Last week, we started running a new series of posts where we jokingly claimed that we were being sponsored by Values.com (also known as The Foundation For A Better Life). We were not being sponsored by them, of course, and thought that was clear. Someone disagreed, though, and that someone worked for The Foundation For A Better Life. He seems like a decent fella, so rather than share his name, let’s just call him Donny Values. Here’s what Donny Values had to say about our fake ads:
Hello guys! Just saw your (very funny) values billboards you made. I especially like the Peanuts one. Filthiness (the good mud-kind) should be one of the values on our site.
But… would you please remove the note about us sponsoring you? We don’t sponsor anyone as a rule nor do we accept any donations or advertising money from anyone else. We feel that doing so would compromise the integrity of our ‘just be nice and practice good values’ message.
Also, would you please update your two billboards so they don’t have our logo on them? Again, we don’t want to have others think those are our official billboards. (The “Pass It On” thing is also technically our trademarked thing, so would you pretty-please remove that as well?)
Once we got over the thrill of having a reader who wasn’t in attendance at Mrs. Carroll’s 4th of July BBQ, we translated all of the smiling sentences in Donny’s e-mail and realized this wasn’t a joyous occasion at all! He was trying to change our content! And while we found it ridiculous that anyone would think our months-old comedy site would be sponsored by a foundation like Values.com, we were ready to help Donny out. We consulted our lawyer (Darryl Johnson Esquire, Esq. — yes, his last name is Esquire, don’t bug him about it, he’s really annoyed when people bring it up), asked him what to do, and followed his suggestions. We removed any joking indication that Values.com was sponsoring us, and changed our recreated logo to say “Value.com: The Foundation For Satirical Ads.” We wrote Donny to let him know about this, and figured we had put the issue to bed. We fixed all of the future images and slept peacefully.
But despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to please Donny. He wrote to us the next day:
Thanks for changing those billboards and removing the text about us being a sponsor. We really try to stay clear of affiliations of any kind because most people are (rightfully) cynical about organizations like us that try to do good without asking for something in return.
To be clear, I’m totally not against well-made parody of any of our stuff—I’ve made a few of them myself over the years. One of my personal favorites featured Sam Jackson as Jules Winnfield as the billboard ‘hero’. I made myself chuckle all afternoon with that one. I look forward to seeing the new billboards as you create them… (I saw the new golfer one, but don’t quite get it… but I’m kinda slow in the gettin’ department.)
May I ask one more favor? Can you please change “Pass It On” to something else? That is one of our registered trademarks, so we like to keep that one “official” as well. As a suggestion, maybe use “Toss It Up” (uses the same word shapes), or “Push It On” (sounds like your saying Pass It On while really drunk) or “All Your Pass It On Are Belong To Us”… I dunno, just a few suggestions for alternates.
While we were flattered that Donny wanted to join our creative team, we thought that Carroll ünd Klinger ünd Values was a bit of a tongue-twister.
We’re not thrilled to make even more changes to our images, but it’s rather clear that there’s only one place Donny could have learned to write those grammatically correct sentences and joke about Pulp Fiction: Harvard Law. So we agreed to tweak the ads further. They’ll roll out two times per week, over the next two months. We hope you like them, Donny. Because apparently you’re the only one out there reading.