the easy money? Won't the agency want to commercialize everything?

Imagine: Public benches will have a plaque proudly proclaiming "Gold Bond Medicated Powder" to be "the officialantifungal of the Golden Gate Bridge." If you're in an accident, toll-free numbers for Golden Gate University Law School students will be available. Go to the bathroom and listen to the San Francisco Symphony's cheery rendition of "Under the Bridge" broadcast over the loudspeakers. Meanwhile, posters on the stall doors will inform you that this flush is brought to you by Golden Cleaning Services. Convenient pamphlets next to the snack bar (which proudly sells Rold Gold Pretzels) will contain useful information for travelers, like "The toll to get across the Golden Gate: $5. Gas to commute to and from work across the bridge: $15. The view: priceless."

And, of course, there's the specter of horrible advertising puns. Like, say, a sign above the visitor's center door saying "The Best Bridge Work in San Francisco" would actually refer to Goldman's Orthodonty. Or how about: "This scenic vista ... brought to you by Microsoft Vista. The Wow! is now."

Then, once the commercial juggernaut gets rolling, even the people contemplating suicide will be victimized by niche marketing. Thinking of jumping? Take a life preserver ... brought to you by Life Savers (try the new "fruit tart" flavor before you go). Let's hope they don't put a Nike "Just Do It" promo anywhere near the bridge — especially before suicide barriers have been installed.

Hey, it could happen. The bridge district needs the money — it's projecting a reported $80 million deficit over the next five years. (Memo to bridge agency: Please, please, please, just do us one favor — no Viagra ads!)

About The Author

Benjamin Wachs


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"