The Council of Paris announced today that the naming rights to the world-famous Eiffel Tower have been sold to BNP Paribas, France’s largest bank and financial services corporation, for the sum of 8.7 million Euro.
“It was not an easy decision to make,” remarked Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, in an interview last week. “The Council has been sharply divided over this proposal for over a year. Selling naming rights for promotional purposes is a common practice in America, however there was great reluctance to do that here. Ultimately, it was strictly a financial decision that will give the city a much-needed infusion of cash.”
While the Eiffel Tower operating company (SETE) and the city of Paris still retain ownership and operating rights, BNP Paribas now owns the naming rights to the historic tower for a period of 10 years.
Jean-Laurent Bonnafe, CEO of BNP Paribas, is optimistic about potential advertising opportunities and increased tourism within Paris. “While renaming a well-known monument may seem sacrilegious to some, in today’s market-driven economy promotional naming opportunities clearly increase traffic and local revenue.”
The new name “The BNP Paribas Minaret” will become official during an unveiling ceremony in 3 weeks. The tower will retain this name for 2 years, after which the Tower’s name will undergo a change every 2 to 3 years as BNP Paribas leases naming rights to high profile bidders.
Several corporations are already bidding for rights to have their name associated with the landmark site.
Pinnacle Foods Group, an American company, is already in negotiation with BNP Paribas to be the first to have their logo attached to the tower and is expected to sign contracts for the 2017-2019 period under the name “Mrs. Butterworth’s Sweet Tower” as their signature bottle strongly resembles the tower’s profile.
EDITORIAL NOTE: This is a parody news item. Only in America do we freely sell our souls for promotional purposes.