By Erin Hammer
Struggling to maintain a polished and appealing account can lead to the downfall of the sponsor, said Emily Lussier ‘22. Sponsored by LAKI Sportswear and CBD company Colomont Inc. sponsorship does not affect her school work life as much as it does her free time, with having to perfect and strategically plan out what to post on her social media she said. LAKI is a sportswear brand for both men and women. Earning a commission for each product bought, using her promotional code, on top of additional discounts has helped her to expand her interest in the brand. This principle applies to Colomont Inc., Vermont CBD company, as a result of Lussier using many of their CBD products such as a muscle cream to help with her joints.
“I am awkwardly known as TikTok girl on campus,” said Alexyah Dethyongsa ‘22, a representative for the app TikTok. “I was eating in Alliot one time and a boy I’ve literally never seen before goes, that’s the TikTok girl, she gave me a cup one day.”
Dethyongsa is one of many student sponsors on campus who uses social media and other platforms to promote products. They either major in a topic that relates to the business, personally use of the products, or want exposure in the world of marketing.
A year ago Dethyongsa’s friend, employed by Fuse Marketing Company, mentioned that Saint Michael’s did not have any TikTok representatives. Dethyongsa mentioned that she chose TikTok “because it’s something that my little sister does, and I know it’s funny,” adding that she makes TikToks frequently with friends. She went through a formal interview where she learned her responsibilities. Being a sponsored representative now, she has used a sprayable chalk on the sidewalks, bought coffee for students, helped out at the late-night grill, and even tailgated at a soccer game. Dethyongsa does get paid in addition to the free merchandise she receives. The challenging parts of her sponsorship included planning out events with logistics and the time consumption from contacting businesses in order to schedule events.
While becoming involved in the world of fitness, Matt Demmler ‘21, said that for a few years now he has been working for GNC, a nutrition health store. “This led me into the world of supplements,” said Demmler, resulting in him becoming a RedCon1 ambassador. Supplements caught his attention because of the access it grants to those interested in obtaining their fitness goals. Demmler said that the fitness industry has become “saturated” and many fitness influencers do not know much about what they are promoting. Instead they do it for the money and free products, not truly believing in the product. Ethical choices are not made all the time. “What is best for other people,” said Demmler should always be considered. “The perks are helping other people and the discounts are also nice!”
As an Environmental Studies major, Alexis Comeau ‘21, was drawn towards Guayakí because of the way they follow through on their missions. “One of the big commitments that they have is environmental stewardship,” said Comeau. When a brand lies about following this mission it is called “greenwashing”. She said they grow their own yerba mate, a plant related to holly. Her experience drinking yerba mate she said,“ gives you a euphoric feeling” along with “giving you the mindset of conquering the day.” Guayakí is, committed to being net-zero carbon, meaning there is no carbon footprint left behind during the transportation and creation of their products. As a member of the leadership committee of Green-up “it allows me to bring in an alternative way to bring in people to meetings,” said Comeau. “If a student resonates with a specific company then they should reach out so they can represent and receive the perks of being an ambassador.”
What does the school have to say?
Saint Michael’s is not aware of many of these student’s involvement with companies. “I do know that student athletes can not accept sponsorships due to NCAA rules,” said Kerri Leach, Director of Student Activities/Assistant Dean of Students. While the sponsorship may not be school-affiliated, an effort can be made to work with on-campus activities. Following this half of the sponsors are not paid by their companies rather they are shipped free products to use themselves and give to others. Many products include clothing with the brand’s logo printed on and the specialized products themselves.