Would AMC’s Mad Men favorite Don Draper pay $300 for a 1-inch by 1-inch space on a graduation cap? Maybe – if he also had an Old Fashioned and a Lucky Strike cigarette handy during the pitch.
Businesses are always looking for ways to reach the masses – whether it is ad space on a billboard, television commercial, Google search or Facebook – if space is available for an ad then it must be used. When the economy declined, consumers came up with new ways for businesses to broadcast their products. For instance, people got tattoos in exchange for discounts at their favorite restaurants. Hungry patrons hoped the business would last longer than the permanent logo inked on their skin, and some restaurants offered discounts and even lifetime freebies for the commitment. Another example is the Billboard Family a few years ago who outfitted their entire family of five in shirts with logos from companies and were paid to wear the clothes for the day.
With these inventive promotional tactics flourishing, it wasn’t long before Alex Benda, a senior at the University of Michigan, came up with the idea to sell ad space on his graduation cap. Benda reported to the Detroit Free Press that the going rate to claim a 1-inch by 1-inch space on his hat was $300. At this price point, Benda figured he could pay off his entire student debt of $30,000 if he sold all 100 available squares. The International Business major also offered a personal thank you note for donations of $10 and shout outs on his YouTube channel among other things for donations of $100. At the time of this writing, Benda had raised $5,366.00!
So, is Benda onto something? Is it possible to pay off student debt by selling ad space? Can this strategy apply beyond a graduation cap – cars, smartphone covers, profile pictures, laptop cases, fingernail polish? You never know until you try! Get creative and don’t forget to keep it legal!