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Aussie Detergent Brand Offers to Sponsor White House for $25M

Publicity Stunt Won't Do Much to Clean up Our Debt

By Published on . 2

Can it remove the taint of out-of -control spending?
Can it remove the taint of out-of -control spending?
An Australian brand, Vanish NapiSan, is looking to drum up some free publicity on the cheap by playing on the U.S.'s current budget mess. The Reckitt Benckiser brand has offered to "sponsor" the White House for $25 million in exchange for exclusive naming rights and signage displays on the lawn for the next five years.

Vanish NapiSan, apparently "known as the best stain remover in Australia," is aiming for the White House because it's "the most high-profile white building in the world and a logical choice." Choosing a building to raise awareness for fabric cleaning products defies the term "logic," but it's as good a way as any to gain some free publicity in the U.S. [Editor's note: See how we resisted the urge to make a decade-old blue-dress joke?]

The company admits that the idea of sponsoring the White House "may seem outrageous." You don't say? To prove this is serious -- and not, you know, a stunt engineered knowing full well it will never have to spend one cent of the $25 million -- the company is working with Grayling, a D.C.-based public policy management and communications firm. Even if a) this is constitutional and b) the Obama Administration would stoop to such a level, we can only imagine how the Republicans would react.

In a further attempt to make this seem legitimate, Vanish NapiSan is calling attention to the building's involvement in a previous campaign. In 2008, the White House was illuminated pink in support of breast cancer awareness -- because raising awareness for charities trying to cure a deadly disease is just like taking money to promote a fabric cleaner that promises to make your whites whiter.

Aiming for maximum eyeballs and public chatter, the company extended its $5 million-a-year offer with a smug reference to the state of the U.S. economy. In a letter written to members of Congress (displayed on Vanish NapiSan's Facebook page), the marketing team writes, "From watching the satellite news, we're pretty confident Washington could do with the extra cash right now."

Of course, this offering would barely make a dent in the country's multi-trillion dollar debt. And besides, we're pretty sure the Chinese already own the White House.

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