How important is your name? For a lot of people, our names are part of our identity. It’s one of the first things we learn as a child. We receive it from our parents and we give it to our children. For some people, our name defines us, but not for a man with a last name you probably have never heard before.
Meet Jason Surfrapp, previously known as Jason Sadler. Jason says he never identified with the last name Sadler. In fact, Sadler wasn’t even his original last name. Throughout his childhood his last name changed a number of times as his mother got remarried. Jason took the last names of his father and later father figures, but he never felt they were part of his identity. One thing that does define Jason is creativity.
In 2010, Jason started a business called iwearyourshirt.com. It was a simple business with a simple idea. He sold his body as a human billboard. Every day, he would wear a different t-shirt promoting a different company. And every day he would take pictures and videos of himself and post them on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Jason did this until 2013 and turned his humble T-shirt idea into a million dollar business.
Jason didn’t stop at turning his body into a human billboard. He sold his name. In 2012, he held an auction offering to change his name for one year. The winner was headsets.com, which paid him $45,000. Jason was now Jason Headsetsdotcom.
Why would any company pay him to wear a t-shirt or change his name? They were all simple business ideas that anyone could do, but Jason’s ideas were so original and so creative that he was on CNN and lots of other national news programs. Headsets.com said that they made $250,000 in extra sales from the publicity they got from Jason’s name change. The next year, Jason did it again and sold his name to a company that makes a surfing application. Jason Surfrapp was his new name.
Jason isn’t the only one to change his name for money. In 2005, the city of Clark, Texas changed its name to Dish, Texas after making a deal with the satellite TV company Dish. In exchange for the name change, all 201 residents of this small town receive free satellite TV.
How important are names to you? How would you feel if someone wanted to pay you to change your name or the name of your town?