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I wish I had thought of this!
July 19, 2001 12:28 PM   Subscribe

I wish I had thought of this! (NYT link) In a follow-up to a thread from last September, Chris and Luke have successfully found a sponsor (First USA) for their college tuitions. Of course, I would have sought a Trojans sponsorship; imagine the tie-ins! To move away from the "is college necessary/too expensive" debate of last September's thread, does anybody have good self-sponsorship anecdotes or ideas?
posted by msacheson (35 comments total)

 
Oh god. They went to my high school.

Oh god, I probably knew their siblings.

Oh god, look at how perfectly white (well, tan really) and pretty they are. This ploy wouldn't have worked for ugly kids.
posted by dogmatic at 12:33 PM on July 19, 2001


I wish I had thought of this!

Sure, if you don't have a problem with selling out. :P

Education is a valuable thing, but so is preserving oneself from all the branding, advertising, and other nonsense that seems to have gotten entirely out of control recently.

I guess now we know about how much human souls cost..enough for college tuition..
posted by valerie at 12:37 PM on July 19, 2001


Their souls? They sold space on t-shirts - think about how many logo'd products you own - how many people walk around every day giving the Gap, Old Navy, and Ralph Lauren free advertising space on their chests. Why shouldn't it work the other way around, with Ralph paying YOU to advertise him.

More power to them for getting what amounts to the easiest part time job ever, making enough money for school, and not having to bankrupt themselves paying off student loans until they are 35 years old, as many of their classmates will.
posted by kristin at 12:40 PM on July 19, 2001


i'm with you kristin.

$15 for a t-shirt that does your advertising for you? please, sucker. give it to me for free and i might wear it.
posted by o2b at 12:45 PM on July 19, 2001


Yes -- play hockey for the University of North Dakota and your sugar daddy casino owner, Ralph Engelstad Jr., will make sure you stay in school and buy you a car.
posted by nathan_teske at 12:46 PM on July 19, 2001


Selling out, my ass.

Hm. I woulder how much my ass would be worth.
posted by kindall at 12:57 PM on July 19, 2001


This is a GenY vs. GenX issue. consider this selling out...were kinda suspicous of these big companies

these GenY guys are like "sell out? sure, who's buying?"
posted by brucec at 1:06 PM on July 19, 2001


kindall...Depends.
posted by msacheson at 1:07 PM on July 19, 2001


Graduate school, here I come!
posted by starvingartist at 1:14 PM on July 19, 2001


I can't decide if they're whores or geniuses.
posted by Dirjy at 1:20 PM on July 19, 2001


wow, i can't believe my first post to mefi, ever, was on that thread :)
posted by pnevares at 1:21 PM on July 19, 2001


I'm waiting for Phillip Morris to put someone through med school....

But seriously, in a way, this is not that different than the kids who join the ROTC and get college for free. Sure, one is the government and one is a corporation, but you can think of both programs as trying to sell something...and at least First USA won't send you to a foreign land to die...a considerable plus.
posted by thewittyname at 1:22 PM on July 19, 2001


"Selling out?" Please to define. If they enjoy, use, or believe in the product that they are promoting, how can it be considered "selling out?" Fer instance, I'm a hardcore drinker of Papanicholas Italian Espresso coffee. I spend about $80/month on it. If Papanicholas offered me free coffee plus a stipend each month to wear a T-shirt promoting his product...why on earth would I NOT want to?
posted by davidmsc at 1:23 PM on July 19, 2001


Good point, thewittyname. The principle is exactly the same. If the ROTC kids believe in the goals of the organization paying their bills (in this case, the US Army), then there is no moral quandary & no "selling out."

Of course, being in the Air Force myself, I would have steered them towards the blue uniform rather than the green ones.
posted by davidmsc at 1:26 PM on July 19, 2001


Good god, do you know the kind of endorsements a guy my size could get (more room for logos!)? Pizza Hut, McDonalds, are you listening? Your corporate whore awaits.
posted by owillis at 1:33 PM on July 19, 2001


I don't wear logo'd clothing.

on the other hand, if somone paid me to?

actually, no, they'd make me wear a t-shirt or something. I don't think I could compromise my fashion aesthetic in order to wear a (God knows what colored) t-shirt with the name of a business on it.
posted by rebeccablood at 1:41 PM on July 19, 2001


Check out these ideas for selling ad space in/on your car. 1: Dashboard Billboard 2: Vehicle Ad rolling billboard
posted by msacheson at 1:47 PM on July 19, 2001


I think they're genius whores.
I'm interested in how their fellow-students will treat them: will they be celebrities, regular guys, or just product reps on campus? They'll be different things to different people of course, but what will the target demo think?
posted by cardboard at 1:49 PM on July 19, 2001


I don't think I could compromise my fashion aesthetic in order to wear a (God knows what colored) t-shirt with the name of a business on it.

