BrandEra.com Interview
 Ambush Interview
College Pitchmen.
Chris And Luke Want You To Sponsor Their Formidable Years
By: BrandEra Times Staff

Chris Barrett and Luke McCabe's idea is so bizarre, so wild, so absurd -- so ingenious -- that it just may work. The two Haddonfield, New Jersey-based teens are touring the country seeking corporate sponsorship. Employ them as your pitchmen through their college years, pay for their tuition, and they will eat your food, drive your cars and read your magazines.

"This is not a handout," Chris, 18, says. "We will work for any company promoting their products at a grass roots level and obtain national publicity for our sponsor." Adds Luke, 17, "We have developed a business plan to show the benefits to any potential sponsors." And while their website hub -- named chrisandluke.com -- is equal parts business pitch and joke, they are quite serious about their bid to become the first fully corporate sponsored university students.

Their backgrounds make them suited for the role. A prodigious duo, Barrett has won DECA awards in marketing and advertising at both local and state levels, is the youngest patent holder in the United States and is the author of a manual on getting into concerts for free. Not to be outdone, McCabe fronts a popular local band, Big Fat Huge, and fulfills the social action requirements of the twosome -- running the Anti-Racism Association (ARA) for South Jersey.

At first their pitch would appear to be a joke. Talk to them in person though, and you realize they are serious. And capable.

BrandEra Times focuses this week's ambush interview on Chris, Luke and their bid to be fully sponsored university students.

BrandEra Times (BT): Your idea is as absurd as it is amazing. Personally, I hope it works. When was the exact moment that you guys decided to seek corporate sponsors for your college education?

Luke McCabe (Luke): We were sitting around thinking about all the sports stars and actors and how they get corporate sponsored to do what they do best -- which is act, play sports and look good in front of the camera. I thought, why can't normal people get sponsored to do what they do best? It grew from there. As we visited college and saw the rising price of tuition, we thought this would be the perfect way to start a business and help us pay for college.

BT: Any thoughts of expanding this into a business connecting college students with willing corporations?

Chris Barrett (Chris): Right now it's just us. In the future, who knows. We want to be spokesguys; when a company comes to us we want to start a grassroots marketing campaign for them. We'll hit any company's target market. We'll eat their food, wear their clothes, drive their cars. If they want to go further than that ... if they want us to travel up and down the coast, we'll do it. We'll go to their grand openings. We want to help the companies as far as they help us.

BT: Any serious takers yet?

Chris: Right now we have seven companies interested. We have to look at this and ask ourselves, do we want this to be an exclusive deal or do we go after several companies and hit them with smaller deals?

Luke: We don't want to hit more than ten or twelve companies because that takes away from the sponsorship exclusivity. We want to deliver good results back to the company.

BT: But there really is no way for the companies to quantify their results, is there?

Chris: We've worked with a business consultant and made a business plan, we've figured out the levels of sponsorship. The minimum fee is $15,000 and for that, we'll wear your logos on our shirts and caps. If we go on television and your name is on our clothes, that's good exposure. There is also a level of advertising where you can get full exclusive sponsorship.

Luke: We've gotten the most interest from dotcom companies in California. We want to go to college in California because that's where the innovative ideas are.

BT: Not to mention the women...

Luke: That too. But we'd like to get to a company out there. If we impress them, maybe we'll have a future working for them.

BT: How has the media coverage been?

Chris: Right now we're doing a lot of interviews. The morning shows are fighting for us. We are going to get coverage for the company that steps forward and sponsors us. This could trigger a whole new way of paying for college -- students won't have to go out and get a loan. We could start a fund for students with companies across the country sponsoring kids.

BT: Any concern this is being perceived as a joke?

Luke: This isn't a free ride.

Chris: We want to work for the companies.

Luke: We'll be working harder for our money. Most students get a part-time job. We're going to be working constantly for our sponsors. We will have a very heavy schedule to balance.

BT: How about staying out of the scandal rags? Are you conscious of the fact that your corporate sponsors won't want you on the front page of a newspaper drunk at a kegger or smoking pot?

Luke: We're wholesome guys. We don't go out and smoke and drink. We're good all round students. We'll get girlfriends and just hang out with them.

BT: You have to admit, though, that your website is lighthearted. It comes across as serious, but with a joking undertone.

Luke: We're very personable people. This all started as a joking comment about why shouldn't we get sponsored. Then we sort of weaved the advertising thing into it and it become very much not a joke.

Chris: We have a marketing background. Luke has brought his band up from nothing to becoming very popular along the coast. I wrote a manual on how to get into concerts for free that is available for purchase on the Internet.

BT: Any concern that others will duplicate this and steal your thunder?

Chris: We have it under control. Others won't have the skill to sit down with a company and come up with a marketing strategy plan. We have the marketing background to carry through on our promise for our corporate sponsors.