The IRS, Sponsored by Excedrin


March 30, 1993|By ROBIN BRANCH

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA — Fort Lauderdale, Florida.--It's funny President Clinton hasn't said anything about corporate sponsorships. Not that he doesn't have to save a few ideas for his second 100 days, of course, but surely he's heard that it's worth $3 million to Visa to be the city of Atlanta's ''official preferred credit card.''

Think how much it would be worth to MasterCard, as Visa's perennial rival, to bill itself as the ''official preferred credit card of the United States of America (Except Atlanta).''

Then again, let's not sell ourselves short. It's a big deficit. I mean, it's a big country. Divvy it up and let the bidding begin. No sooner will Discover become ''the official preferred credit card of the Mississippi Valley'' than American Express will demand the right to ante up for the designation of ''preferred credit card of the Southern Great Plains.''

Actually, there's no reason why we should stop with credit cards. Or with regions, either. Not only do we have a nation as blessed with natural and manmade wonders as any place on Earth, but we also have a nation blessed with corporations so rich, and so loony, that they lavish millions of dollars on millionaire sports stars who wear certain shoes and millionaire pop music stars who pretend to drink certain beverages.

I ask you: Is that a combination that cries out for application to the economic shortfall of a nation, or what?


So how does the ''Poulan Weed Eater Grand Canyon'' sound?

I knew you'd like it. And as you can see, we're talking potential gold mine.

We wouldn't even be breaking new ground. According to an old friend at the New England Museum of Historical Minutiae, correspondence stored there makes it very clear that the only reason it wasn't ''Paul Revere's Ride Sponsored by Suffolk Downs Race Track'' is that the British jumped the gun.

Other documents stored at the museum reveal that Lipton withdrew its sponsorship of the Boston Tea Party only because it discovered that, due to an unfortunate misunderstanding among organizers of the event, the boxes destined for Boston Harbor actually contained a rival brand of tea.

OK, I hear you. And I will admit that questions of taste might just possibly arise in connection with this program. I'd be the first to agree that ''The Topeka Casket Company Tomb of the Unknown Soldier'' is out of the question.

So fine. Tastewise, we'd bend over backward.

But what possible objection could anybody have to the discreet placement of billboards at 50-foot intervals along the Blue Ridge Parkway to welcome travelers to the Allstate Insurance Company Blue Ridge Mountains?


Or to the Lincoln Memorial and Exxon Visitors' Center?

The Dannon Yogurt National Endowment for the Arts?

The Deep Woods Off Mosquito Repellent Everglades National Park?

The Bud Dry Mojave Desert?

Come to think of it, there's no reason why product endorsements should be confined to overpaid athletes and underwhelming pop music stars, either.

Given the number of hot dogs on the Supreme Court alone, you've got to figure that French's would cough up a sheik's ransom to be designated the ''official preferred mustard of the nation's capital.''

As I said, maybe President Clinton already thought of this. But judging from what sounded like a pitch for everybody making $30,000 a year or more to send him a check for $17, it doesn't seem like it, so as a concerned citizen, I'm offering the suggestion free of charge.

And come to think of it, he doesn't have to go back as far as the Boston Tea Party for precedents. He can model his plan after the United States Congress, ''brought to you by lobbyists, PACS and special interests.''

Robin Branch is a columnist for the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.

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