This is a powerful lesson about choosing one’s words wisely–specifically when it comes to handmade signs at NCAA football games. Signs only hold so much space, of course, and the challenge is to make every word count. Over the weekend, one enterprising student pared his message down to a simple plea, resulting in perhaps the most profitable college football game sign ever.
Much like the ongoing flood of tourists brandishing signs outside of The Today Show, hoping they’re seen by loved ones at home, sports fans are known to bring signs to nationally televised games. Among the many propped up like corn stalks in a field, one sign in particular stood out among ESPN College Game Day’s broadcast. The sign belonged to one Sam Crowder, who had inscribed the message: “Hi Mom! Send beer money,” which is the very essence of College Sign 101. However, Crowder took this standard-issue theme to the next level by drawing the Venmo logo along with his Venmo ID, making it super easy for his mother–or anyone, hypothetically–to send him that beer money. The call to arms did not go unnoticed.
Many a beer- and nacho-addled football fan saw the sign and appreciated its ingenuity. Of equal importance, though, the company itself saw the sign and promoted it on social media. Not only did Venmo personally send Sam $50, the company tracked and announced how many other people were doing the same, helping to keep the contributions coming. As of this morning, over 3,000 people have sent Sam beer money, rather than not doing that. Basically, they were paying him to congratulate him on having a clever idea and also just to be a part of it. Not since the potato salad Kickstarter incident have there been so many ironic charitable donations. Expect a wave of imitators immediately.