Auburn's Director of Marketing, Rachael Doyle, tweeted this morning that Kentucky is planning on building a new Academic Center partially through the sale of special Maker's Mark Bourbon bottles.
This is a brilliant idea to raise money. Not all of Maker's Mark's $2 million pledge will be through these sales, and it's not clear just how much of a percentage of each sale will go towards that pledge, but it's still money that otherwise wouldn't be flowing in to help build a new academic building.
Think about it, you're talking about a luxury item that plenty of people buy on a regular basis, anyway. Now it's an opportunity for fans of Kentucky to buy a commemorative bottle of bourbon and have some of the money go as a contribution towards the school. Something I'll have to ask my CPA brother is if they could then claim this is a donation and therefore able to be claimed on income taxes.... Hmmm, I'm liking this even more.
So, that got me thinking. What other products could be used by schools around the SEC to help raise money in a similar fashion? Let's take a look, shall we?
Some things are just too obvious. You're going to go with Golden Flake chips on this one. Maybe sell a set of different bags that will have pictures of Bear Bryant, Nick Saban, or Wallace Wade on the front.
So there's really not anything in particular I can point to that is made in Arkansas. The closest I could get that would allow for national distribution is Mountain Valley Spring Water. That's no fun, though. Arkansas does have corporate giant Wal-Mart, though. And Wal-Mart has tons of its own products. Who hasn't had a Sam's Cola at one point? They could have SEC-themed cans for all of the college towns in the southeast, but a special deal with the local Hawgs. Or just ask Jerry Jones for some money. Who needs this type of thing when you've got him around, right?
Blue Bell Ice Cream. Sure, it's based in Texas. But the facility in Sylacauga isn't too far away. Have a lemon or lemonade flavor called "Toomer's Lemonade." Shoot, maybe even work with Toomer's Drugs to make it. We'll even have fun with the Cow College part, given the cow images on their packaging.
Again, this is obvious. Just go with Gatorade. It's right there. Though if they wanted to go the subversive marketing route of making money off another SEC school's fans (more in just a moment on that), they could just partner with Jacksonville based Margaritaville Brewing Company and make Ole Miss fans pay them money.
The obvious choice here is Coke, but I'm going to go with the alcohol side of things like Kentucky did and say partner with something like Sweetwater or Terrapin (since it's an Athens based beer, anyway). You know those Athens hipsters would rather go with a craft beer over a corporate giant, anyway.
Abita Brewing is the choice if we're going to stay with alcohol, but I say you own that dumb joke, LSU. Go with a corn dog manufacturer. But if you're clever, there won't be any commemorative packaging. No, just go with whatever is the biggest distributor among the other SEC locations and then during football season just let your rivals fund it for you! You know SEC schools playing LSU like to buy up corn dogs before hand to have at their tailgates as a joke. I'm thinking strategically here, LSU. Work with me.
Don't lie. You'd tear into that in a heart beat. You're kinda hungry, already.
Meth is out of the question, right? Ok, let's go with something legal, then. Anheuser-Busch is headquartered in Missouri, but they don't make anything crafty worth buying a commemorative bottle or can of. So, let's just slap them right in the face and go with something even less likely to create a true commemorative item: Hardee's. Yep, that's right. For every purchase at Hardee's, headquartered in St. Louis, you can get a free Mizzou toy, bobble head, etc, and portions of the special Mizzou meal go back to the University.
Ole Miss fans are known for dressing up for game days in their snazzy bow ties and drinking in the grove. There's really not that many companies headquartered in Mississippi, but of the ones there are I'm going to have to go with Loeb's, a Meridian, MS based department store. They have formal wear rentals, as well, which goes PERFECT for those Ole Miss folks tail-gating in the Grove. Just go and rent your formal Ole-Miss themed attire, and then you don't have to care what happens to it if you get black-out drunk from the (hopefully not Kentucky-themed) bourbon you're drinking!
This one was tough, but in the end I decided to stick with the apparel idea. I had food items for the Alabama schools, and now clothing items for the Mississippi schools. For MSU we're going Mossy Oak. Yes, that's right, the camo company Mossy Oak is based in West Point, MS. Zaxby's has their Chickenflage made of many different images of chicken overlaid in a random pattern (Note: still more effective than the Universal Camouflage Pattern of the Army), so Mossy Oak can develop a Bullyflage, right? What MSU fan wouldn't just love a camo shirt made of nothing but tiny images of this guy?
We all know Steve Spurrier would prefer to just have golf courses add on a bit to greens fees, but that may not work for your average South Carolinian. Did you know there was a "Hooters Air" based in SC at one point? Well, there was. There really wasn't a very good South Carolina choice, so I'm going to go with Firefly Distillery, which makes vodka from local muscadine grapes. Or maybe they could just play off one of the Head Ball Coach's loves and go outside the state and make a deal with Coors.
Kentucky went with Maker's Mark, so Tennessee has absolutely no choice except to partner with Jack Daniels. It's the battle of the American whiskeys! And fans of both schools are the ones who lose!
They don't need money. They have every bit of that sweet, sweet, crude money they'll ever need. Just keep selling those Ken Dolls, Aggies.
Pfffft, like Vanderbilt needs help raising money for things at the school. They'll just keep employing all of the rest of us as we attempt to find ways to scrounge and work to give money back to our own schools.