Roll Pack Campaign

North Carolina State University Athletics

Drake once said he wakes up to 300 new texts every morning. I got a taste of that once.

 

Will Privette knew it was the “dumbest thing” he’d do in college, and he also knew it was probably actually pretty dangerous.

But he wasn’t about to let his wheelchair get in the way of celebrating a big win. So he rushed — rolled? — the court along with his fellow North Carolina State students after the Wolfpack took down No. 1 Duke at home Saturday afternoon.

Dick Vitale expressed concern on the air about Privette’s safety, and video and screenshots of Privette’s wheelchair immediately went viral online. Privette started getting messages from friends telling him they saw him on TV. He searched “wheelchair” on Twitter and discovered that hundreds of people were talking about him, wondering if he was OK.

You're wondering what ended up happening? Let Will explain:

I rushed the court when we beat Duke back in 2010, and that time I waited for the first wave of people to go through so I wouldn’t get crushed. That was my plan for this year as well. But the PNC staff and ushers who I knew were like, “Do you want to rush the court?” I said of course. So they said, “We’ll put you on the baseline to go first.” I said, “OK, cool.” Then I happened to see Andy Walsh, our student body president. He said, “Hey, you want me to push you?” I said yes.

Andy and I waited the last 50 seconds of the game on the court in the corner. As the buzzer (went) or probably before, we rushed the court. We went straight to the middle, which probably was better because if we’d have gone to the side we would have gotten hit worse. We got right in the center, and as you can see in the video, I got hit from one side. It was like a wave. It toppled me over. I fell out of my wheelchair. I was on the ground, and I had my phone in my hand — I was trying to film the event — and the phone flew out of my hands and my glasses flew off my face. I was on the ground. I was like, “OK, what am I going to do now?”

C.J. Leslie was in the middle (of the crowd) and he saw me. I knew him from being around campus. He pushed everyone back and told everyone, “Get back, get back.” Once everyone moved and realized what was going on, he picked me up and I’ve described it as like how you’d hold a baby. Once I realized I wasn’t in trouble any more, I started to scream, like “Wooooo! Let’s go!” C.J. held me for a little bit because we lost my wheelchair in the sea of people. He held me for a couple of minutes. I was screaming and yelling.

I patted him on the head and said, “Thank you.” Then he put me in my chair, and the PNC Arena staff escorted me off the court to safety. After the game, I waited around for C.J. to say, “Thank you, thank you for helping — saving my life, really.”

It was the dumbest thing I’ve done in college but it was awesome.

 

That night when I got home I took right to facebook and thought I'd share a goofy image that I whipped up that would help me process what I'd seen. 

I'll concede I scored some creative points for combining the fact that we'd just hired our new basketball coach from Alabama, we were on a massive win streak, and the graphic abstracting Will being literally rolled by our Student Body President just converged and scored a grand slam.  Little did I know that not only was the national sports media abuzz about the No. 1 Team in the nation going down, but the rest of the media was all abuzz about the human interest story of my friend Will and his rescue. 

 

I woke up around 5AM to my phone having a seizure. Credit FOX SPORTS for being quickest on the uptake. 

I put up a quick bigcartel and considered collecting preorders so that I could get these made that afternoon. Will's wheelchair had been damaged in the scrum and I thought if we sold enough then we might be able to get it fixed, or at least make an impact on some of the cost.  But instead I got in touch with Gregg Zarnstorff, Director of the NC State Campus Trademark Licensing office, and I sent over the design. A percentage of every unit sold would go towards a branch of a national disability advocacy and support group on campus. And the wheelchair would be replaced. I was in 100%.

 

 

The media push was swift and ferocious. I think we hit every major sports site and listicle in existence.

 

 

All told, numerous interviews and press availabilities later yielded us quite a haul.

Here's Technician's Tim Gorski: 

According to Alex Barnett, the marketing and promotions manager at Campus Enterprises, Picart just wanted to raise money for Privette’s wheelchair. However, once students had raised the funds necessary for the wheelchair, he decided to continue selling the shirts to raise funds and awareness for students with disabilities.

On Wednesday, Jan. 16, distributors started selling the shirts. They sold out within two days.
Privette said he was amazed at the speed in which the incident was spread and so quickly transformed into a marketable trademark.

According to Zarnstorff, the large demand for the shirts led them to produce about 2,800 within the first five days of sale.

According to Barnett, online and bookstore sales have reached about 3,000 shirts, bringing in about $6,000 for the organization.

All excess revenues earned from Campus Enterprises go toward funding for merit and need-based scholarships, as well as toward paying students who work on campus. The organization donated $1,187,367 for scholarships last year and more than $3.3 million since 2009.

Gonna show off some great photos from the campaign trail and leave you with that and this final thought -- sometimes the confluence of luck, creativity, and being quick on your feet can all come together for something magical and it's been a wild ride. I still see these shirts in circulation and still get emails from people wanting to know where they can find them.  Even knockoff ones on sketchy websites have tried to get in on this. The Roll Pack campaign couldn't have gone better and I'm proud to have been a part of it.