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?

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