Felix Baumgartner’s awesome space jump this weekend, sponsored by Red Bull, reminded me once again of how freaking cool humans are, but also how much I love Red Bull. It’s my go-to for all-nighters, whether writing a paper or going to a midnight premiere. A few years ago when I was completing my graduate degree, I was egotistical enough to ask if the company would “sponsor” me in my final exams, since I had been a loyal customer for so many years previously. And they responded!
The following is a re-posting of my write-up at the time, complete with updates, originally posted on my facebook. (My name has been redacted to protect my superhero identity). It’s not nearly as epic as Baumgartner’s feat, but it was still a very, very cool Red Bull moment in my own life :
Several weeks ago, I decided to solicit finals-week sponsorship from both Snickers and Red Bull. Those two products have been my secret formula for success throughout my entire academic career. Once, when I had back-to-back finals, I even buried a can of Red Bull in the snow on campus between my two buildings so that I could re-energize with a chilled energy drink after the first exam. My idea to ask the companies I’ve been supporting if they would support me back with a few freebies during my last finals week ever was partially inspired by a friend who used to have a blog based on a similar theme, and it was also a great way to procrastinate writing my real papers.
So I composed my requests, copied and pasted them into “contact us!” boxes for each company, and got back to work on my actual studies. Here’s what I sent to Red Bull, choosing “Event Sponsorship” from the drop-down subject menu:
Dear Red Bull,
Ever since I was a freshman in college, facing my first finals week, I have turned to you in times of academic stress. You have helped me stay up late writing papers, reading assignments, and studying for exams. You have helped give me energy to make it through a full day of classes when I had stayed up the night before. You have helped me to focus on exams and refresh my concentration when I had two exams back-to-back. As I transitioned into graduate school, I relied on you to help me stay up grading assignments, writing even longer papers, and studying for even bigger exams. You have been a staple of my semesters, especially during finals weeks.
I am about to complete my Masters degree this May, after eight years of Red Bull-fueled finals. You are a proud sponsor of many athletes and athletic events, but for some of us education is our sport, reading and studying are the ways we train, and writing papers and acing exams are the arena in which we dominate. I would be truly honored, therefore, if you would choose to consider yourself an official sponsor of my last finals week, by sending me a coupon for a free four-pack of Red Bull. It would truly give me wings.
Lo and behold, I received an answering e-mail, from a real person, in a matter of days! This is what it said:
Thanks for the great compliment! Now I might need more wiiings to keep my big(ger) head soaring =)
We want to show our appreciation to you for being such a big fan! Allow us to reciprocate your kindness and loyalty to the Bulls and Sun!
Just hit me back with your address, and I’ll see if I can put together a little study booster to send your way..
I replied with my address and included information about my University and degree, since I had neglected to include it in my original letter. Today I came home to a package containing a handwritten note and six free Red Bulls. So, I’m going to consider my attempt to pass my MA comps in May as officially supported by Red Bull.
My excitement at having actually received a positive response from Red Bull far outweighs my slight disappointment so far with Snickers, who responded about a week after I had already heard back from Red Bull and simply said,
All sponsorship proposals are handled by our sports agency, Velocity Sports and Entertainment. Please direct your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be happy to assist you.
When I submitted my request to the directed address, I received this automated reply:
Thank you for your interest in partnering with Mars. We have received your proposal for review. Due to the large quantity of requests, it may take 1-2 months for you to receive a response. Thank you for your patience.
Mars Sponsorship Team
So it doesn’t seem likely that I’ll hear from them again before my exam. Morals of the story: Red Bull runs a much more effective customer service department, and if you want Snickers to sponsor your finals you should maybe ask them a semester beforehand.
*update* just got an official “no” from Snickers:
We appreciate your interest in Mars Chocolate NA as a potential sponsor. While we are certain that your opportunity will be a success, we are unable to participate as a sponsor at this time.
Mars Chocolate NA is an active participant in activities that impact our consumer targets throughout the United States. We value the chance to review sponsorships that can help us reach this goal. Please keep us apprised of any new sponsorship opportunities you may have throughout the year that will help us grow our business, and we will be happy to evaluate them as part of our overall sponsorship portfolio.
Again, thank you for your interest in Mars Chocolate NA, and we wish you the best in your endeavor.
Sincerely, Mars Chocolate Sponsorship Team
Boo, Snickers/Mars! Yeah, Red Bull!
****UPDATE***** I took my exam and passed, with the help of the free Red Bull. And everyone lived happily ever after, The End!