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Advertising On City-Owned Properties In Philadelphia Moves Closer To Reality

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(Illustration by Ed Fischer)

(Illustration by Ed Fischer)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – This week brings a deadline for advertising agencies to submit their ideas to the Nutter Administration on how to put ads on city properties and vehicles.

Managing Director Richard Negrin says he expects at least a dozen bids from ad agencies by the Thursday deadline.  And he’s expecting proposals that won’t mar the dignity of the venues:

“We don’t imagine turning City Hall or MSB (Municipal Services Building) or LOVE Park into Times Square.  That’s not what we’re talking about.  We’re talking about being tasteful, being thoughtful, and also getting some public input on some of that stuff.  We’re hoping to get broad ideas about how to advertise in a way that makes sense, that maintains the balance between the dignity of our historic buildings and our facilities and our sites, but also helps us to raise some revenue for the city, which is much needed.”

The process began after prodding in recent years by City Council President Darrell Clarke, who believes several million dollars a year could be raised.  Negrin is hoping for ideas that go far beyond billboards:

“We’ve seen different things done with projection ads that are not invasive on buildings themselves.  We’ve seen things done with digital advertising and kiosks and other things of that nature, which brings advertising to a different level.  You could imagine putting something in a library that’s a kiosk, that encourages literacy, reading and different programs, that also has some advertising thrown in there that actually pays for itself and maybe helps to pay for those programs.”

Furious about this is the anti-blight group “Scenic Philadelphia,” whose executive director is Mary Tracey:

“We have really sought to reduce the amount of outdoor advertising in our city.  And now we have the city (administration) doing a total 180.  If we’re running some short-changes in dollars, we need to figure that out, but not by destroying what makes our city, Philadelphia, so special.”

After this week’s submission deadline, a selection committee will review the proposals and make a recommendation to the mayor.

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