Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Who are you, and what are you doing with Mr. Royko's sock?"

In 1984, Rupert Murdoch bought the Chicago Sun-Times, and columnist Mike Royko quit in disgust, moving over to the rival Chicago Tribune. In keeping with its self-proclaimed image as the classier daily fish-wrapper in town, the Trib waged a classy and subtle marketing campaign to promote Royko's column. The centerpiece to the campaign was the manufacture and sale of gym socks bearing Royko's screen-printed autograph. As a budding journalist, I naturally bought a pair. And wore them, too.

I've mentioned the Royko Socks before. I still have one of the socks -- don't know if it's the left one or the right one, and don't know what happened to its mate -- I keep it at the back of my sock drawer, for ... I dunno, sentimental reasons or something.

And if anyone doubts my veracity, I slapped the old surviving Royko Sock onto the scanner for you. Yeah, it's an image you won't see every day, even in the deepest bowels of eBay. One Promotional Mike Royko Sock, Slightly Used.

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