Why A Florida Town Once Changed Its Name To Miracle Whip

Mayonnaise looks similar enough to Miracle Whip that you might not even be able to tell them apart — at least not by sight. Flavor, now that's another story. Whereas both are essentially just emulsions of eggs, oil, and a tangy acid (e.g. lemon juice), Miracle Whip cannot be labeled as "mayonnaise" in the U.S. because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's labeling laws require oil to comprise at least 65% of mayonnaise. Furthermore, Miracle Whip contains a presumably proprietary blend of garlic, paprika, mustard, high fructose corn syrup, and other ingredients, per H-E-B. In other words, Miracle Whip is not mayo. 

That being said, there was a time when Mayo was Miracle Whip. No, that's not a typo. We meant to capitalize the "M" in Mayo, because we're talking not about the crucial ingredient in a BLT, but rather the "one-red-light" town of Mayo, population circa 1,200. Mayo is the county seat of Florida's Lafayette County, per Natural North Florida, which promises that "Mayo is the kind of place where, if you stay for a few days, your stress level will drop and may just disappear altogether. Never mind the fact that there were a few days back in 2018 when Mayo and Miracle Whip became hopelessly conflated, according to USA Today

Well, maybe not hopelessly; it was, after all the mayor of Mayo's choice to change the town's name to Miracle Whip. 

A salad dressing by any other name would not produce $25,000 in funding

In June 2018, the folks at Kraft, the parent company of the Miracle Whip brand, contacted Mayor Ann Murphy of Mayo, Florida, to propose the town's name be changed to Miracle Whip in exchange for "up to $25,000 in city beautification funds," according to USA Today. The deal was that it would only be temporary — you know, a publicity stunt, but the deal was also that Mayor Murphy was to keep the part about it being temporary, to herself, so that Kraft could videotape the reactions of the townspeople when the seemingly permanent name change was announced. Presumably, the marketing execs figured that the townspeople would be thrilled with the attention and cheer for the name change by chanting such inadvertently strategic sound bytes as "Miracle Whip forever" and "No more Mayo."

In fact, "No More Mayo" is the name of the documentary that Kraft/Miracle Whip produced about the proceedings. On a bright summer's day in August 2018, the townspeople gathered for what promised to be a special announcement from Mayor Murphy. Despite needing no introduction, a Kraft executive stepped in to do the honor, during which he bad-mouthed mayonnaise, calling it "plain" and "boring." And with that, the Mayor took the podium to declare "I hereby declare the town of Mayo will henceforth and permanently be named as Miracle Whip: a fair and honest representation of who we are — exciting, complex, and decidedly not mayo."

What happened next was a Mayo miracle

In August 2018, Miracle Whip and Mayor Murphy pranked the townspeople of Mayo, Florida into thinking their municipality would henceforth be known as Miracle Whip, per YouTube, going so far as to change the name on the municipal water tower, as shown above. As Kraft/Miracle Whip had hoped, the townspeople fell for it. And they didn't like it even one little bit. At least not at first. "This should have been put on the ballot," one is heard saying in the documentary. "We should have had  a say in this." 

But soon a miracle whipped into shape. And by that, we mean that Twitter, which had been tipped off by "someone" (can't imagine who that might be, cough cough, Kraft) about the prank slash stroke of marketing genius, promptly churned out a billion hits for the hashtag, "NoMoreMayo." Lo and behold, the townspeople were suddenly all, "I love living in Miracle Whip, Florida!" and "Changing it to Miracle Whip has probably been the most exciting thing that will ever happen here!" Well, not all the townspeople. 

Coming in with a strong dissent even after the ruse had been revealed, the proprietors of "MAYO [emphasis added] Hardware" made their objection known. Like the overall prank, however, perhaps that too was tongue-in-cheek. If you're ever passing through, perhaps you can inquire with them. But don't look for the town of Miracle Whip on the map. It's long since gone back to Mayo.