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A Word From Our Sponsor

by Stephen Lautens


July 12, 2002

A couple in Atlanta, Georgia have found a way around the high cost of getting married. Instead of forking over a fortune when they get married this month, Ericka Armour and Nathaniel Hughes decided to shop their happy event around to local companies to see who would like to be their sponsor.

So after putting their nuptials out to tender, they've found more than enough companies willing to bite. Corporate America is apparently willing to donate their goods and services to their wedding day, including the cake, the booze, her makeup and her veil.

In return, her sponsors get listed on the invitation, the program, next to the buffet and in the thank you notes. They even get mentioned in the speech. The report didn't mention whether they had been able to find a sponsor for the groom's stag party. You know, something like: "Entertainment provided by Amanda, with special thanks to the makers of Real Whipped Cream."

Some wedding planners denounced the idea of getting sponsors for a wedding as tacky. I hope these aren't the same ones that recommend putting toilet paper hearts on the getaway car or making sure there is at least one rendition of the chicken dance during the evening.

I wondered whether the idea of finding corporate sponsors for other family events might take off. For example, if weddings are going to get advertisers, why not divorces? They could sell ad space for notices like: "This divorce brought to you by Sneaky Pete Private Investigations - If he's running around, you should be running to us."

In court the lawyers could wear on their robes the logos of various companies interested in advertising their services to the soon to be parted, like Bob's Moving Company or Second Chance Dating. The final divorce judgment could be issued sponsored by the lawyers with a coupon attached - two for one or half off your next break up.

And who would miss the opportunity to defray the high cost of funerals with a couple of sponsors. After all, the casket has all that wasted space on the sides and lid that just cries out for billboards and bumper stickers. With any luck, your loved one can spend eternity in a box that looks like a NASCAR entry. And a eulogy is the perfect place to slip in a few words from your sponsors. You have a captive audience after all. Who knows? By the time you're done, you might even show a profit.

Just to prove that fact is stranger than fiction, some parents are already offering corporations the opportunity to brand name their children. Fine I guess if you get a sponsor for your child with a good name like Robin Hood or Mercedes. Not so good if the high bidder that gets to name your child is Kaopectate or Trojan. I think the lesson to be learned from people willing to sell their kids as advertising space is that not everyone should have children.

I suppose we're already used to seeing ads slapped on anything that doesn't move and a few things that do, so why not our lives?

One last request, though. I draw the line at my gravestone saying: "Here lies Stephen. Ask me how you can lose weight too."

© Stephen Lautens 2002

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