The famous west front of St Paul’s Cathedral is controversially being offered up as a giant sponsorship hoarding, while the entire building is given a &£40m facelift to mark the cathedral’s 300th anniversary in 2008.
St Paul’s – London’s symbol of faith and wartime obduracy – has commissioned Mega Profile to cover scaffolding erected while the cathedral is cleaned with giant printed images, 57 metres wide by 30 metres high. In return, St Paul’s will allow Mega Profile to sell the space to a sponsor.
As yet, no sponsor has been agreed by St Paul’s or the City of London. Mega Profile managing director Harry Torrance says: “With relevance and sensitivity, a brand could capitalise on this unique opportunity.”
The decision to sell sponsorship has met with a mixed reception. Civic Trust policy consultant Michael Hammerson says: “Our streets and historic buildings are not a blank canvas for advertisers. Where possibly the most important building in London is concerned, great care must be taken, even if the hoarding is only temporary.”
Francis Goodwin, chairman of the Churches Advertising Network and founder of Christians in Media, says: “These heritage projects cost millions of pounds. Any money they can raise on the back of it is a help.” Goodwin is also chief executive of Maiden Outdoor.