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All the World's a GoldenPalace.com

Internet casino GoldenPalace.com is on a roll when it comes to brand awareness.

On Tuesday, it announced it had purchased a sponsorship of a newborn baby for $999. GoldenPalace.com was the winner in an eBay auction to sponsor the tyke's first month of life.

The company will provide branded shirts, hats, bibs, and other baby clothes and merchandise; the parents promised to parade their son all over the Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey.

""I think we are redefining the nature of sponsorship, branding, and advertising in general," GoldenPalace.com CEO Richard Rowe said in a statement.

The couple, whose name was not disclosed, showed less commitment -- and garnered less cash -- than the Silvermans, a New Jersey couple who collected $15,000 for naming their son, born May 19, GoldenPalace.com Silverman.

The online casino, which first made headlines by paying $28,000 for a grilled cheese sandwich that resembled the Virgin Mary, seems willing to take the branding thing to surreal heights. It's also purchased:

  • An Australian man's frying pan bearing the likeness of Jesus Christ in burned leftover lemon mustard cream sauce (AU $102.50).

  • A bag containing an imaginary monster that lived under a little girl's bed ($559.99).

  • A breast implant from a former Playboy cover girl ($16,766).

  • A 1999 VW Golf auto formerly owned by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI ($244,590.83).

  • A pregnancy test used by pop star Britney Spears (undisclosed amount).
  • The baby-crazy casino bought sponsorships on two pregnant women's bellies. Elise Harp, a Roswell, Ga. model, collected $8800 for ad space on her stomach during her eighth month. The GoldenPalace.com logo was applied using henna, a vegetable dye that fades over time.

    "I was initially thinking I'd have to slouch around the mall for a couple months," Harp said. "But all I had to do was walk around at the Daytona 500 for a couple of days."

    The sponsorship went so well for both parties that the casino also paid to sponsor the birth of baby Marian, born March 28, with banners and logos in the delivery room, plus a shower of baby gifts. Now, the casino is planning a "win a date with Elise contest," she said. "Being a single parent, it's hard to meet a good person," Harp said. "They'll screen all the potential dates for me."

    "These sponsorships can only help their image," said Laurel Sutton, principal of Catchword Brand Name Development in Oakland, Calif. "Doing this kind of thing and trying to get as much publicity as they can for it makes them seem more approachable and less cold-hearted."

    Sutton said the irreverent purchases poke fun at the mania for selling naming rights to public places such as sports stadiums.

    The casino's biggest purchase to date could also do the most good. In April, it paid $650,000 for the naming rights to a new species of monkey discovered in Bolivia.

    Robert Wallace, the Wildlife Conservation Society naturalist who discovered the reddish brown monkey, auctioned off the naming to raise money to preserve the Madidi National Park, the GoldenPalace.com monkey's habitat.

    GoldenPalace.com executives could not be reached for comment, but the casino seems to have no plans to slow down the naming. The casino used eBay's Buy It Now feature to pay $12,000 for the rights to name triplets due in August; one of them will be christened GoldenPalace.com.

    A company press release boasted, "At this rate, a significant percent of the country's population could be named GoldenPalace.com by the end of the month."



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