students seeking sponsors for college education
September 4, 2000 at 14:33:39
N.J. (AP) -- Two Haddonfield teens are willing
to sell their bodies for a college education.
and Chris Barrett are offering to be walking billboards
for companies that will sponsor them and contribute
toward their tuition, room and board.
say that as "spokesguys" they'll put corporate
logos on their clothes, wear a company's sunglasses,
use their golf clubs, eat their pizza, drink their
soda, listen to their music or drive their cars.
we go, you go!" they pledge on their Web site
in a pitch to potential advertisers. "Sponsor
us. We will eat your cereal even if we're not hungry."
Pepsi were to sponsor us," Luke said in an
interview last week. "We'll get everyone drinking
Pepsi, or at least watching us drink Pepsi. We'll
have Pepsi parties."
willing to promote any products that are geared
toward college students, except alcohol and tobacco.
they would be the first corporate college "spokesguys"
in the nation. The pair, who will be seniors this
year at Haddonfield Memorial High School, came up
with the idea while touring potential colleges,
and realizing how expensive they are. The University
of California at San Diego is the first choice for
the friends, who would like to go to the same school.
Tuition, room and board there for out-of-state students
costs $22,000 a year.
in Haddonfield and Chris lives in nearby Cherry
Hill -- both pricey Philadelphia suburbs. They acknowledge
that they're not poor.
isn't a handout," said Chris, 18. "We
could go out and get a student loan or scholarship,
but we wanted to try something new and innovative.
We'll be able to work for (the) company while we're
working on our degrees," he said. The University
of California at San Diego offers several corporate
scholarships, said spokeswoman Pat JaCoby. "They
don't have to go out and find their own corporation."
and Luke's Web site offers a "tour" showing
the various ways the two could advertise for a company
while at college. It begins with pictures of them
visiting "Extremely Expensive U."
is seen boarding a plane with the headline, "We
will fly on your planes. We are always going somewhere."
Later they're seen heading out surfing, with the
words "Your Logo Here" superimposed on
a surfboard. Another photo shows them in a shiny,
blue sports car with the promise that "Your
ad will have prime placement."
17, has agreed to get a tattoo with a company's
logo, but Chris isn't willing to go that far. Carol
Kaufman-Scarborough, an associate professor of marketing
at Rutgers University-Camden, said their idea is
"wonderfully creative," but not without
I'm Domino's Pizza and I sponsor them, then Weight
Watchers come in," she said. "Oftentimes
when companies use someone as a corporate spokesperson,
they're very careful that they represent a certain
kind of image."
and Luke said so far, eight companies have expressed
an interest. Most are "dot-com" companies
from California. "Once we get enough offers
we'll see what company it would be easiest to advertise
for, first of all," said Luke. "Then we'll
see the offers and money they want to put out."
have to put our cards on the table and see what
we can do for the companies," said Chris.
said companies that want to sponsor the students
would need to draw up very careful agreements with
them. "They could get a lot of publicity, which
would be advantageous for the company, but the downside
would be control possibilities," she said.
"Has everything really been thought through?"
"If I were the student, would I be willing
to conform my life to whatever the corporate wishes
of the company would be? Maybe they wouldn't want
me to be in a frat, or would want me to have a certain
major," she said. "They need to think
about conformance. It's
almost like the corporation would become the parent."
everyone is looking to have their education financed.
It's wonderfully creative," said Kaufman-Scarborough.
"If all the issues can be ironed out, there's
a possibility there'd be really good benefits on
and Luke said their parents think the idea is innovative.
"But also we'll be saving them lots of money,"
said Chris, "so who wouldn't be happy?"
2000 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)