The Human Billboards

In my last post, I mentioned that I had a different stand on the issue of the free stuff being distributed around the campus. So, here goes:

There is no such thing as a free lunch in this world, and similarly, there aren't any free pizza, T-shirts, drinks or anything of that sort in the world. Every time I am going to walk around the campus here wearing a T-short that proclaims "" written across the chest, I am transforming myself into a billboard for the company. So while I walk around in a T-shirt that says "I'm feeling lucky" and decide to try my luck in wooing the next blonde that passes by, I may not be so lucky. Microsoft distributed some T-shirts as well, and they surprisingly had just a small "Microsoft" logo behind the head at the neck. But they really rubbed the salt in by putting a logo on the chest right above the heart that said: "ftr", and down below in fine print was written, "Free T-shirts Rock!!". Yeah, they sure do.

It is a kind of symbiotic process I guess: three corporates gifted me T-shirts for the Pujas, which are good to wear and use. On the other hand, I gifted these corporates the free advertisement of their brand/job ooportunities, etc while I go around in these free stuff. I want to do internships at these places: they are synonymous with innovation and they have changed the way we think, really. I want to be part of such a brand name, to know that I matter in this world. But now as I wear these t-shirts, I kind-of feel as if I am fuelling my own desire to join these corporates: to be reminded of them whenever I wear them or see others wearing them. That, perhaps, is the intended effect as well. As such, I have just been wearing the Microsoft T-shirt till now, and have been deliberating over when (and if) to wear the other ones.

Thankfully, they don't take the advertisement part of it to as ridicuous limits as I saw some things in India. Airtel, for example, was giving away free umbrellas with new prepaid connections. Guess what? It was red and white and had "Airtel" written all over the leaves in big, bold, font. This perhaps happens in the billboards that Pepsi or Coca Cola allow different restaurants/roadside stalls to put up. The whole lit-up and glossy board will proclaim the brand name, and down below in miniscule font you'll find "Reshma Paan Bhandaar", etc. I wonder if the shopkeeper also has to shell out some money to get that board. I guess being tattoed with a brand name on your hand/chest etc and getting paid for it as well takes this another step further: would you really want to do it?


  1. When you consider that most of us are walking talking signboards for all big brands, its not much of a deal when the software companies try to do the same.

    Of course its not as "cool" to flash Google/Microsoft as it is to flash LeeCooper/DKNY written on your T-shirt heheheeheh :D


  2. I agree with supremus. And these famous brands define a person's worth, whether he or she has arrived or not. :-)

  3. Somehow, I've always been unlucky in this regard..I always end up late at such places.I never got even a handkerchief for free :-(

  4. Supremus, true, very true! I guess for grad students, however, it is more than cool to flash a "Google" T-shirt! :)

    Alka, yeah I know the feeling: perhaps that is why I sometimes don't feel like joining into conversations about who is wearing what.

    Sajid, poor you! Come, join some grad school and you can be assured of winning such stuff :)

  5. I personally don't like wearing them now though I was crazy about a couple of them-a Harvard t-shirt & a google t-shirt- that I had back in school! :)

  6. Very true. We get free T-shirts and they get advertisement. But they also indirectly motivate us. A Microsoft T-shirt would do more to motivate than even Bill Gates' pic in our rooms :) (Nothing against Bill but that is the truth)

  7. Rujul, yup, one must be crazy about Harvard and Google t-shirts! :) Even I fancy sporting these sometime when I go back to India

    Alpine Path, hmm... thats another factor. Yeah maybe we can derive some inspiration at times from them as well

  8. It's all about give and take, ultimately...that's what it is.. Nice post babu moshai! :)

  9. It's more of "you scratch my back, I will scratch yours".
    What about the pizza? Is it in the shape or form of a brand logo? You eat it, digest it, burp and stick your tongue out at the advertiser. All free.

  10. Phatichar, hmm... thanks! :)

    Anumita, I think it is more of "you cover my back, I'll cover yours" :) And brilliant idea about the pizza! Wait till some company comes next time... I'll let you know what they thought :)

  11. Hey I didn’t get any free stuff when I was in grad school;-) Enjoy ur free or not so free stuff:-)

  12. Mommyof2, well, you have to be as lucky as me to get the free stuff I guess :)

    Thanks, anyway... am enjoying all the stuff here


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