“I Love My Ducks” Surprises Creators with Fame and Fortune

Media Analysis : When the Shirt Hits the Fans

by Alli Jarvinen

This week’s analysis centers on an article from the  Oregon Quarterly by Ross West.  Because the three students who came up with “I Love My Ducks” are journalism students at the UO School of Journalism and Communication, I felt connected to the story. As a journalism student myself, the story of three of my fellow students making it big attracted me.

Seniors Michael Bishop, Brian McAndrew, and Jamie Slade created a Supwitchugirl, with which they made comical music videos for the student produced TV Show DuckU. Their video “I Love My Ducks” was posted on YouTube and became an instant hit.

Supwitchugirl wrote, shot, and edited “I Love My Ducks,” a deliriously catchy rap video capturing fan excitement about the year’s stunningly successful football team and exploding with Oregon pride,” wrote West.

Supwitchugirl photo by JACK LIU

West takes an interesting angle, focusing on T-shirt popularity rather than the legal problems the group faced for their use of the Oregon Ducks mascot in their video.

Featuring the Oregon Duck was actually contractually unauthorized by Disney, who granted the UO athletic department permission to use the image.  Their use of the UO mascot has caused the group some unexpected legal grief. Although the group removed the video after advice from the athletic department, it can still be found on YouTube by typing in “I Love My Ducks” or ” I Smell Roses”.

The contractual issues are only touched on in the article, but lend context to why the “I Love My Ducks” T-shirt has been such money maker. The background is important to West’s article, but not what makes it unique.

West wrote about how the student trio was able to use the video’s success and controversy to create a popular T-shirt. The shirts were flying off the shelves, making the Supwitchugirl guys enough money to pay off student loans and make travel plans for after graduation. They have also received offers to make commercials and invitations to perform.

I think focusing on T-shirts and how the group has turned controversy into success makes this article worth reading.  The headline “When the Shirt Hits the Fans” is attractive and perfectly appropriate for the story.  Word play in the headline and the feature-style article were what I found most appealing. The headline can make or break a story.

So many times I browse a newspaper, magazine, or website for headlines or titles that look interesting. If it sounds boring, I won’t read it. I’m sure this is the case for most media consumers.  West made sure Oregon Quarterly readers would actually read this article. Kudos.

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