Written by Harry Porter

Friday, 22 October 2004

image for Coalition Ground Forces Mop Up Sponsorship
A tank displays some of the more 'sensitive' advertising

The governments on both sides of the Atlantic have reached agreement over a new solution to offset the spiralling costs of the conflict in Iraq - sponsorship.

With military commitment looking inevitable for at least another five years, the US Administration and London's Downing Street have been finding the financial implications hard to justify.

But now a deal looks like being struck which will pour millions into the war effort. However, a ban has been slapped on tobacco and alcohol advertising.

Both Washington and London believe any endorsements from cigarette companies would be irresponsible as brand names flashed across the planet in news reports.

Consideration had been given to carrying the usual health warnings on any branding appearing on guns, tanks, planes etc, but this was also deemed inappropriate.

The ban on alcohol promotion has been taken out of respect to the Iraqis' faith.

However, some of the globe's most powerful oil companies are paying big bucks to get their names on TV screens across the world.

Ground forces are proving particularly attractive, especially tanks, as they dominate the video frame for much longer than a swooping jet or a strafing helicopter.

"It's a win-win situation," said a spokesman for Britain's far right New Labour government. "War, at the end of the day, is a business like any other. We need to maximise profit and keep overheads down.

"Sponsorship helps with financing the equipment our troops need and, in turn, leading brands get maximum exposure, which can only help their sales and profile.

"Being associated with a winner makes good business sense."

Criticism has been levelled at the endorsements, with some commentators believing encouraging oil companies to back the Coalition reinforces the notion that the Iraqi conflict is a battle about barrels and not democracy.

"That's absolute nonsense," said a White House adviser. "We will consider all offers of sensitive sponsorship, except, of course, from tobacco companies and alcohol brands.

"This may be a military campaign but we still want to be pushing the ‘healthy living' message and showing that we respect the Iraqis' beliefs."

News that the British are moving its Black Watch regiment into the Baghdad area, supposedly in tighter support of the American forces, has also prompted cynics to suggest that Downing Street is keen to enter a more dramatic theatre and so boost sponsorship offers.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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Topics: Iraq, sponsorship

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