November 20th, 2005

[Your Product Here], Texas: Maybe the Town of DISH Will Start a Trend

Dallas Morning News

Say one thing about DISH Network’s idea to buy a little publicity: The company isn’t pulling some sneaky product-placement maneuver. Buying naming rights to a town is as upfront as it gets.

And say one thing about the former town of Clark: It’s not like residents are trading in a name that conjures any sense of history or sentimentality. The 5-year-old town was named for its original mayor, a crusty fellow who lost a nasty re-election try and then cut down and carried off a flagpole he had donated.

So who’s to condemn the deal whereby the Denton County crossroads officially becomes DISH (that’s right – all capital letters) in return for free satellite television for all?

In fact, the DISH deal is a rare show of unity in a feud-hardened community where two-thirds of the population seceded after one royal rumble and residents have accused one another of all manner of shady conduct.

Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see whether the lure of free TV swells DISH’s population and whether Rand McNally feels obligated by that capital-letter thing.

Meantime, one wonders what horizons lie ahead in municipal marketing:

•Will other Lone Star cities be similarly enticed? Perhaps Mercedes residents could be persuaded to add "Benz" – a few loaner cars might do the trick. What would it take to change Frisco to Fresca?

•Will cities get into the product-placement game? Maybe council members could be enlisted to, say, all drink the same brand beverage at meeting time. Especially during those controversial made-for-TV-news moments.

•Can cities get into the endorsement business? Is there money available for something like, "Quaker State – the official lubricant of Grand Prairie"?

Yessir, it’s a new day in these parts. Thanks, DISH.

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