I'm sure that if they thought it would help co-opt your fashion aesthetic to their nefarious purposes, a corporation would be happy to put their logo on any kind of clothes you wanted to wear.

On the other hand, people who can say without irony that they are worried about "compromising their fashion aesthetic" kinda scare me...
posted by kindall at 2:36 PM on July 19, 2001


i feel sorry for them...the signed a "moral clause" right before their first year of college?
posted by th3ph17 at 2:41 PM on July 19, 2001


actually, i lied. I'm jealous....and thinking...perhaps the MeFi scholarship winners should be made to wear MeFi shirts?
posted by th3ph17 at 2:43 PM on July 19, 2001


Yeah, but will they have to identify themselves on exams or papers as First USA Chris Barrett and First USA Luke McCabe? Can the corporation place limits on their behavior? If the college kids advertently or inadvertently support one of their funder's competitors, could their education be in jeopardy?

Sounds like a damn scary deal to me.
posted by mudbug at 2:47 PM on July 19, 2001


Hey, these things work. Ramon letmestayforaday.com is travelling around the world for free, and the guy who runs SendMeADollar.com has been sent over $3000!

Freeloading seems to work on the Web, and even though these guys have to wear ads and give talks on finance stuff, that's a small price to pay for a free college education!

After all, how many students don't work while they're at college? Everyone has to go work at McDonalds or something at some point, unless they have rich parents or can do freelance work. Advertising First USA seems a pretty cushy way of doing it to me.
posted by wackybrit at 3:01 PM on July 19, 2001


hey, i'll wear a mefi shirt every day if matt wants me to. :)
posted by pikachulolita at 3:39 PM on July 19, 2001


kindall: On the other hand, people who can say without irony that they are worried about "compromising their fashion aesthetic" kinda scare me..

absolutely no irony here. clothes are a form of self-expression for me. and for everyone, though I guess most people don't realize that they're aligning themselves with a particular tribe with the clothes they choose. but that's still what they're doing....
posted by rebeccablood at 3:48 PM on July 19, 2001


i can imagine the conversations behind their backs:

"Man, I like their older shirts better... You know, before they sold out."

bah... oh well, mefi shirts would certainly be dope.
posted by lotsofno at 4:30 PM on July 19, 2001


To the extent that what you just said makes any sense to me at all, Rebecca, I perceive it the other way around: you don't wear particular clothes to align yourself with a specific "tribe," but automatically choose the clothes that represent your existing "tribal" alignment.

Personally, though, I just choose the clothes that look best on me, which are suitable for the social roles I must fill (e.g. work clothes may need to be somewhat more formal than weekend clothes), and are not likely to draw more attention to myself than I like. This means I end up looking a lot like other people of my age and tax bracket, but not because I feel some kind of kinship with them. More like, I don't need everybody giving me shit over something as stupid as my clothes, especially to the extent that they pay more attention to how I look than what I can do or who I am.
posted by kindall at 5:16 PM on July 19, 2001


kindall: I perceive it the other way around: you don't wear particular clothes to align yourself with a specific "tribe," but automatically choose the clothes that represent your existing "tribal" alignment.

I agree, it's usually a very unconscious choice for most people. unless they are "dressing for success" or the like.

I end up looking a lot like other people of my age and tax bracket, but not because I feel some kind of kinship with them.

I would argue that it's *where you want to fit in*, for whatever reason.

thing is, there are lots of clothes that look good on someone. what you choose says loads about you. IMO, there are very few people who actually don't care about how they dress. even if they don't want to think about it much, everyone chooses a look.

More like, I don't need everybody giving me shit over something as stupid as my clothes

I'm a trouble-maker. :)

actually, I rarely get shit over my clothes, except for being teased about wearing black (I do get some resistance to my hair); but I often am complimented on how I dress.

I think I've always been able to not conform within acceptable limits in a business setting (usually by pulling my extremes into a very professional, well-put-together look.)
posted by rebeccablood at 5:40 PM on July 19, 2001


I offered to sponsor Chris -- because he's "cheaper" -- but they never responded to my e-mail.
posted by bradlands at 5:48 PM on July 19, 2001


I can see campus now: "ah crap, the firstUSA guys are coming this way. duck and cover. damnit, i don't want no visa card, go away."

