Jewish World Review August 4, 2004 / 1Menachem-Av, 5764

Dean P. Johnson

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Advertising my family | Now that I cannot convince my nine-year-old daughter or eleven-year-old son that generic brands of food and clothing are way cooler than name brands, I find my attentions have quite suddenly turned toward creative financing.

I have never in my life been very interested in finance, markets, or investments. Yield, to me, is something wherein I let the other guy go first, a CD is something I listen to, margins are those things I was always told to write between, and an IRA is the guy who used to play gin rummy with my grandfather. In fact, I don't even have the patience to properly reconcile my checkbook every month. I usually just put a little extra in and then subtract it right out as a buffer and I always round up just so that I know there's always a little extra in there.

So, in thinking outside the box, I've decided to go the way of professional sports and Hollywood: corporate sponsorship and product positioning.

To begin with I'd like to find a large bank or other financial institution to sponsor my entire house in exchange for a big, brightly lit sign on my rooftop. If I get no takers, then I'll open up each wall to any company who shows interest. I'll have a nifty price list so a company can decide whether they want a quarter wall ad, half wall, or a full wall, and there will be time limit terms as well. Let's say Company Q wants a half wall add for three months. Not a problem. For a little more, a company can also sponsor either or both slopes of the roof. This area is a little more expensive because it can be view from either street or sky.

Cars are already susceptible to corporate sponsorship. Most of us have seen a car, usually something new and hip, with logos galore. I want to take it a step further. I'll trade space to my mechanic, gas companies, and manufacturers of tires, child seats, even air fresheners. Heck, I'll even sell space for the air in the tires. "PSI Brought To You By: Your logo here."

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Then there's the food. It can get pretty expensive feeding children. Especially as they get older. If my kids eat half as much as I did as a teenager, I am seriously in for it. Therefore, I will sell the rights to my family's food consumption to the highest bidder. I could put a crafty little sign or flag out in front of my house that says "This Family's Sustenance Brought to Them By Store X." Or, if I cannot find a single grocery store sponsorship, I could solicit individual foodstuffs subsidies for product positioning. Any savvy company will see the future potential in such a plan. Get the kids hooked on Cola X, Ice Cream Y, Chips Z, and they'll have a customer for life.

Two other programs I'll offer are the full child sponsorship and the a la cart sponsorship. With the full child sponsorship, the corporation promises to feed, clothe, educate and buy any cookies, cosmetics, scented candles or magazines the child would sell during a school or sports related fundraiser. In return the sponsoring corporation would be buying all rights to the child up to the age of 18 with an option for annual renewals each subsequent year. Full rights entitle the corporation endorsements by the child of any and all products manufactured, imported, or in anyway related to said sponsoring corporation and/or any of their subsidies limited only to applicable child labor laws.

The a la cart sponsorship would make available to a corporation either any article of clothing or a single year of the child's life. For example, the company that makes Sneaker T might subsidize just footwear while the Coat U Company may sponsor any and all winter outerwear. Or, Chain Store W could purchase the rights to a specific year of the child's life wherein the child would wear, use, eat, listen to, brush with, only items from that store for one full year and agree to any and all use of his or her image as the sponsoring mega-store sees fit.

For those slightly more daring investors, those whose interests lie mainly in the futures market, I'll offer shares of potential grandchildren on speculation.

These are but only some of the options available for the corporate sponsorship of my family. Other programs are limited only to the imagination of investors and the ethical tolerance of our society on any given day.

JWR contributor Dean P. Johnson's columns appear in Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Hartford Courant, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, San Francisco Examiner, Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger, Atlantic City Press, Philadelphia Inquirer among other smaller papers. Comment by clicking here.


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© 2004, Dean P. Johnson