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In another quirky sign of the times, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) has agreed to fix potholes in several cities, however, there is a catch. As part of the deal KFC gets to place an advertisement on top of each pothole they repair. This type of arrangement would have been improbable a few years ago, but as cash strapped cities struggle to provide even basic services they are having to increasingly turn to the private sector for help. For more on this, read the following article from Blue MauMau.

KFC last week sent the Colonel and a road crew to fix potholes for free around Louisville, Kentucky. The catch is that the company will repair the roads if it can cap off potholes with a brand ad.

KFC Pothole Repair
Colonel Sanders look-alike Bob Thompson stencils a KFC ad on the road.
Fear not. The ads are not meant to stay. KFC-refreshed potholes will be branded via a large stencil that reads "Re-Freshed by KFC" in non-permanent street chalk.

KFC, a subsidiary of Yum Brands, also announced it would help four other revenue stricken cities across the United States to repair their growing road pothole problem.  The firm issued an open offer to mayors of cities nationwide, asking them to describe their city streets' state of disrepair.

"This program is a perfect example of that rare and optimal occurrence when a company can creatively market itself and help local governments and everyday Americans across the country," said Javier Benito, executive vice president of marketing and food innovation for KFC.

It is estimated that U.S. roads are riddled with more than 350 million potholes nationwide. If potholes were chicken pot pies, that would mean more than one KFC pot pie in hand for every man, woman and child in America.

"Budgets are tight for cities across the country, and finding funding for needed road repairs is a continuing challenge," said Louisville's Mayor Jerry Abramson. "It's great to have a concerned corporation like KFC create innovative private/public partnerships like this pothole refresh program."

BrandWeek, a magazine for the ad industry, reports that such marketing programs have mutual benefit to cities and advertisers. In this time of cities gone broke, retail chains can receive high-visibility ads that were never available to them before, and cities (most of whom are reluctant to raise taxes at a time when unemployment is already at historic highs) receive needed repairs.

“We’ve been seeing, for a number of years, a trend toward more partnerships between communities and advertisers,” observes Jeff Golimowski, the communications director at the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. “It’s an opportunity for advertisers to reach consumers in new, surprising and delightful ways.”

Louisville school children may soon look at their streets and ask the riddle, “Why did the Chicken Colonel cross the road?” And an answer in the future might easily be, “To stamp his ad on it, silly.”

This article has been reposted from Blue Maumau. View the article on Blue Maumau's small business and franchise news website here.