In an attempt to dress up Phnom Penh’s streets, the municipality has begun erecting decorative lamp posts with blue and red bunting bearing Angkor Wat on major thoroughfares.
But if the city has its way, that colorful bunting will soon be replaced with something much more lucrative—advertisements.
Each of the 1,900 lamp posts that are going up around Phnom Penh are for rent at a cost of $500 each per year, said Chea Sophara, Phnom Penh’s first deputy governor.
Monivong Boulevard’s lamp posts have already been reserved by Cambo, a local advertising agency.
Cabinet Chief Mann Chhoeurn said the country’s largest advertisers, such as the beer and tobacco firms, will be interested, as well as other consumer product companies, such as those selling photographic film.
EMG advertising executive Jose Tan agreed the lamp posts would attract potential advertisers. Unlike billboards, which are rented by the year because of the cost involved, Tan said, the lamp posts could be rented for a short period of time from a company such as Cambo for promotions. And the posts are affordable for companies with smaller budgets.
He wouldn’t comment if his own main client, Mild 7 cigarettes, might soon be appearing on the posts.
It is not the first time the cash-strapped city government has rented out public space to advertisers to raise cash. One of the most visible cases are the signboards encircling Phsar Thmei.
Cambo has leased the boards at a cost of $20,000, Chea Sophara said, and the south side of the art-deco market is now covered with photos of a snowboarder flying down a mountain for a Mild 7 promotion.
But even though the move has helped fill the city’s coffers, there is a downside, Chea Sophara said.
“We see it is ugly…we will ask the company to lower the signs a bit because you cannot see the roof of Phsar Thmei,” he said. “But we have to wait a while and let the company make some money.”