BRUCE SCHREINER and EMILY FREDRIX
Associated Press Writers

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Fast-food chain KFC is giving two Indiana cities $7,500 so it can emblazon founder Colonel Sanders' face on their hydrants and fire extinguishers to promote new "fiery" chicken wings.

This image released by KFC shows Indianapolis Fire Department Chief Brian Sanford, left, with "KFC Colonel" look-alike Bob Thompson, center, and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard at the Garfield Park Family Center Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010 in Indianapolis, Ind., where KFC offered to improve their fire safety by buying new fire extinguishers in exchange for putting its logos on them to promote KFC's Fiery Grilled Wings. (AP Photo/Brian Bohannon, Kentucky Fried Chicken)

Assistant Supervisor of Water Distribution for Brazil, Ind. Stoney Lalen left, adds the KFC and Fiery Grilled Wings logos to a fire hydrant as Mayor Ann Bradshaw shakes the hand of Colonel Sanders look-alike Bob Thompson in Brazil, Ind., where KFC offered to improve the city's fire safety in exchange for putting the company's logos on city fire hydrants to promote KFC's Fiery Grilled Wings. (Photo by Brian Bohannon/Kentucky Fried Chicken)

This image released by KFC shows "KFC Colonel" look-alike Bob Thompson eating KFC's Fiery Grilled Wings with Garfield Park fire fighters Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010 in Indianapolis, Ind., where KFC offered to improve their fire safety by buying new fire extinguishers in exchange for putting its logos on them to promote KFC's Fiery Grilled Wings. (AP Photo/Brian Bohannon, Kentucky Fried Chicken)

Experts say to expect more ads like this, on public property from sewer grates to the local landfill, as companies look to cut through the clutter of traditional advertising. Cash-strapped governments have long sold space on mass transit, benches, trash cans and other public property to help stretch budgets.

KFC told Indianapolis and nearby Brazil, Ind., it wanted to improve their fire safety by helping pay for new hydrants and extinguishers in exchange for advertising on them. The company plans to e-mail a national network of mayors on Wednesday to find three more cities to participate in the approximately $15,000, monthlong effort, which began Tuesday.

Alternative marketing efforts like this have been growing as people become immune to advertising in print, outdoors and on television, said Allen Adamson, managing director of branding firm Landor Associates in New York.

"I think it's the tip of an iceberg of things to come as marketers struggle to find places to reach consumers and as cities look for ways to squeeze more dollars," Adamson said.

Laura Ries, president of marketing consulting firm Ries & Ries outside Atlanta, said marketers must find new places to reach consumers.

"People ignore advertising, they try to get away from it whenever possible," she said. "So hitting them in unusual and unlikely places, at least initially, is likely to get some attention."

KFC, whose parent company, Yum Brands Inc., is one of the nation's largest fast-food chain owners, wants customers to see it as helping communities, said Javier Benito, a KFC executive vice president.

It spent about $16,000 last year to help fix potholes in four cities _ Topeka, Kan., Chattanooga, Tenn., Warren, Ohio, and Louisville, Ky., where it is based. In return, more than 1,500 potholes were branded "Re-Freshed by KFC" in chalk that lasted about a month.

"These are things that not a lot of people are doing. I think it helps us in terms of creating goodwill with consumers," Benito said.

KFC approached city officials in 8,600-resident Brazil after a local newspaper reported that dozens of hydrants were out of service. Mayor Ann Bradshaw, who said her city's budget situation "hasn't been very good," had no qualms accepting the deal.

The chain will give the city $2,500 so it can put its logo and actual chicken buckets on at least three city fire hydrants, including one each near the courthouse, the post office and a VFW post. Bradshaw said the city intends to use the money to repair hydrants or purchase one; they run about $2,500 apiece.

She's open to more such arrangements.

"I'm willing to jump on board," she said. "I think KFC is out there starting the ball rolling."

Indianapolis will receive $5,000 to buy fire extinguishers and smoke detectors. Some 33 extinguishers will be placed in recreation centers at city parks, and fire officials will hand out the detectors, said Jen Pittman, spokeswoman for Mayor Greg Ballard. The extinguishers will display KFC's logo for at least a month, a KFC official said.

"It's offsetting a need, it's offsetting some of our budget costs," Pittman said.
___

AP marketing writer Emily Fredrix reported from Milwaukee.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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It's kinda comical. My only concern is that the hydrants aren't modified in such a way that it interferes with operating the hydrant in an emergency. They mention putting "actual chicken buckets" on the hydrants. To me, a hydrant is a tool (a very important one at that). Anything that interferes with how it operates or functions shouldn't be allowed. It looks like the local FD is involved with the effort, so I have to think that the functionality of the hydrants won't be affected.

Very funny though. Where are all the jokes? This is freakin' funny. Fiery chicken wings? Fire hydrants? Firefighters? Maybe they will start renting space on the rigs with the "Fiery Wings" logo's on the side of the rigs... you know, with flames coming off them... They could put KFC logo's on their helmets and bunker gear....

Very funny...I'm sorry...

JOe
You know, with tight budgets, cutbacks, brownouts and station shutdowns, maybe KFC, Coke, Pepsi and other brands could bid to adopt firehouses (departments) and, in exchange for visible advertising on the buildings, offer the financial aid necessary to keep the stations operating at the optimal staffing level.

At one time "fire engines" were painted the company color of the Insurance Company that owned them. Maybe we're just coming 'round full circle. I suppose alcohol or tobacco wouldn't be as appropriate, I suppose.

