Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How Much Would You Pay?

Sanford McDougal is our rootin tootin hootin and hollerin hero! Sanford Lee McDougal '72, known as Big Sandy (B.S.), is an American financier who chairs the hedge fund Big Texas Capital Management. He was a well-known broadcast tycoon during the 1980s. With an estimated current net worth of about $700 million, he is ranked by Texas Monthly as the 117th-richest person in Texas and ranked 7946th in the world.

B.S. was born in Beholdenville, Oklahoma. His father worked as an oil and mineral landman. During World War II, his mother ran the local Office of Price Administration, rationing gasoline and other goods in four counties. At age 12, B.S. delivered newspapers. He quickly expanded his newspaper route from 28 papers to 156 and later cited his boyhood job as an early introduction to "direct to doorstep," a business practice he favors. When the oil boom in Oklahoma ended in the late 1930s, McDougal family moved to Amarillo, Texas. B.S. never served in the military but instead attended Texas A&M on a skeet shooting scholarship but lost the scholarship and transferred to Wheaton, where he majored in Bible. "Wheaton was just what I needed to settle down and get right with God, I was able to focus on my goal of becoming a millionaire by the age of 24, and slap a longhorn, I did it!"

Following his graduation, B.S. was employed by Texas Manhandle Inc. He worked for Manhandle until 1976. In 1977, following his period as a broadcast communications director, B.S. discovered that he could buy cheap advertising on local stations late at night and air 3-minute product commercials. These became what we know today as informercials. His first endeavours were to hire waning celebrities to pitch his products. Suzanne Somers was hired to sell a product called the thigh-master which grossed $3.5 million in the first 18 months. B.S. soon launched an entire line of broadcast based products including Susan Powter's "Stop The Insantity", Cher's Aquasentials Skin Care, and his most famous product, The Ginsu Knife. In 1987, B.S. used his experience to help Christian Childrens' Fund by creating a commercial with All in the Family Actor, Sally Struthers who gave an impassioned plea while sobbing. This was considered breakthrough media and earned B.S. an Emmy Award. "If I can sell a Ginsu knife, I can certianly sell a child in Africa for 70¢ a day, HooHee!"

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