On Saturday, a small Florida town named Mayo disappeared. In its place sprung up the town of Miracle Whip.
It could have been a conspiracy, given that the town was named after a Confederate colonel and that taking down monuments dedicated to Rebel Army luminaries seems to be all the rage among the politically correct these days. Or it could have been a way to appease millennials, who have noted nothing but disdain for mayonnaise.
Nope, instead, the decision by the town council to name itself after a popular condiment doubled as a prank and a way to garner some funding to spruce up the area. It turns out that an agreement between the food corporation Kraft Heinz and the town of Mayo called for the moniker alteration including changing the municipal label on the water tower. The deal also included the town facilitating a picnic for all the locals who would nosh to food made by Kraft Heinz, as well as promo footage of folks swapping out their mayonnaise for Miracle Whip in their refrigerators.
In exchange for getting Kraft Heinz a big boost in its brand as well as a ton of publicity, Mayo will receive $25,000 in beautification funding from the company.
Corporate involvement in civic identity is nothing new. In 1950, the town of Hot Springs, New Mexico changed its name to Truth Or Consequences, after the popular NBC game show that was celebrating its tenth anniversary at the time. It turns out the show producer promised any municipality in the U.S. that would change its name to the program some additional exposure by hosting an episode broadcast.
And in 2005, the town of Clark, Texas struck a deal with satellite TV delivery service EchoStar, if it permanently changed its name to Dish- the company's main satellite programming product. In exchange, EchoStar promised free satellite TV service to the town's citizens for a decade.
A small town like Mayo can get away with such a stunt, even if it's only for a handful of days. But would the Mayo Clinic ever entertain a similar notion of changing its name to Miracle Whip? Not if the moniker suggests a number of practices that can't be mentioned here.