In St. Paul, city staffers write most proclamations, but in Minneapolis, the text citizens submit is rarely changed--a policy that makes the proclamations folder a veritable creative-writing showcase. Niland reveals his inner rock critic with clauses like "Whereas Low is Duluth's answer to the Velvet Underground with a little Joy Division and Flying Saucer Attack mixed in." The Farm Animal Reform Movement's proclamation for Great American Meatout Day, signed for March 20 two years running, includes the deadpan clause "Whereas, vegetarianism is 'in' with teens."
So would a reporter with a severe case of sour grapes be wrong in suspecting that the coveted blue folder could become a commercial pawn, an item in a PR firm's year-end list of client accomplishments? Exhibit A: September 28 this year will be Coupon Clip-a-thon Day, thanks to New York-based BSMG Marketing/Communications. Gail Heimann, a principal at BSMG, explains that the request was made on behalf of a client, the Free-Standing Insert Council, "who make the color coupons that fall out of your Sunday newspaper."
"Frankly, there are a lot of coupon advocates," Heimann avers, adding that the proclamation "gives credit to the savviness of the coupon-using shopper." She reassuringly notes that the client plans to frame and display the parchment in a prominent spot at its Detroit headquarters. "There's a delight in being accepted," she explains, "particularly by a big city like Minneapolis. It makes our corporate clients feel good, adds value to what we do in the city, and we're happy to have the tacit support of the local government."