NEW YORK — When the folks at Ralph Lauren announced in September that they would tour college campuses in a blazing red 18-wheeler truck, they said it was a two-sided adventure: On one side, a romantic take on hitting the road, Jack Kerouac and all that; the other, to introduce Ralph’s newest baby — the Double RL line, named after his Colorado ranch — to college students.
While those working on the truck apparently have great tales to tell of their road trip — the results of how RRL went over with the college crowd are mixed.
The RRL truck stopped at each school for two days of selling and donated 10 percent of the proceeds of sales to the student organization that sponsored the visit.
On Sept. 22, the truck made its first stop of the tour at New York University in Greenwich Village here. Several thousand kids poured through the truck, Ralph Lauren himself showed up to chat with students, and hundreds of T-shirts were given out. “It was very well received by the students,” said David Schnirman, NYU’s assistant director of student activities and an advisor to the student-run Program Board, which sponsored the RRL stop. “The kids definitely thought the clothes were expensive, but since the truck hit here at the beginning of the school season, the students still had money for clothes shopping.”
Schnirman would not state how much the Program Board made from the visit, but when told that two other schools made $150 and $300, he said NYU fared “quite a bit better.”
Andrew Gedacht, a sophomore at University of Connecticut in Storrs, Conn., organized the RRL truck stop at UConn on Sept. 28 and 29. The fund-raising chairman for Sigma Phi Epsilon, he said he thought the two-day visit would be a good way to raise money for his fraternity.
“There wasn’t as big a turnout as we expected,” he said. “The clothes were nice and everyone liked them, but they were too expensive. The Ralph Lauren people were really nice, but they didn’t know what to expect much either because it was one of the first stops they’d done.”
Gedacht said the fraternity received $300 from the sale.
Wesleyan University, where the truck stopped Oct. 14 and 15, didn’t fare as well. It received $150 from the RRL stop, which apparently meant total sales of $1,500.
“It was more of a curiosity thing for most of the students,” said Cari Macdermott, an event organizer in the student activities office. “It was so expensive — flannel shirts for $150, $80 jeans, leather jackets for $800 — that I can’t imagine they were out to sell a lot of things.”