If Ocean City had decided to allow a Coca-Cola logo to be placed on a new mid-town water tower, it would have been a “sell out,” as Council members Tony DeLuca and Mary Knight maintained.
The issue here is Ocean City sold out a long time ago to a degree to corporate marketing opportunities. While there’s a laundry list of examples, namely the logos on the back of the lifeguards chairs and youth sports team shirts as well as the exclusivity of soft drink vending machines on town properties, allowing a soft drink logo on a town water tower would have gone too far and been viewed unfavorably by most.
It was different when the Dew Tour added its logo to the downtown water tower years ago. That was an event with a major ability to draw crowds. It was a feather in the town’s cap to host that event for three consecutive years. The town was proud and boasting about it made good sense to the town as well as the Dew Tour producers.
We don’t have a problem with strategic product placements to enhance revenue associated with a shared marketing plan. Municipalities and major sports teams have been doing this for years, and it’s smart business to get creative with revenue partnerships.
It just can’t come at the expense of being cheesy and exploitive. We think the water tower visual with a Coca-Cola logo falls into that category as would banners featuring the soft drink company’s logo on the Boardwalk. It’s too much. It was nice to see Ocean City officials say as much this week.