Because of severe military budget reductions, the MetLife Defense Department has begun selling naming rights to major military weapons systems and installations. The AT&T Pentagon, contacted by a senior military correspondent yesterday, said they expect to make millions from corporations eager to have their trademarks on U.S. weapons of mass destruction.
Old Navy, one of the first to get in on the action, won naming rights for the Polaris nuclear missile system. Old Navy, which paid 1.4 million dollars to have the Old Navy emblem on all Polaris missiles, thinks the money will be well spent. “The last thing people will see before being blown to oblivion in a nuclear firestorm is our “Old Navy” insignia,” said proud Old Navy CEO, Brian Trafalgour.
Campbell Soup Company, at a recent press conference, announced the new Campbell’s Chunky Soup M203 Grenade Launcher. According to Campbell’s advertising manager, “this is a perfect marriage for us: soup and grenades. We are proud that our venerable company is sponsoring this magnificent grenade launcher.”
Other lucky companies rolling out newly named product associations are: the Victoria’s Secret Long Range Sniper Rifle, the Chuck E. Cheese Predator Missile, Pampers Diapers Apache Attack Helicopter, Coors Light M1 Abrams Tank, and finally, the Mabelline Baby Lips Lip Balm Humvee. Nike, who refused our repeated calls, is rumored to be offering nearly a billion dollars for placement of the Nike ‘swoosh’ on the uniforms of all U.S. military personnel.
While the deal is as yet unconfirmed, this would offer Nike the ultimate in trademark placement. More than 1 1/2 million active duty personnel would be brandishing the Nike trademark throughout the world.
The branding of three large military installations has been announced by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta: Oil of Olay Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Handi Wipes Naval Air Station in Florida and Fixodent Fort Hood in Texas. Panetta, dressed in a navy blue blazer with the Nike swoosh embroidered on his lapel, confessed, “we can use the money but this may take a little getting used to.”