CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — University of North Carolina student Andrew Bauer says he had to act fast when he heard that Big Bird’s job was in jeopardy.
During last week’s presidential debate, Republican candidate Mitt Romney said he would cut funding to PBS. Many have lampooned that statement, saying that would essentially mean firing Big Bird.
So Bauer decided to take action to save the loveable Sesame Street character. His first step was snapping up the domain name: FireBigBird.com.
Along with his friend and fellow UNC student, Taylor Robinette, they created T-shirts with Big Bird’s image to take advantage of the spotlight. In one, Big Bird’s holding a sign that says Romney fired him.
So far, the students have sold about 400 T-shirts at $20 a pop. They have 700 in stock. They’re donating the profits - about $5 a shirt - to the Make a Wish Foundation.
“What struck me as so odd was someone was on national television and taking a shot at Big Bird,” Bauer said Tuesday. “I watched that and said, `Wow. Big Bird is a childhood hero for so many people. So many people care about him. I have to do something.“’
After Bauer registered the domain name, he ran about a half-mile to Robinette’s dorm. He explained his idea, and the 18-year-old Robinette quickly designed three T-shirts. One shows Big Bird holding a sign that says he was fired by Romney.
A budding entrepreneur, Bauer, 19, says he’s had nothing but positive feedback.
He declined to say who he will vote for in the presidential race. But he says his purpose was not political. He says he hoped the T-shirts would spur social change.
“It will get people talking,” he said. “This is not using Big Bird for money. This is using Big Bird to inspire social entrepreneurs across the country.”