In an effort to reduce the taxpayer cost of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, American beverage company Coca-Cola and six other large corporations have been named official sponsors of the event.
In a statement released to the press this morning, Maria Miller – the British Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport – explained that each sponsor will pay £1.4 million for the exclusive rights to advertise their products during the procession.
Samsung, Vodafone, Toyota, HSBC, Aeroflot and Tesco will join Coca-Cola in backing the affair, expected to take place April 17.
Although the privatization of the funeral of one of the United Kingdom’s greatest peacetime leaders may seem distasteful to some, people close to the situation say it was all Baroness Thatcher’s idea
“Maggie didn’t want a dime of public money spent on her funeral,” says Geoffrey Howe, a longtime colleague. “She looked at how the London 2012 Olympics were paid for mostly through sponsorship, and decided that’s the way she wanted it to be for her.
“Most of her friends and family tried to talk her out of it, but this was what she wanted. She was stubborn and principled to the end.”
The sponsorship contracts include television advertising, outdoor billboards along the procession route, and the right to produce official Margaret Thatcher merchandise for one year.
Coca-Cola says it will be rolling out a special Iron Lady version of its Diet Coke brand, designed for “the powerful working woman on the go.” Diet Coke Iron will be sold in a Union Jack adorned can and will come in two flavors: Shepherd’s Pie and blackcurrant.
Samsung for its part will be teaming up with Vodaphone to offer a special version of its Galaxy S4 smartphone covered in hard, polyurethane red plastic – reminiscent of the “red telephone” hotlines of the Cold War.
Toyota will make a special version of its Lexus LS 600h L that automatically scrapes off poor people from the hood, and Aeroflot will introduce a new “carriage class” fare on its Moscow to London flights which allow the poor to ride in the cargo hold.
Tesco will be introducing a new 100% horsemeat frozen Maggie Burger, designed to offer cheap, affordable food to those kicked off the welfare rolls.
HSBC says it plans on simply continuing its very successful policy of screwing over the rest of Britain while making a select few Londoners wealthy.
All this activity suggests that the government may do more than just cover its funeral costs.
“We might just make a profit on this,” one Conservative MP explains. “Just as Baroness Thatcher would want it to be.”