A keen eye for unique advertising opportunity
In these tough economic times, businesses big and small are always looking for a way to distinguish themselves from the competition.
Robert Lee thinks he has the answer.
The 47-year-old employee of Rivershore Chrysler Jeep lost his left eye to cancer in August. Now, he’s selling a 12-millimetre oval on his prosthetic sphere to the highest bidder on eBay.
Lee said he got the idea while meeting with his ocularist in Vancouver.
“She said, ‘I one time made one with a Harley Davidson logo for a guy,’” Lee recounted.
“I said, ‘Hey, that’s a great idea.’
“Everyone’s dressed in black and I can be dressed in colour.”
The opening price on eBay is $5,000. Lee said most of that will go to cover his bills relating to the prosthetic eye — including the cost of the eye and travel to and from Vancouver.
There are some rules. For one, Lee and the would-be advertiser must see eye-to-eye — that means no “vulgar, obscene or pornographic” ads.
Lee will agree to sport the advertising eyeball for 30 consecutive days and is willing to extend that term based on the needs of prospective buyers.
Lee lost his eye to a rare form of cancer called ocular melanoma — a disease that affects fewer than 250 Canadians annually.
He first noticed something wasn’t right in 2003, but didn’t find out it was cancer until three years later.
He thought he was holding the cancer at bay until February of this year, when doctors told him they had found a new tumour.
In June, Lee decided he’d opt to have the eye removed. The surgery took place on Aug. 10 in Vancouver.
“I’m lucky all it took was my eye,” he said of the cancer.
“It didn’t spread anywhere else.”
Lee donated his cancerous eyeball to science, hoping it will help doctors better understand ocular melanoma.
The ad-space auction opened last week. As of KTW press time, there were no bids.
But, Lee is holding out hope — and he has an eye toward one company in particular.
“I’d like to have an Apple on my eye,” he said.
“I’m an Apple fan. I’ve got all the toys. That would be the one I want.”
Lee’s story has garnered media attention across Canada and he hopes the buzz will result in bids.
“I’m pretty excited about the whole thing,” he said.
“This is unique. How often are you going to have this opportunity to advertise your business?”
You can find Lee’s auction page by searching, “Advertise your logo on my eye” online at eBay.com.
He also keeps a blog online at eyeforacure.com.
The auction closes on Saturday, Sept. 24.