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A corporate sponsor sees its name in (small) lights

The Week Ahead

October 20, 2003|Randy Lewis

Passersby will notice something new this week on the marquee of the venerable Wiltern Theater. It's now the Wiltern LG.

The 72-year-old theater joins the increasing number of buildings around the country that have added a corporate sponsor's name to their own, in this case, Korean electronics company LG Electronics. Ashanti will play a private VIP concert at the Wiltern on Tuesday to launch the new arrangement.

What's unusual about this partnership is that it involves a site under the protection of historical preservation laws, limiting the extent to which LG can make its presence known. So even though LG's logo is being added to the marquee, the famous neon sign that runs vertically at Wilshire and Western won't be touched.

"It's been tricky because of all the limitations," says a spokesman for Clear Channel Entertainment, which books concerts at the Wiltern. "But LG was on board from the get-go about adhering to and respecting those guidelines. They wanted to do something classy that would enhance the existing structures. Rena [Wasserman, the Wiltern's general manager] and I, along with LG, brainstormed ways of tastefully putting the logo on different items. It was very limited."

That means patrons won't be assaulted by LG logos on every interior surface, either. What they'll be more likely to notice are large video screens provided by LG that are part of a series of technological upgrades from the company as part of its minimum five-year title sponsorship agreement.

Money from LG will also go toward ongoing preservation needs.

"Los Angeles is a key market in the U.S., not only in size but in the presence of popular culture, from movies to music to celebrities," LG spokeswoman Melissa Elkins says. "What we're trying to do is to get those [people] to talk about LG."

-- Randy Lewis

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