Sponsorless SWAG: A different kind of logo
By Janice Ferguson
In a world where product branding is king, and advertising opportunities are displayed on everything from clothing to bus sides to public restroom stall doors, isn't it refreshing to come across a company that bucks the system a little?
Austin, Texas-based Ten Cups Golf has created a line of men's golf shirts entitled Sponsorless SWAG that is aimed at the average golfer - the golfer with no sponsor. Instead of having a mainstream apparel brand embroidered on your shirt, you choose from six fictitious, and rather amusing, corporate names - Nobody and Assoc., The Nada Co., D.M.T. Wallet Inc., Smakum and Trakum, Inc., Bunkers And Weed, L.L.P., and The Wormburner Group.
Who thought of this quirky, offbeat idea? His name is David Fineg, a.k.a. Bud "Flag" Zenswing, a golf instructor and avid lover of the game. What began as a lighthearted jab at the big name brands has now evolved into part of Fineg's multi-pronged golf business.
"I've spent most of my life around the golf business, and I've worn all of the major brand's shirts," Fineg said. "One day it just hit me - nobody was paying me millions of dollars to wear their logo, so why was I paying them for a shirt?"
Fineg's tag line for his company is, "Until THEY are paying YOU to wear THEIR logos, wear OURS!" He views Sponsorless SWAG as an opportunity for the average golfer - that includes most of us - to wear a line of shirts like a badge of honor.
The Sponsorless SWAG logo does appear embroidered on the back of the shirts, so it is not completely without branding, but Fineg conjured up the fabricated "corporate" names for the shirt fronts so people could choose a name that suits their golf game mood, creating a lighter side to golf.
That lighter, more fun side to golf has always been Fineg's mantra for playing the game, from his shirt line to his instruction techniques. "People need to find their swing," said Fineg, "because it's the only one they've got. Once I help them find it, they become much happier and improved golfers."
But don't let Fineg's Zen attitude fool you - he is very serious about golf and improving the game as a whole as well as for individuals. He just finds creative, non-conventional ways to achieve positive results.
After selling his Ten Cups driving range, Fineg had the resources to expand the Sponsorless SWAG line. He buys high quality overstocks from a variety of reputable polo shirt manufacturers in tech fabrics, cottons and blends. Most feature non-curl collars, 3-button plackets, ribbed short sleeves and come in a wide variety of colors that continually change based on what inventory is available when he makes a purchase.
Select one of the unique logos, the style of shirt, color and size. Then Fineg has a local company apply the embroidery, and the garment ships directly to you within 48 hours.
At a very reasonable price tag of $32, which includes shipping and handling to anywhere in the continental United States, Fineg still manages to donate $2.50 from the sale of every shirt to the First Tee of America.
Now that's a sponsor full of heart.
Note: Fineg is in the process of building a site dedicated to the Sponsorless Swag collection, but for now the shirts and the reference library, including "Golf's Three Noble Truths," can be visited at www.tencups.com.