How much would someone have to pay you to legally change your name to something new?
At the end of 2012, a unique online auction closed for a final bid of $45,500, resulting in iwearyourshirt.com founder Jason Sadler legally becoming “Jason HeadsetDotCom” for the duration of 2013. Headsets.com, an online retailer of telephone headsets, was the lucky high bidder, leaving Sadler with an interesting new moniker.
The story represents more than just another media stunt. Certainly, $45,500 is nothing to scoff at, a modest year’s salary for an enterprising individual willing to shill for someone else’s interests. But back in 2009, when Sadler started wearing a T-shirt bearing the logo of a different business every day, he accomplished something more important than making his own living; he shed light on a powerful new channel for marketers to tap into: people.
iwearyourshirt.com has become something of a small phenomenon online and in the marketing world; the business now employs an entire workforce of shirt-wearing, blogging, social media-using mercenaries. The company is taking Sadler’s distinctive brand of entrepreneurism to an extreme, and driving some real value for its daily clients.
The advocacy of real people is a powerful and valuable commodity. Wearing a t-shirt, or to a greater extent, changing one’s last name is about as strong an endorsement as a brand can find anywhere.
In an interview with AdWeek, Sadler (or HeadsetsDotCom, as it were) put his perspective plainly: “I think I’m willing to push the envelope further than most and willing to see it through. More companies could benefit from doing the same, instead of adding to the noise.”
Despite how inane it may seem on the surface, it is hard to argue against the practicality of changing one’s last name or ‘selling out’ in another way to gain some visibility and make a few bucks in the process. The overall success of Sadler’s services and the buzz that the buymylastname.com concept is currently generating is a rare find in today’s marketing world. So, we ask again, how far would you be willing to go to tap into the power of the people?