Students try to wear out competition

By Seth Mauzy
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Students may notice that as the semester draws to a close, a few of their classmates have taken to wearing the same shirt every day. But they're not too busy or lazy to change their clothes - they're competing for a $500 prize.

The contest is sponsored by Microsoft and is the brainchild of two UA students who began interning for the software giant this semester.

Sean Conway, a marketing junior, and Heather Lederman, a communication senior, were given a $1,000 marketing budget to promote Microsoft Office OneNote 2003, a note-taking program that is available for a 180-day free trial download from the company's Web site.

They were also flown to a leadership conference at Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Wash., to receive training on how to promote the program.

Conway and Lederman said the rules for the contest are similar to a promotion run by iPod last semester.

"The iPod contest gave us the idea, and we took that idea to (Microsoft) and they approved it," said Lederman,

The shirts are white with the numeral "1" and a musical note on the front. The back of the shirts has the Web address to download the program.

"Competitors are required to wear the shirt every day," Conway said. "After the two weeks, it's kind of a last man standing situation; whoever's still wearing the shirts gets to split the 500 bucks."

Contestants are required to check in with Conway or Lederman between noon and 1 p.m. every day for two weeks to verify that they are wearing the shirts.

Conway, who is the president of the Eller College of Management's Entrepreneurship Club, said club members are also checking on students in their classes, and contestants are expected to help keep track of each other as well.

"We're thinking of calling them up on their cell phones, and asking to speak to the closest person around and ask them if they're wearing the shirt," Conway said.

Each contestant is given two shirts and students are expected to have the logo and URL visible as often as they can, within reason, Lederman said.

"We understand that it's colder and people need to wear stuff over it, since it's only a T-shirt," Lederman said. "It's OK as long as they're wearing it in their classes, and it's somewhat visible."

Jen Levine, a finance senior and Lederman's roommate, is one of the 10 students participating in the contest.

"I don't think it will be too difficult to get some of that $500, as long as I don't get them too dirty," Levine said. "I plan on doing a bit more laundry, since we only get two."

Lederman said the two have already reached their semester goal of 1,000 downloads on the UA campus, and hope that the contest will garner even more downloads. Downloads on campus are tracked by Microsoft.