Gov. Inslee, some local residents speak out about ads on ferry exteriors

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For those who haven’t noticed already, the front of the Washington State Ferries (WSF) vessel Tacoma is adorned with a large Coca-Cola advertisement wrapped around the boat that promotes recycling.

Questions were first raised back in early October when people first began to see the new advertisement.

The ad has also been noticed by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

“He recognizes how iconic our ferries are and he was surprised there aren’t provisions to account for how paid advertising on our ferries would impact aesthetic,” Mike Faulk, the deputy communications director and press secretary for Gov. Inslee’s office, told KIRO Newsradio.

The soda advertisement covers the bow and stern of the vessel and, specifically, promotes a recyclable bottle.

WSF spokesperson Ian Sterling said the ad is definitely getting noticed and the WSF customer service department has received a lot of feedback from the community.

“This is an icon of the state of Washington, and this is like putting an advertisement on the Statue of Liberty,” Sterling said. “And then the other half says, ‘Hey, this is money being made to help support ferry service to taxpayers.’” He said the agency is definitely hearing from both sides.

Will we see more ads like this?

“We’re going to revisit exterior advertising on ferries. We don’t sell the advertising ourselves as a third party. And we have an agency that goes out and sells that on behalf of state ferries essentially, just like galley service,” Sterling explained. “We’ve talked to our advertising partner and said ‘let’s put a pause on this until we can kind of gauge a little bit more of whether people will support this or not,’ or whether it’s a good idea or not, for that matter.”

He said it’s interesting how the Tacoma is getting a lot of attention right now and it isn’t even in service.

“The boat is in the shipyard and people can’t even see it right now,” Sterling said.

The boat comes out of service next month and, by that time, the bright red Coca-Cola recyclable ad will be removed.

This story was originally published on the MyNorthwest website.