Welcome to Portland, sponsored by...
20 July 2004
Shortly after boarding one of Portland, Oregon's streetcars during a visit there last weekend, I heard what seemed at first to be a run-of-the-mill automated system announcement, made by one of those computerized voices that are becoming eerily hard to distinguish from human ones: "Next stop, Taylor Street."
But after a short pause, the voice added: "Sponsored by Whole Foods of Portland."
What? The streetcar stops are sponsored -- in Portland?
And it's not just the streetcar stops, I learned a minute later when the voice resumed, this time with out even a pretense of giving me important information about an upcoming stop: "This streetcar sponsored by Hoyt Street Realty."
I guess it's not hugely different than the print ads on the sides of busses common in many cities, but this certainly turns it up a notch.
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