Just imagine, a large add for Viagra, on the ladder truck. The paint scheme alone would be a hoot.
This is a great idea and will spawn others. Think of what depts could do with this type of marketing ploy? New gear or day clothing with a sponsorship on them.
"Company X, proud sponsor of the Y FD" Sell the sponsorships annually.
How many of you wear your FD t-shirts/jackets on a regular daily basis. Now think of how many eyes are looking at that logo each time you go out.
Say you buy a gross of t-shirts at $10 ea (they are a few $ cheaper usually). Sell the sponsorship for $2500 for the year and you just net $1k.
There's a nut over on Facebook that is screaming that it's the end of civilization as we know it.
Plus, he's one of these who thinks that he's hypnotized by subliminal messages in fast food commercials. Yet another one who wants to blame someone else for their poor eating habits.
If given the choice, I will take deep fried chicken over a a grilled fried burger any day. Neither would be that good for you, but the chicken would be healthier regardless of preparation.
IMHO.
Art
Just adding some additional, related news from FireGeezer at FireEMSBlogs.com

Firetrucks Getting “Naming Rights”?
"IT WAS 18 MONTHS AGO THAT WE reported on Stockton, California, Fire Chief Ron Hittle’s plan to sell advertising space on the sides of the city’s firetrucks. (see the Firegeezer report from June, 2007 HERE.) It sounded dopey then, and it sounds dopey now. But they’ve gone ahead and done it." Click link to read more
There you have it. It's already been done. I don't think there's anything wrong with it in general. As long as it's not inappropriate and doesn't get out of hand. I can see it now...... a BIG chicken painted on the sides of a rig..., somebody getting into an accident with the rig (no injuries), and the occupant of the vehicle being interviewed at the scene...

"Well Officer, I don't know what happened. The last thing I remember was seeing a giant speeding chicken with flames coming out of it's a**..." "at first I thought it was a meteor...."

Maybe KFC can develop kevlar chicken outfits. That would be a hoot, seeing chickens running around at a fire scene stretching hose, climbing ladders, breaking windows, making rescues...

I'm sorry, I just think it's so funny...

Joe
I agree with the observations of all the contributors who have commented thus far. It is a form of so far unrealized potential funding. The departmen's, and their town/city administrations should evaluate the benefits vs risks that this type of program has to offer and establish the proper "guide lines" required to make it work.

I am of the opinion, that this type of advertising should be limited. The use of hydrant oriented logos and portable extinguishers are fine, as long the equipment's function is not affected in a negitive manner. I am against any advertising involving apparatus. These (exterior) surfaces should be limited to safety related lighting/striping (1st), department/unit idetification (2nd), and public safety messages (3rd).

Stay safe out there and God Bless America!
Here's the open offer letter to any city that wants to apply for this, I found it on the KFC website.

Greeman

January 6, 2010
Dear Mayor:
As you know first hand, city budgets across the country are under fire as leaders are forced to make tough decisions about how to assign limited public funding. Often these tight budgets make funding for public services such as fire safety and prevention more difficult to come by.
Add to this the fact that in 2008 property loss due to fires was estimated at $15.5 billion and that January is the peak month for residential fires and the topic of fire safety really starts to heat up as it gets cold across the country.
All of this has the KFC Colonel and his crew fired up to improve America’s safety. In honor of our new Fiery Grilled Wings, we are offering fire safety improvements, via fire hydrant repairs or fire extinguisher replacements for communities across the country. And, because the Colonel has become an expert on all things fiery with the introduction of KFC’s new Fiery Grilled Wings, he’ll provide his stamp of approval on each and every hydrant or extinguisher he replaces or helps repair.
Is your city feeling the heat? We invite you to tell us why we should help you extinguish the problem in your community. KFC will be accepting funding requests until January 28 and will announce the winning cities shortly after.
KFC has been bringing communities together around the dinner table for more than 50 years. We invite you and your city to become a part of a new tradition and accept our offer to help improve fire safety in your city. Together, we can provide a safer winter for your community.
Sincerely,
Roger Eaton
President of KFC
My two cents is this:

I think naming-rights and leasing advertising space on public property are the way local government pays for needed services when the local citizens don't want to, or can't afford, to pay higher property and/or sales taxes, and seeing a few adverts on fire plugs, or on city vehicles beats the hell out of cutting-back on essential services (like having hydrants out-of-service), and putting lives in danger. The alternative might be fee-for-service fire protection...even inside the city limits!

Greenman
Seriously (well, ok, not) but the mental image I get of this tops even the chickens running around the fireground.
Just imagine, a large add for Viagra, on the ladder truck. The paint scheme alone would be a hoot.
And think of the motto that could be on the side of the ladder, 'Viagra - getting it up so you can work'
I REALLY THINK THIS ALL TOO FUNNY LIKE THE IDEA ABOUT THE CHICKENS ON THE FIREGROUND THOUGH...SOMETHING WE HAVE ALL DONE IN OUR TIME....BUT HERE IS THE PROBLEM. IF CITIES AND TOWNS START LETTING COMPANIES PAY FOR ADVERTISING AND NAMING RIGHTS ETC.,ETC. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SAID COMPANY HITS FINANCIAL HARD TIMES...AND CANT PAY THE BILLS.....WHAT HAPPENS THEN? JUST LOOK AT WHAT IS HAPPENING IN NASCAR.....RACE TEAMS ARE LOSING SPONSORSHIP DEALS BECAUSE OF THE ECONOMY.....IT WILL THEN FALL BACK ON TO THE TAXPAYER.....HONESTLY I THINKS IT AVERY BAD THING TO GET INTO
Advanced Chicken Anatomy...

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