Arguments over the appropriate uses of public spaces and municipal facilities are the focus of many local debates, particularly over the renaming of certain places, like stadiums, for corporate sponsors. In some cases, corporate sponsors have even sought to rename entire towns or cities. In the most recent manifestation of this phenomenon, the California Milk Processor Board (best known for the "Got Milk? Ads) has asked 24 towns in California if they might be interested in changing their name to Got Milk? California, in exchange for being the centerpiece of a new ad campaign, which would bring increased tourism and revenue to the area. Other publicly-owned "spaces" are also being courted by advertisers, including the sides of police cars. Across the Atlantic, public advocacy groups are calling for strict rules and regulations on advertising in telephone kiosks, utilizing the fact that they are almost always located in the public way.
The first link leads to an article in the Sacramento Bee that discusses the proposition to rename one of twenty-four towns in California to Got Milk? The second Web site is to the Got Milk? home page, which describes the history of the popular ad campaign and provides information about this most recent proposition. The third link leads to a New York Times article that tells how Halfway, Oregon, changed its name to Half.com for one year in return for approximately $100,000 (free registration is required). The fourth site is a USA Today article on attempts by a corporation to place graphic advertising on police cars around the United States. The fifth link is to an interview from the Guardian newspaper in Britain with Naomi Klein, author of No Logo, a recent book that addresses the increasing pervasiveness of corporate brands and logos around the globe. The final site is a document prepared by the Civic Trust (a public advocacy group in Britain) that deals with the thorny issue of advertising in telephone kiosks, which has been the subject of great debate there for several decades.