LAST CALL: Milk does Dallas arts center good

Dallasites weren't exactly intoxicated by the proposed naming of an

outdoor music venue after a vodka brand. But they seem much happier now

that they've got milk.



Smirnoff's parent company, Guinness UDV, last year bought the naming

rights to the Coca-Cola Starplex through negotiations with House of

Blues and SFX Entertainment, which manage the facility. Although some

residents didn't like it, the city couldn't intervene.



Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the general citizenry, UDV had been in talks

since 1999 for naming rights to the performing arts hall at a planned

Latino cultural center, where it intended to hang out Jose Cuervo's

banner.



But this time, word of the deal became public because it needed the city

council's OK. City leaders squirmed at the prospect of naming yet

another venue for hard liquor, but fundraising had stalled and the

project needed cash



So a couple of council members successfully milked a cool million out of

Oak Farms Dairy, which operates its plant just four miles from the

proposed center. Oak Farms' contribution moved those Dallasites who

prefer having more wholesome beverages associated with public

facilities.



Even if they have no taste for tequila, city leaders haven't stopped

singing "Jose Cuervo, you are a friend of mine." "They were being good

corporate citizens, too," summarizes Oak Farms' marketing VP Susan

Meadows. "They should be commended for attempting to step up to the

plate."



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