Couple auctioning off naming rights for new baby boy
By Elizabeth Lesure, Associated Press, 07/26/01
NEW YORK -- Jason Black and Frances Schroeder don't know what they will name the baby boy they're expecting. But they aren't leafing through any "Name Your Baby" books.
Instead, the Mount Kisco couple is looking for a corporate sponsor to pay half a million dollars for their son's name.
Will he be "Heinz" or "Microsoft," "Coke" or "Kraft"? Only time -- and money -- will tell.
"It's the opportunity to have this media moment when the name would be unveiled," said Black, who is a business editor at Internet World in New York City. "The exposure that it could bring to a business is potentially huge, and we think it would be well worth the investment on their part."
The couple has put the naming rights up for auction on both eBay and Yahoo!, at a minimum bid of $500,000. The ads were posted July 18 and will run through July 28. So far, there have been no bidders, but the couple plans to extend their offer.
Black said the idea came to them after they had a dinner of Chinese takeout, followed by a fortune cookie that read: "You will have a new home by the end of the year."
"That's our dream," Black said. "That's every young family's perfect fantasy."
Black and Shroeder, both 32, live in a 2-bedroom apartment with their daughters, Josephine, 4, and Lois, 22 months. They are anticipating that the birth of their son -- expected within the next few days -- will leave them scrambling for more space.
"It's going to be a little crowded," Black said.
The couple hopes that money from the deal would allow them to buy a house and save for their children's college education.
They aren't the first "ordinary" people to ask for extraordinary corporate funding. Two New Jersey teen-agers recently became the "spokesguys" for credit card distributor First USA -- in exchange for a full ride to college.
Will their son be little "Mastercard"? Or "Visa"? Black said they have not ruled out anything -- except cigarette or gun brand names.
"Those are personal values of ours," Black said. "Those are certain standards that we feel we have to stick by."
And whether he is "Starbucks" (Buckie, for short?) or "Amazon," Black said that he is not worried that a corporate name might have an adverse affect on his son's development.
"As long as we provide him with a comfortable and loving home, he's going to turn out fine," Black said.