by Arthur Vibert
Susan was only a few months into her pregnancy when the first call came about a corporate naming sponsorship. After we’d been through a battery of genetic tests and discovered our daughter was going to grow up to be exceptionally tall, athletic and beautiful we knew she’d be a sports star or a supermodel. It was only a matter of time before the phone started ringing. But so soon!
Usually they wait to see if you’re going to have an abortion, or an auto accident, something like that. I guess competition is getting pretty stiff, I thought, especially for someone as special as our daughter is going to be.
“3Com Foley,” I said, hanging up. “It has a certain ring to it.”
“I don’t know, honey,” Susan said. “I was kind of hoping we could name her Nike.”
I was horrified. “Oh, no, Susan. Three of the guys at work have kids named Nike. It’s so... common. I think we should hold out for something more unique.”
“As long as it’s not Keds. I don’t think I could deal with the looks I’d get if we named her ‘Keds Foley’.”
Susan was becoming a little sullen. I attributed it to her pregnancy and ignored it.
The next day we had a call from an agent at the William Morris Agency.
“Hi, Mr. Foley? This is Uncle Solly with William Morris, Corporate Name Sponsorship Division. I heard the news. Let me be the first to congratulate you. Are you entertaining any offers yet?”
I mentioned 3Com.
“Terrible mistake. Terrible. Did they talk back-end? Did they talk contingency? Correctional surgery allowance? In my line of work these are deal breakers. You’re swimming with sharks now, Mr. Foley. You need one on your side.”
I told Uncle Solly I’d get back to him. Susan thought it was a good idea to have an agent and I agreed. I just wasn’t sure if William Morris was the right firm. I called our lawyer, Fulton.
“I’m glad you called, Foley. Morris is a good firm, but I know a great guy over at CAA. Uncle Danny. You’re gonna love him.
After we signed with CAA we sat back and waited for the offers to come rolling in.
For a while we toyed with McDonald’s. Somehow, though, “McDonald’s Foley” just didn’t sound right. And they were insisting she eat food made only by McDonald’s, which is when I finally put my foot down.
“I respect your decision, Foley, but you may be making a mistake,” said Uncle Danny.
“I’ve got my principles,” I said. “Some things are just unacceptable.”
There was a brief flirtation with Adidas, and we got real close with Monsanto. Revlon was never really a contender and United Air Lines was just too, well, unwieldy. But we knew we were on to something when Uncle Danny put together a last minute co-branding deal with two huge corporate players.
Our daughter was born Budweiser Doritos Foley. Now we have the two corporate nannies, plus the live-in CAA representative as well as a full-time nurse. Fulton likes to spend some quality time every day dandling little Budweiser on his knee.
On the clock, of course.
They’ve actually managed to fit Susan and me in for an hour with her each day, something we try and do regularly. And Uncle Danny called to let us know that Dockers was sniffing around trying to make a pre-emptive deal to name our first son.
Parenthood. It’s wonderful, isn’t it?
Copyright © 2007 by Arthur Vibert