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.
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
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
first their pitch would appear to be a joke.
Talk to them in person though, and you realize
they are serious. And capable.
Times focuses this week's ambush interview on
Chris, Luke and their bid to be fully sponsored
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?
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.
Any thoughts of expanding this into a business
connecting college students with willing corporations?
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.
Any serious takers yet?
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
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.
But there really is no way for the companies
to quantify their results, is there?
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.
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.
Not to mention the women...
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.
How has the media coverage been?
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.
Any concern this is being perceived as a joke?
This isn't a free ride.
We want to work for the companies.
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.
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?
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.
You have to admit, though, that your website
is lighthearted. It comes across as serious,
but with a joking undertone.
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
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.
Any concern that others will duplicate this
and steal your thunder?
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.