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Thursday, 26 July 2012


"The Time, sponsored by Accurist, ..."

It is no longer and that's a relief when you have to dial the Speaking Clock. But it was Accurist that gave me the idea of launching a Campaign for Unsponsoring Things (CUT). People like me would contribute small amounts (anonymously) and CUT would use it (anonymously) to unsponsor things. So they would go to BT and say, "OK. How much does it cost to remove the words sponsored by Accurist?" and a deal would be done.

If Accurist gave me the idea, it was Sponsored Municipal Flower Beds that made me think that CUT would really improve my life. I like flowers, a lot, and it's a pleasure to look at them - but not when framed by the name of some Estate Agent.

Worse, here in Brighton and Hove, sponsorship extends to the floral WELCOME display which greets motorists on their way into the city. I reckon that if you only want to WELCOME your visitors via a Sponsor then you don't want to Welcome them at all.

Imagine, you are going to invite some friends to a dinner party and you send out Invitations Sponsored by Pizza Poppa. If you are that dumb, you really do need to read How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Back in 1995 I visited Israel and planned to visit Yad Vashem (the principal Holocaust memorial and museum). I debated in advance whether it was the sort of place where you would take a camera or whether that would be offensive.

I found Yad Vashem in many ways moving and well-conceived: the black pillars and the railway wagon stay in my mind. But I was shocked to find that some things were Sponsored and not only that Sponsored by people who had their names displayed on little plaques . Of the ones I noticed, all appeared to be American. I just found it inappropriate and even offensive.

The modern Olympic Games would not exist without corporate Sponsorship, mostly from US based major corporations like Coca-Cola and MacDonalds. Now if the Olympic Games were unsponsored and we had to make do with amateur get-togethers, I think I might take an interest. It would remind me of how as a boy I went to football matches every Saturday and cheered on Dartford FC and no one told me I had to drink Coca Cola.

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