Style Invitational Week 1267: Jingle bungle
Why stop at MLK for Ram Trucks? Give us more bad-idea spokesmen. Plus fun with team abbrevs.
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By Pat Myers
February 15, 2018 at 11:24 a.m. EST

(Bob Staake for The Washington Post )

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(Click here to skip down to the winning combinations of team abbreviations)

— Vincent van Gogh sells Bose speakers: “These are great even with only one ear!”

— Joan of Arc sells Zippo lighters. “When you need a steady flame . . .”

— The Donner Party shown on a Snickers commercial: “Too bad they didn’t bring along a few of these!”

Head slapping is illegal in NFL football. But what else can you do when you see the words of a sermon by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — a sermon that goes on to attack the urge to accumulate status symbols, like cars — used in a Super Bowl commercial for Ram Trucks?

Sole food: This week's second prize (feet not included).
Sole food: This week's second prize (feet not included). (Mark Holt)
The idea quickly got the Loser Community digging into its Big Vat of Terrible Ideas. In the Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook, Duncan Stevens offered the ad slogans and “endorsers” above. This week: Suggest an ill-advised spokesman (dead or alive, or fictional), along with a humorously noooo slogan or jingle. (We’ve done this contest a couple of times over the years, but without asking for slogans; some people sent them anyway, like this from Russ Taylor in 2008: “Johnnie Cochran for Trojans: “If the glove won’t fit, you can’t emit.”)

Submit entries at the website (all lowercase).

Winner gets the Lose Cannon, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a pair of thin, stretchy socks that aim to make your feet look like two beefsteaks. Modeled here (for just a few seconds) by the Empress.

Other runners-up win our “You Gotta Play to Lose” Loser Mug or our Grossery Bag, “I Got a B in Punmanship.” Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, “We’ve Seen Better” or “IDiot Card.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). Deadline is Monday night, Feb. 26; results published March 18 (online March 15). See general contest rules and guidelines at The headline for this week’s results is by Jesse Frankovich; Jesse also wrote the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at

The Style Conversational The Empress's weekly online column — published late Thursday afternoon — discusses the new contest and results. Especially if you plan to enter, check it out at This week the E will share the results of the earlier bad-endorser contests.

And from The Style Invitational four weeks ago . . .


In Week 1263 we supplied lists of the abbreviations used on scoreboards for Olympic and college teams, and asked you to say what would happen if any two (sometimes more) were matched up. The most common combination: The BARbados-BERmuda match was a close shave, won by a whisker, a hairy competition, lots of clipping calls, point shaving, etc. etc. etc.

4th place:
If Utah State University (USU) played the University of Rhode Island (URI), there would be guaranteed high interest. (Ira Allen, Bethesda, Md.)

3rd place:
The players drowned out the crowd when Burkina Faso (BUR) took on Papua New Guinea (PNG) in competitive beer drinking. (Mary McNamara, Washington)

2nd place and the electric Yodeling Pen:
When Turkey (TUR) and Villanova (NOVA) play, there are plenty of fumbles and interceptions. (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)

And the winner of the Lose Cannon:
If Grambling State (GRAM) was to play Morocco (MAR) . . . Wait — is that "was" or "were"? (Meg Winters, Alexandria, Va., a First Offender)

Division II: Honorable mentions
Not just athletics
Haiti (HAI) v. Kansas (KU)
It is poetry
(Gary Crockett, Chevy Chase, Md.)

If Ghana (GHA) played Argentina (ARG), fans on both sides would be extremely frustrated with the referees’ calls. (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)

If Robert Mueller oversaw a game between Wichita State (WICH) and the University of North Texas (UNT), some would call it the single greatest one in history. (Jesse Frankovich, Grand Ledge, Mich.)

When the Democratic Republic of Congo (COD) plays Germany (GER), they mostly just complain about their injuries and how much better the game used to be. (Gary Crockett)

You can always expect to see Harvey Weinstein at a Sierra Leone (SLE)-Azerbaijan (AZE) match. (Warren Tanabe, Annapolis, Md.)

Everyone remembers when Alabama (ALA) played Miami-Ohio (M-OH). (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)

If Netherlands Antilles (AHO) played Latvia (LAT), it would be the highest-scoring game in Olympic history. (Danielle Nowlin)

If Armenia (ARM) played Pittsburgh (PITT) in football, each team would rely heavily on its right guard. (Jesse Frankovich)

If Barbados (BAR) played Estonia (EST) in a pickup game of basketball, it would be skins vs. skins. (Jesse Frankovich)

When Louisville (LOU) plays Syracuse (SYR), both teams finish second. (Mark Raffman)

If Burkina Faso (BUR) played Germany (GER), the game would be played with relish. (Mark Calandra, Sudbury, Mass.)

