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Eight strange corporate sponsorships

Jun 03, 2014

Corporate sponsorships are a fact of life as marketers use everything from sports stadiums to highway bathrooms as their billboards. Sometimes, though, a sponsorship just seems like it doesn't make sense. Here are a few of the biggest head scratchers in recent memory.

Photo: Rob Foldy—Getty Images

Prison company tries to sponsor stadium

In 2013, private prison operator GEO Group agreed to pay $6 million for the naming rights to the football stadium of the Florida Atlantic University Owls. Students and community members protested the decision, and the deal was eventually cancelled. Some called the proposed stadium "Owlcatraz," according to USA Today.

The little blue pill hits the track

Mark Martin was only in his early 40s when erectile disfunction drug Viagra became his primary NASCAR sponsor. Though the car was able to use a blue similar to the drug's famous blue hue, Martin will never eclipse Bob Dole as Viagra's most famous pitchman.

WOODSTOCK 99
Looters carry away bounty from pillaged Ace Hardware trailers parked in the campground area of Woodstock '99, Monday morning, July 26, 1999, in Rome, N.Y. After almost 72 hours of peace and love, Woodstock '99 ended in blazing chaos Sunday night as hundreds of concertgoers turned into vandals, starting fires and looting that began as scattered bonfires toward the end of the Red Hot Chili Peppers festival-closing set. (AP Photo/Steve Chernin)Steve Chernin—Associated Press

Woodstock sells out

The original Woodstock Festival in 1969 was dedicated to free love, peace, and rock and roll. The 1999 edition was dedicated to vandalism, expensive bottled water, and Limp Bizkit. Emblematic of this was the fact that Woodstock '99 was awash in corporate sponsors, including Ace Hardware. It's hard to believe the hippies of 1969 would have been alright with that. The Ace Hardware trailers ended up being looted in the chaos of the concert.

Is KFC a health food?

The Susan G. Komen foundation has dedicated a tremendous amount of money to helping with breast cancer research. They seem less concerned with overall health, though, as the famous'y pink-toned charity has teamed up with the notably less-than-nutritious Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Max Whittaker/Prime For The Washington Post—Getty

Monsanto and the FFA

When you think Future Farmers of America, you probably think of fields of corn, small family dairy farms, and corn fed young people sidling up to a John Deere tractor--eager to continue America's agricultural tradition. When you think of Monsanto, you probably think of … different things. Still, the chemical and agricultural giant sponsors scholarships with the FFA.

Photo: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg—Getty Images

Yes, there is an official Olympics condom

Everything at the Olympics is sponsored. The timeouts. The food. The uniforms. The sex? That's right, the Olympics has an official condom provider. For the 2012 London Games, Durex provided 150,000 condoms for the athletes' village. No word on if they were available at the McDonald's conveniently located inside the village.

Photo: Jonathan Ferrey—Getty Images

Wearing your religion on the hood of your car

Getting back to the world of NASCAR, we go from the raunchy to the pious. In advance of the 2004 release of The Passion of the Christ, driver Bobby Labonte advertised the Mel Gibson epic on his car.

Courtesy: Richmond Marathon/Facebook

McDonald's and running mix, apparently

McDonald's is a lot of things to a lot of people. It is doubtful it's "good running food" to anyone, though. Still, the fast food giant used to be the sponsor for the Richmond Half Marathon, in Richmond, Va. If anyone actually ate a Quarter Pounder before running the 13.2 miles, they'd truly be a hero.

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