Jason Sadler is the kind of guy who will sell you the shirt off his back.
No, really — that's what he does for a living. He started a business, mid-recession no less, as a professional T-shirt wearer (www.iwearyourshirt.com). Companies pay him to wear a T-shirt with their logo on it, then talk about it on Facebook, Twitter and in YouTube videos. The business was so successful, he turned it into a mini T-shirt wearing empire – he even had his dog wearing T-shirts! — watching his revenue double in each of the first few years.
Well now, he's come up with another unexpected revenue stream — his last name.
Sadler is auctioning off his last name to the highest bidder (www.buymylastname.com). Bidding closes on Dec. 12 at 11:59pm ET. Whoever the highest bidder is at that moment, Sadler will legally change his last name to their name of choice, and carry that name for a whole year.
The idea was actually born out of a tough personal situation — his mom got divorced earlier this year. So, she was changing her name. The light bulb went off for Jason, who's had three last names in his 30 years and hasn't been attached to any of them, that maybe he could take this opportunity to not just change his last name — but sell it!
"I'm always looking for that interesting next marketing idea," Sadler said. "This kind of presented itself … I'm going to sell my name to someone!"
And yes, his mom is OK with it.
"Having a professional T-shirt wearer for a son, she was kind of expecting my next weird thing anyway!" Sadler said.
The first bid was for $11 but by the end of the first day, he had 22 bidders and the end-of-day bid was $15,000. (As of this writing it's over $20,000.) Among those first-day bids were the last names WaterIsLifeDotCom (you apparently can't have a period in a proper name...and will.i.am is a stage name, not a proper name, Black-Eyed Peas fans), LewisHowesDOTcom and TV — yep, his name would've been Jason TV.
A company that recently contracted him to wear their shirt, Wiggity Bang Games, was upset that they'd spent much of their marketing budget for the year, otherwise, they said, they would've jumped at the chance to ask Jason to change his last name to WiggityBangGames.
Can you imagine if he got pulled over by the police for speeding and handing over a license that said Jason WiggityBangGames? Something tells me that one would get tossed due to the court erupting in uncontrollable laughter!
I'll bet he'd also get invited to a lot more parties — Hey, let's invite Jason WiggityBangGames! Man, that guy is fun. Hey, have you met my friend Jason WiggityBangGames?!
So, what's the appeal for bidders?
First , of course, there's the free publicity from everyone (uh, like me) talking about it. But then there's Jason's daily engagement on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. He's got 12,000 "likes" on Facebook and more than 38,000 Twitter followers — and, perhaps most importantly, he spends all day interacting with those followers. Heck, his dog alone has more "friends" than most of us — over 1,500 Twitter followers and over 1,500 "likes" on Facebook. On its first day, www.buymylastname.com had over 30,000 unique visitors!
So, aside from that daily free publicity and changing his name legally in court, license and all, how far is he willing to take this? Will he wear white? Have bridesmaids for his legal "marriage" to a company for a year?
"No, I don't plan on wearing white or buying a ring of any sort. But I will take a picture of me 'making it official' at court!'" Sadler said.
Well, all right. Maybe the company could at least carry him over the threshold of the court!
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