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
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."