If Central African Republic (CAF) raced Tanzania (TAN), the uniforms would be comfortable, if not exactly designed for speed. (John Hutchins, Silver Spring, Md.)

Indiana (IND) was supposed to play Arkansas (ARK), but no one told them. (Duncan Stevens)

If Estonia (EST) played Russia (RUS), the winner would surely play the Miami Heat. (Kyle Hendrickson, Frederick, Md.)

The game between Peru (PER) and Vietnam (VIE) was canceled because ewwwww! (Jeff Shirley, Richmond, Va.)

If Indiana State (INST) played Antigua and Barbuda (ANT), the game would be decided by a coin toss. (Brian Halbert, Ashburn, Va.)

If Iraq (IRQ) played Somalia (SOM), the spectators would get all annoyed with both teams. (Beverley Sharp, Montgomery, Ala.)

Let’s just hope none of the athletes just ate before the big Barbados (BAR) vs. Finland (FIN) match. (Mike Gips, Bethesda, Md.)

If Team Canada (CAN) played Canisius (CAN) in football, it would be all about the kicking game. (Emmah Lynch, Alexandria, Va., a First Offender)

If Lamar (LAM) played Estonia (EST) in football, it would be like any Browns-Giants game. (Harold Mantle, Walnut Creek, Calif.)

If Morehead State (MORE) played Missouri State (MOST), it would only be a quantifying round. (Liv Johansson, Alexandria, Va.)

If Netherlands Antilles (AHO) played Lesotho (LES), they would both be disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct. (Larry Levine, Rockville, Md.)

Extra lifeguards were hired for the Singapore (SIN)-Kenya (KEN) swim meet. (Pam Sweeney, Burlington, Mass.)

If Slovenia (SLO) faced off against Bahrain (BRN), the game would take forever but you’d be riveted every second. (Noam Izenberg, Columbia, Md.)

If Turkey (TUR) played Bangladesh (BAN) in football, their helmets might not be too useful. (Marleen May, Rockville; Beverley Sharp)

When Puerto Rico (PUR) plays Germany (GER), they’re going to heave everything on the field. (Jeff Hazle, San Antonio)

If Yemen (YEM) plays Oman (OMA), you can be sure everybody will score. (Jeff Hazle)

Whatever the outcome of the Butler (BUT)-Howard (HOW) game, the winners seem puzzled by their victory. (Kathleen Cross, Silver Spring, Md.)

No one is overly concerned about the outcome between Southeast Louisiana (SELA) and Vietnam (VIE). (Jeff Shirley)

Spectators in the stands love to do the wave when Suriname (SUR) plays Finland (FIN). (Hildy Zampella, Falls Church, Va.)

The Latvia (LAT) Estonia (EST) match just ended. (John Hutchins)

Today’s match between the Cayman Islands (CAY) and Bulgaria (BUL) has been rescheduled for next Thursday between 8 and 4:30. (Jon Gearhart, Des Moines)

Two teams from Papua New Guinea (PNG) would be more likely to face off in table tennis. (Daniel Hall, Toronto, a First Offender)

When Indonesia’s track team (INA) competed against Belarus (BLR) the crowd blinked and missed it. (Mary McNamara)

When they compete, the teams from Barbados (BAR) and Estonia (EST) dress like ancient Olympic athletes. (Kevin Dopart, Washington)

If Haiti (HAI) played Honduras (HON), the players would constantly be waving to the cameras. (Danielle Nowlin)

If Bermuda (BER) played a intrasquad scrimmage, the field would be highly durable, stain-resistant, and generally more affordable than thicker, plush fields. (Jesse Frankovich)

When Venezuela (VEN) and Eritrea (ERI) play mixed doubles, they just can’t keep their hands off each other. (Mark Raffman)

Memphis (MEM) would play Mauritius (MRI) all alone in the moonlight. (Duncan Stevens)

When Finland (FIN) plays Germany (GER), the loser always “salutes” the winner. (Gary Crockett)

A swim meet between Hungary (HUN) and Guyana (GUY) would leave little to the imagination. (Seth Tucker, Washington)

If the University of Richmond (RICH), Tanzania (TAN), Belize (BIZ), Manhattan College (MAN), Turkey (TUR), the Netherlands (NED) and Poland (POL) played each other in turns, it would be, like, the roundest robin ever. (Jesse Frankovich)
Still running: two simultaneous contests; deadline for both is Monday night, Feb. 19: song parodies about education (; and new words found in ScrabbleGrams “racks” (