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Diesel & the Rialto Bridge
Diesel offered €5 million (approx. USD $6.8 million) to fund the reconstruction of Venice’s historical Rialto Bridge. Signing a deal last year, the luxury company is hoping its contributions to the 400-year-old bridge will help restore it to its former glory, as it’s beginning to crumble due to time, elements and around 20 million tourists trampling over it each year. Work on the bridge is scheduled to start in 2014 with the restoration efforts estimated to take 18 months to complete.
While it’s great to think that fashion is doing its part to help give back to the community, it’s not done selflessly. Luxury brands are choosing some of the most famous sites in the country with millions of potential customers visiting each year. Some deals are more straightforward than others, for example Diesel will be allowed to use up to 30 percent of the Rialto Bridge for advertising and branding, while others are subtle such as Bulgari’s contribution which will undoubtedly be mentioned in on-site brochures, tour guides, press releases and programs that are handed out to tourists. Fendi will be allowed to have signage up around the Trevi Fountain for a period not to exceed four years, while Prada will undoubtedly benefit from its own interconnecting road. Tod’s wants their contribution to be an act of Italian patronage and “will not have any economic or advertising/commercial return for the company.” But advertising or not, the pros far outweigh the cons. It might not look historically inaccurate to have Fendi Buggies hanging from the Trevi Fountain, but the world should be able to put up with a few years of advertisements to save some of humanities greatest cultural achievements.