Branding Our Cities: Snapple is Now the 'Official Water, Juice, and Iced Tea Provider' for NYC

Ralph Nader writes, "Mayor Bloomberg...has committed New York City unilaterally to naming Snapple as the official water, juice and iced tea provider for the nation's largest metropolis. The elaborate 5-year agreement - not publicly available - transferred $166m from Snapple to NYC in return for exclusive selling rights of various products in the public schools and buildings. Snapple's logo is to go on ferries and garbage cans. The City's chief marketing officer (that's his title) said that the Snapple agreement was both 'relevant' and 'tasteful'.... Old-timers years ago would have wondered what the Mayor means by marketing NYC. Cities were viewed more benignly when they were more livable, more employable at good wages, more replete with public institutions like good libraries, good public transit, good schools, good hospitals and clinics and good recreational facilities in the neighborhoods. New York City is crumbling on these measurements." Visit CommercialAlert.org for more info.

There is No Sanctuary from Advertising

"Asked to name public places where there is no advertising, consumer activist Gary Ruskin racks his brain. Churches and other houses of worship, he says eventually. National parks. The U.S. flag. He sadly admits that the list just keeps growing shorter. 'It's an assault from which there is no respite,' said Ruskin, executive director of Commercial Alert, a consumer awareness group based in Portland, Ore. 'Ads won't leave us alone. There are fewer and fewer sanctuaries from aggressive huckstering.' Even the pope has had a sponsor. The McDonald's fast-food chain was an official sponsor of Pope John Paul II's 'pray-in' held in May at a Madrid airport. Some 500,000 attendees were given backpacks of papal goodies that included vouchers for food from McDonald's.... With tightening budgets, schools in particular have been looking at ways to attract corporate dollars, often to the chagrin of parents fearful of advertising's effect on impressionable students."