No one is going to be winning $1 billion as part of Warren Buffett and Quicken Loans' NCAA men's basketball bracket challenge, but a couple of Detroit charities are coming out on top, thanks to a promotional item that was initially made for the challenge.
Fathead, a Detroit-based company that usually makes life-sized posters and cut-outs of sports stars and celebrities, was tapped to make an oversized Buffett head to promote the bracket challenge. After two days of play, there were no entrants left with a perfect bracket, but the prop gained some national attention when Seth Meyers showed it in a bit on Late Night. Apparently, it was enough to get people wondering where they could get a Buffett head of their own.
"Our lines lit up with customers asking for the 'Buffett Big Head,'" Patrick McInnis, CEO of Fathead, said in a statement. "Warren Buffett is well-known as a founder of 'The Giving Pledge,' so we reached out and he graciously agreed, provided all the profits go to a couple of great Detroit non-profit organizations, which we are honored to do."
The giant Buffett head is now available to anyone who wants one for $29.99 on the Fathead website, with the profits going to Money Matters for Youth, which runs summer camps for kids on economics, budgeting, investing, and entrepreneurship; and Motor City Blight Busters, which demolishes blighted houses, secures abandoned buildings, and renovates housing while partnering with other organizations to create jobs, and home ownership opportunities.
"I was flattered, and frankly surprised, that anyone would want to purchase a Big Head with my face on it," Buffett said of the gimmick. "Here's hoping the two Detroit-based organizations, Money Matters for Youth and Motor City Blight Busters will literally benefit from my Big Head!" Sure, it's not likely to bring in millions, but who wouldn't want Buffett's giant jovial face for inspiration? And perhaps Buffett's head is a bit unique in its appeal, at least among philanthropists, it shows there are plenty of ways philanthropists can make a difference beyond reaching into their own pockets, and that Buffett, at least, has a pretty good sense of humor.