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Silly me. Just about every morning, before I board a train to Grand Central, I shell out $3.79(!!) at Starbucks for a grande skim latte, more commonly known as a honkin' big cup of coffee. Over a month of workdays (there are 22 in August), that works out to $83.38.

I also fork over $141 a month for the privilege of riding by rail into the newly grand, centrally located station. Add that to the coffee outlay for a grand total of $224.38 a month, or $2,692.56 a year.

This is money I pay out. Or used to. Now I've got a plan to eliminate those expenses. I have decided to let Starbucks become the exclusive sponsor of my morning commute -- for the quite reasonable annual fee of $3,000, a sum that covers my daily java jolt and train fare, with a few bucks left over for the occasional raspberry scone.

As a Starbucks media vehicle, I will enter the train each morning holding my coffee cup high, careful not to obscure the ubiquitous, green-wreathed mermaid logo. To maximize exposure, I may even walk through several cars of the train before finding a seat. And after each sip (timed for the boarding of new passengers at subsequent stops), I will exclaim, "That's some good coffee!"

I'm figuring Starbucks will green-light this proposal at the first meeting. The out-of-pocket expense can't be beat; even a page in Joe, a custom magazine Time Inc. should be ashamed to have its name printed on (oops, no offense, Starbucks), will set you back more than $3,000. I'll admit my sponsorship cost-per-thousand (based on 100 daily exposures and 260 annual workdays) is a bit of a premium at $115, but I expect this revolutionary new medium to spark measurable gains in both brand awareness and foot traffic.

I also have a backup plan in case some media buyer for Starbucks insists on evaluating -- and rejecting -- the deal on a CPM basis; I'll split the sponsorship in half and give The New York Times right of first refusal in the media category. Starbucks will remain the exclusive non-media sponsor of the Donaton commute. But now I will alternately sip my latte and flip the pages of the Times, remarking on the paper's penetrating insights and uncanny news judgment to everyone within earshot.

By now you clearly see where I'm going. And you're thinking to yourself, "What a ridiculous concept. I mean, I read the Tom Peters cover piece in Fast Company on 'A Brand Called You,' and I enjoyed Randy Rothenberg's Ad Age essay on 'commercial DNA.' But in reality, no individual will be able to realize their true value as a medium unless their first name happens to be Martha or Oprah."

I agree with you 100%. Or I did until I stumbled across a story in the Philadelphia Inquirer that convinced me (warning: unfair blanket statement ahead) that all advertisers are morons. Well, maybe not all of them, but at least all of those who paid a combined $30,000 to sponsor the wedding of a Philly couple.

Here's the story. A young bartender decides he wants to have a lavish wedding, but doesn't actually want to foot the bill. So he convinces two dozen local businesses to donate products and services, including the rings, flowers, food, cake, limo service -- even the bride's veil and perfume. In exchange, the "sponsors" are listed in an insert sent with the invitations, on scrolls at the dinner table, in an ad in the local paper, in thank-you cards. The groom even stands up and thanks the sponsors at the reception.

And they say romance is dead.

Forget for a minute just how tacky the idea is and concentrate on the fact that 24 idiotic business owners saw value in doing this. The bride's mother thinks the couple actually showed good taste because her daughter's "not wearing a sign on her back." What class.

According to the Inquirer, the groom doesn't think he can start a business based on this model but has registered the Web addresses sponsoredwedding.com and weddingsponsors.com just in case.

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