Welcome to the McDonald's Golden Gate bridge?

As one of the most photographed constructions on Earth, a lure to tourists and one of the supreme symbols of the United States, its attraction to advertisers is evident. But howls of protest could be heard emanating from the San Francisco Bay area this weekend over plans to put the Golden Gate bridge out to commercial sponsorship.

The idea of inviting an airline, media or drinks company to back one of the most aesthetically lauded bridges in the world is being considered by the board that controls the Golden Gate.

It is struggling under mounting debts, and needs to find new sources of income to pay for $30-million painting and renovation work on the cables. Having already raised the toll from $3 to $5, the room to attract extra revenue direct from drivers is limited.
Hence the prospect of the Golden Gate bridge, brought to you by McDonald’s.

A committee of the board looking into funding options has referred the sponsorship package to a meeting of the full board next month. Advocates of the plan insist there will be no advertising allowed on the bridge’s 1 280m span itself, and no renaming of the structure.

The sponsorship would be, in the words of one board member, “behind the scenes”.

But opponents say that to allow corporate logos to be plastered over viewing platforms or a new visitors’ centre would be against the spirit of the suspension bridge.

Jake McGoldrick, a dissenting member of the board, told the San Francisco Chronicle he was “unequivocally and unashamedly opposed to turning the Golden Gate bridge, one of the most important cultural icons in the United States, into an advertising item or consumer target item. You might as well turn the cathedrals and synagogues into advertising opportunities.”—Guardian Unlimited Â

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