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COAST, CENTRAL, AND NORTHWEST CITIES : GARDEN GROVE

Public Works Trucks to Carry Ads

March 02, 2000|CHRIS CEBALLOS | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

About seven months ago Pepsi became the official soft drink of Garden Grove, with a $1-million, 10-year partnership between the cola company and the city. Now the City Council has approved advertising on its nonemergency vehicles.

The council on Tuesday directed city staff to negotiate a contract with Signs of Support, a locally owned business that will sell advertising space on the city's 86 public works pickups.

"I used to go to Angels Stadium when I was a kid. Now I go to Edison Field," said Councilman Mark Rosen. "We're just taking advantage of opportunities to put money in the general fund."

The council also decided on Tuesday to put half of the first-year proceeds from the Pepsi contract into the city's general fund and give $40,000 to the Garden Grove Foundation.

Under the contract, Pepsi is the only vending-machine soft drink offered at city-owned facilities.

The vehicle advertising is expected to generate around $92,000 annually, with half of that going to the city. The other half will go to the Signs of Support program. The ads will be small signs on the tailgates of public works trucks that will display the advertiser's name and phone number, the city seal and a positive statement.

"It's a little more commercial than I'd like to see [in] government," Rosen said. "But it seems to be the thing to do these days with baseball stadiums and freeway markers. It's our turn to get our share."

Costa Mesa and San Clemente also participate in the Signs of Support vehicle advertising program, and the County of Orange has signed on for a trial basis in its Harbor, Beaches and Parks Division.

The ads haven't sparked controversy in Vista and Oceanside, where a vehicle advertising program has been in operation for a couple of years. But those cities also saw a significant drop in revenue after the first year when businesses didn't continue advertising. Signs of Support recently entered into a partnership with the Los Angeles Times to manage vehicle ad sales and expects to bring the retention rate up.

"We can't lose money on it," Rosen said. "Right now it's just an opportunity."

Chris Ceballos can be reached at (714) 966-7440.

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