Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

Oh Canada!

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Sept. 21 1998 1:15 PM

Oh Canada!

Chatterbox has been squinting all morning at his TV to figure out what President Clinton kept swigging during his Flytrap video testimony. Clearly it's a can of something made by Canada Dry, but what? The can is reddish, so maybe it's one of the flavored ginger ales--cherry, cranberry, hard to say. Canada Dry has about two dozen products, not all of them ginger ale. Chatterbox is going to guess...diet ginger ale?

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Anyway, Chatterbox thinks this product placement is a tremendous publicity coup for Dr. Pepper-Seven Up, the U.S. parent company of Canada Dry. (The ultimate corporate parent, awkwardly, is the English Cadbury-Schwepps PLC, but Canada Dry products distributed in the U.S. are made and bottled here.) Chatterbox eagerly phoned the corporate communications department of Dr. Pepper-Seven Up in Stamford, Conn., to pass along the good news, but got a very testy reception from spokesman Mike Martin. Below, some excerpts from our conversation:

Chatterbox: Any comment on the president's fortuitous use of your company's product?

Canada Dry: "We didn't hand him a Canada Dry, so there's nothing we can say.... You'd have to find out where it came from."

Chatterbox: Any chance this will be used by the company in future promotions?

Canada Dry: "There is not a chance that this will be used.... If it is a Canada Dry product, no, we will not be using that as a promotion. It wouldn't be appropriate."

Chatterbox (whose favorite soft drink just happens to be Canada Dry ginger ale) thinks a great opportunity is being missed. He can see the TV commercial now: "You're having a hard day answering a prosecutor's questions alleging perjury and obstruction of justice with regard to sex acts committed in the Oval Office. You're trying to be truthful without being particularly helpful, and you're building up a powerful thirst. Why not reach for Canada Dry?"

--Timothy Noah