Sponsorship Has Its Privileges

by thoughtsonthedead

bobby old happy beard
TELEPHONE NOISE.

TELEPHONE NOISE.

“Weir here.”

“Hey, Bobby. It’s Thaddeus Americanexpress. How are you?”

“Well, you know: fine. Okay. Um. Who is this?”

“Thaddeus Americanexpress. I own the credit card company.”

“Ah. I didn’t know it was a family corporation.”

“It isn’t: just a coincidence.”

“How’d you get this number? I’ve got, like, nine or ten people you have to talk to before I get involved.”

“Bobby, you’ve been a Cardmember® since 1971. We have all of your phone numbers. I see you’ve recently upgraded to from Black to Uncolored.”

“Yeah, about that: there’s a small problem with the card.”

“Every time you look at it, you get violently ill?

“That’s it, yeah.”

“That’s because the card isn’t uncolored in the sense that you can;t tell what color it is, it’s actually has no color. The object does not exist in the spectrum, but you can feel it in your hand and your brain refuses to process this and then you projectile vomit. The human psyche has a fine-tuned radar for things that shouldn’t exist; this card should not.”

“So why did you send it to me?”

“To demonstrate how Valued a Customer you are.”

“Did you just capitalize those words with your voice?”

“Business school trick.”

“Sure.”

“So, anyhoo, Bobbarino: while I got ya, I wanted to run some ideas by you for the free show.”

“Yeah, y’know I think it’s great that we’re gonna be tasteful and low-key about the sponsorship thing.”

“Right, me too. But what if we weren’t? Like, at all? Wouldn’t that be fun and rock ‘n’ roll, too?”

“Um.”

“All I’m saying is: let’s explore the possibility of slathering every surface with our logo and doing a commercial or two from the stage and…how long does it take you to write a song?”

“About a decade.”

“Okay, so maybe we can’t have a new song, but how about a little lyrical rewrite of one of the old ones? About how great American Express is, or how shitty Visa is. Either one is fine.”

“I would be uncomfortable with that.”

“Okay, okay. You artist types! Let’s talk about the banner. I had a great idea: let’s tie-dye it! Won’t that add value for your customers!”

“Deadheads. They’re not customers.”

“Right, right. ‘Deadheads.’ I love that: that’s branding and I fucking love it. Really coalescing a vibrant and engaged client-base. Such great messaging.”

“When you say ‘banner,’ what are you talking about? How big?”

“American flag outside a car dealership.”

“Absolutely not.”

“We’re going to tie-dye it!”

“No.”

“Fine.”

“Nothing onstage.”

“All right, all right. How many times do you want to talk about American Express?”

“What?”

“Well, we’re footing the bill, so we figured it would only be polite for you to thank us. And we’d like you to do it from the stage. And we’d like to write the thank you’s. And we would like to to thank us in between every song.”

“I’d like to do the opposite of that.”

“Counter-offer: you sing our praises between every song in the first set, then in the second set just once, but you tell a long story about how Amex funds orphanages.”

“Do you fund orphanages?”

“Fuck, no. No money in orphans these days.”

“This is the part of the movie where the hero realizes what kind of people he’s gone into business with, right?”

“Pretty much, Bob.”

“Ah.”

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