"But let us tell you how you can save .5% interest (for the first 6 hours, after which the rate balloons). We're knowledgable, because a bank is paying us to go to college."

"But I have a Capital One card?"

"Dude!!" "Dude!!!" "Dude!!!!"
posted by benjh at 7:01 PM on July 19, 2001


Their souls? They sold space on t-shirts - think about how many logo'd products you own - how many people walk around every day giving the Gap, Old Navy, and Ralph Lauren free advertising space on their chests. Why shouldn't it work the other way around, with Ralph paying YOU to advertise him.

Most people tend to own at least some sort of product with a company logo on it. It's not exactly easy to avoid such things these days.

Personally though, I don't choose to spend my money items from the Gap, Old Navy, Ralph Lauren, and other companies whose products are expensive simply for their brand name. That's fine for people who "prefer" these companies' products, but they're ultimately just paying for a name.


This is a GenY vs. GenX issue. consider this selling out...were kinda suspicous of these big companies

As for the GenX vs GenY debate point, I somewhat agree. The idea of the "older generation" as not being so easily accepting of large companies or institutions makes sense, especially if you consider the growing distrust of the government, etc in the 60s. The reason these companies are doing things like this is so they can make money. There is no interest in the (brainwashed) individual wearing their logos, they're just one of the crowd who is willing enough to play along as a walking billboard and help said company gain more customers and money.

I agree with this mindset, as do several friends of mine. However, if you want to apply such terms, you must consider the inconsistencies involved. First, if we consider the rebellious and distrusting people of the 60s, they are technically not Generation X.

Secondly, though my friends and I agree with the "Generation X" notion you described, we are not technically part of this category, since we were born after the 1965-1975 range (I was born in 1979). According to these rather rigid categorizations, we are actually considered part of "Generation Y" (1976-1981), though I don't necessarily fit in with the notions of my sister and her friends, who were born in 1980 and 1981.

Due to these exceptions, it's best to avoid using such terms, that, though they were not coined by marketers, are most often used by marketers.


I'm waiting for Phillip Morris to put someone through med school....

Actually, after the recent comments on the Czech Republic saving money on health care because of cigarette-induced deaths, wouldn't it be more fitting for Philip Morris to put someone through mortician/undertaker school?


If they enjoy, use, or believe in the product that they are promoting, how can it be considered "selling out?" Fer instance, I'm a hardcore drinker of Papanicholas Italian Espresso coffee. I spend about $80/month on it. If Papanicholas offered me free coffee plus a stipend each month to wear a T-shirt promoting his product...why on earth would I NOT want to?

Helping to promote a company whose products you like is one thing. People often recommend a specific brand or company for certain characteristics they find more appealing than those of other brands.

But from everything I've seen of these two boys and their quest for sponsorship, there didn't seem to be any preference involved. They simply wanted a free ride through college and they didn't care who from. By definition, wouldn't that be considered "whoring?"
posted by valerie at 11:37 PM on July 19, 2001


According to these rather rigid categorizations, we are actually considered part of "Generation Y" (1976-1981), though I don't necessarily fit in with the notions of my sister and her friends, who were born in 1980 and 1981.

hmm.... then most college freshman (and even sophomores) are younger than "generation y" ... so what the hell are they? I was born at the end of 1981, most of my friends, entering their second year of college, were born in 1982.
posted by dagnyscott at 6:42 AM on July 20, 2001


Kurt Vonnegut was the commencement speaker for my graduation ceremony from Syracuse in 1994. The Gen-X term was omnipresent at the time, and his speech seemed to be railing against the labeling of groups of people (a good notion). He said that we should be referred to, not as Generation X, but as Generation A. I didn't really follow him or care. To me, he sounded drunk or at least disinterested, he was slurring so much.
posted by msacheson at 11:35 AM on July 20, 2001


then most college freshman (and even sophomores) are younger than "generation y" ... so what the hell are they?

Generation Z?
posted by wackybrit at 1:08 PM on July 20, 2001


Vonnegut wrote about the "Generation A" idea in an article in Rolling Stone a couple years ago... A like the beginning, or Adam and Eve... the idea is that every generation starts over. It's a neat idea, better than the general stereotypical classification the media makes into a self-fulfilling prophecy.
posted by dagnyscott at 6:23 PM on July 20, 2001


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