Great Moments in Bad Sponsorship

Was it really a good idea for an insurance company, AllState, to become the new title sponsor of the Sugar Bowl?  

E.S.P.N. noted the irony when it led off its report in the following manner:  

At a time when the insurance industry is under heavy criticism for its slow and often contentious dealings with Hurricane Katrina victims, one of the nation's largest insurance companies has become the title sponsor of this city's best known annual sporting event.

Only two comparable examples of great moments in bad christening spring to mind.  One such instance was when an airport was named after Will Rogers, a man who died in a plane crash.  The other occasion occurred when a post office building was dubbed in honor of G. Elliot Hagan, who campaigned for Congress by promising to fire a post office employee.  

That got me thinking.  If we give free rein to our sense of the ridiculous, what else might be renamed with unintended irony?  (I ask this question as someone who lives on the south side of Atlanta, where we host a stock car race called the Cracker Barrel 400 and a women's golf tournament called the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship, so I have some familiarity with ill-conceived sponsorship arrangements.)  

Here are a few examples that spring to mind:  

Auburn University Made Possible by a "No Child Left Behind" Grant---There's a joke that goes like this:  "How many radical feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb?  One . . . and that's not funny!"  The beauty of that joke is that, if you don't find it amusing, the joke is about you.  The foregoing jab at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute enjoys a similar elegance; if you don't get it, it means you went to school in the Ugliest Village of the Plains.  Beyond that, if you're an Auburn fan visiting my site, it means two things:  first of all, your Google search went horribly awry, and, secondly, I should try using words with fewer syllables for your benefit.  

The Auburn University Board of Trustees.

Williams-Brice Stadium Presented by Chick-fil-A---Just before kickoff, that ridiculous costumed mascot, Plucky the Chicken, would be borne out onto the field to the tune of "Also Sprach Zarathustra," carried by four costumed cows wearing sandwich boards reading "Eat Mor Chikin."  That ought to fire up the opposing team.  Remember . . . the visitors didn't invent the Gamecock, just the Gamecock sandwich.  

Xerox Presents The Herd with Colin Cowherd---This sponsorship arrangement would marry the No. 1 name in copying with a well-known document company.  

University of Georgia Men's Basketball Brought to You by Western Union---Sadly, the firing of Jim Harrick ended all hope that this deal would come to pass, but the commercial possibilities would have been tremendous.  When you need to wire money to a player . . . or a recruit . . . or a recruit's family . . . think Jim Harrick and Western Union!  

Please please please please please please don't let there be a Jim Harrick III out there somewhere.

The N.C.A.A. Basketball Tournament Brought to You by Google---As you know, Myles Brand and his minions, fearful of appearing insensitive to the hypersensitive, made a ham-handed attempt to ban native American mascots from postseason play.  If Google were to sponsor March madness, surely some squeamish soul at the N.C.A.A. who was more concerned with political correctness than with factual correctness would find out what service Google provided, misinterpret the phrase "search engine" as a derogatory term applied to a captured Comanche scout in a John Wayne cowboy movie, and become apoplectic at the association.  

The Heisman Trophy Presentation Sponsored by Dillard's---Really, wasn't this essentially how it worked out the year Peter Warrick went on his infamous shopping spree?  

Florida State fans fear news stories containing the phrase "trip to a Tallahassee mall" the way Georgia fans fear news stories containing the phrase "driving on a suspended license."

E.S.P.N. College GameDay Produced by Jack Daniel's Distillery---Anytime Chris, Lee, and Kirk go on the road, the spectacle generated by their presence inevitably is enhanced by the pregame revelry of the drunken fans behind the set, so the linkage is inevitable, however much the fellows at the Worldwide Leader might wish to downplay it.  As an added bonus, this sponsorship deal would give me the opportunity to tout my one real claim to internet fame, the "College GameDay" Drinking Game.  

The 2007 Cadillac Escalade Brings You the Ohio State Buckeyes---It was either that or "Waste Management Presents the Tennessee Volunteers."  

Go 'Dawgs!  

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