|Coke, Office Depot and the U.S. Army... how could I ever drive cars without you?|
Lots of folks who write various personal climbing blogs put small logos and ads on the side of their blog, as a way to publicize the companies that give them gear. That might make sense for Chris Sharma and Sterling (AKA the 'Right Rope for Chris!) because Sharma's well-enough known to the new climbers of the world that some of those climbers really might think he sends 5.15 only because his new 9.4 is a Sterling, and not a Mammut or Beal or whatever. However, for lesser known climbers, and less climbing-relating products, the efficacy of such ads is far more questionable.
Does it really make sense to buy sunglasses from Julbo, or Native, because someone with an online climbing blog, even a fairly decent boulderer, gets these sunglasses free and wears them? Does the average climber know the first thing about sunglasses, lenses, UV light, or anything else that would legitimize their endorsement of a given brand of shades? I don't think so. If you collect sponsorships like action figures, then you've obviously got to fit some company into the "eyewear" logo slot on your blog, but I don't think it makes sense for the companies' return on investment. My assumption is that wholesale on sunglasses must be incredibly cheap, otherwise these companies wouldn't keep giving them out without much in return. And if you're advertising for sunglasses on your climbing blog because you really think that it is going to bring customers to that company, I'd hope you are mistaken as well.
But in homage to these less-than-ideal sponsorship situations, I was inspired to compose a summary of 3 sponsorships that are important to me:
|The free Wendy's burger boasts an enviable amount of food value.|
- Wendy's - On the back of every single Wendy's receipt is a form in which one can phone into the 1-800 number, take a short automated survey, and get a 5-digit alpha-numeric code for a free $3.50 burger. It's easy to collect a handful of receipts upon visiting a single Wendy's, these places are ubiquitous, most of the time when I ask they let me get other menu items that total less than $3.50, and the creative among us may realize that there is no way for the Wendy's employee to validate that one's code wasn't made up 30 seconds earlier in the parking lot.
- Chase Bank - Chase is always offering all kinds of great things like $150 for opening a no-fees account, and 25,000 miles (AKA free round trip ticket) for starting a new checking account. With no closing fees, it's pretty darn easy to take a free climbing trip once a year by repeating this simple process each 12 months. "...thanks to Chase bank for supporting this expedition."
- US Mint - There are many credit cards that offer a certain small percentage back, in cash, on all purchases. These usually don't amount to very much, especially for the thrifty low spenders. However, the US Mint sells money! You can buy dollar coins, for $1 each, in boxes of $250. Buy a few of these, take them to the bank on your way to go climbing, and you've just made $50 or $60 bucks for a day on the rock, just by swinging into the bank and paying back your credit card purchase -- with the very thing you purchased! Let's see Native Eyewear try to match that.