Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ford Amp changes name to 1-800-ASK-GARY Amp.

Roz, spokesperson for 1-800-ASK-GARY David Harb, General Manager for the Amphitheatre and Marc Abend, Live Nation Sr. VP for Venue Sponsorships, unveil the new logo for the 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre

This just in: Ford Amphitheatre is changing its name to 1-800-ASK-GARY.

For real.

I have the press release to prove it. And I phoned the PR people involved, too, who confirmed that this, indeed, was not a joke. In fact, it's already on the venue's Web site:

According to the press release, the name change is the result of a multi-year deal between Live Nation, which owns Tampa's popular outdoor concert venue and 1-800-ASK-GARY. ASK-GARY is a Florida-based free medical and legal referral service that connects car accident victims with injury attorneys and doctors. I find their commercials . . . amusing. But can't really imagine seeing say - the Dave Matthews Band or Rihanna - at a place called 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre. Even if you shorten it to GARY Amp.

Accidental referral services and entertainment don't seem to mix well - at least on paper, much less a marquee. But the venue begs to differ. Here's what the press release said:

The sponsorship agreement between 1-800-ASK-GARY and Live Nation represents another solid example of 1-800-ASK-GARY’s commitment to Tampa Bay. “Around here, 1-800-ASK-GARY is synonymous with helping people in our community receive medical and legal services they may need after they’ve been injured in an accident. By lending the 1-800-ASK GARY brand to such a cultural and community asset, the naming rights deal ensures a steady flow of top notch entertainment for the community to enjoy,” says Paul Wilson, president and CEO of WILSONMedia & Advertising, the ad firm responsible for the campaign. “This brand integration opportunity extends the level of exposure of 1-800-ASK GARY to entertainment seeking audiences of all ages and ethnicities, something traditional advertising cannot offer,” added Wilson.

So this will keep the music alive in Tampa Bay. I just hope they don't play those commericals on the jumbotrons during a show, though. It would be a total mood killer.

- January Holmes

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