In David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, one of the many, many weird and specific ways he imagines the future has a ring of truth to it. Due to more and more demands from voters for government services, but a shrinking desire to pay for them, eventually the government starts raising revenue wherever it can – including selling the naming rights to everything you'd need in official documents. Notably, the year. 2019 is so drab, don't you think?

This is played largely for humor, of course, but it's no joke, not even according to statements by the author! I recently heard noted Libertarian Party voice Larry Sharpe recommend selling the naming rights to bridges and other parts of public infrastructure in New York – why have a Triborough Bridge when you could have a Depends Ultra-absorbent Adult Undergarment Bridge? Why have the mayor or legislator work in a building with such a boring name as "the capitol building", when it could be the Sanderson Discount Caskets Building?

Of course, those aren't the examples he used. He thought Apple would want a bridge named after it – but I can't imagine how much New York would need to pay Apple to put their generally respected name on crumbling, ugly, and over-crowded bridges.

That's the primary issue, for me and most other people: this is really tacky. But a similar idea is present in the Chinese Zodiac, if you sort of blur the image a bit. One could (ignoring years like Monkey and Dragon) imagine it as a promotion for various wild game or ranchers. Certainly, giving years names in addition to (or even instead of) their numbers isn't ridiculous.

The trade war between the US and China has made meaningful data collection about the influence of the Year of the Pig challenging. But I've seen the street signs already (even before Chinese New Year – some people will say the Gregorian 2019 is the year of the pig, pretty reasonably I suppose), and the marketing pigs get is pretty pervasive. Perhaps we could try and use this as a natural experiment anyway and observe the effectiveness of this kind of exogenous marketing subsidy?