Friday, August 10, 2012
Chicago woman lives off Olympic sponsors
By Kristi Dosh
Terin Izil sleeps on this bed of Charmin tissue to raise money for Camp Promise-West.
Can you live exclusively on Olympic sponsors' products?
Chicago-based copywriter Terin Izil, 28, has proved you can.
She’s been eating, drinking, wearing, bathing in and sleeping on Olympic sponsors' products since July 20 and will do so through this weekend's Closing Ceremonies. This is all in an effort to raise money for Camp Promise-West, a camp she co-founded for children with muscular dystrophy. The camp is fully funded by donations and grants.
Terin Izil shows the stuff she will bring into the bathroom to do her business.
Izil calls it the "5-Ring Diet," but it goes much further than simply getting her meals from an Olympic sponsor like McDonald’s. She carries around an arsenal of Olympic sponsor products and does so in a Ralph Lauren bag adorned with the Olympic rings. When she heads to the bathroom at work, she goes armed with a roll of Charmin toilet tissue and Dasani bottled water and Olay soap to wash her hands.
She cuts no corners. When Izil washes her hair, she does so over the sink with multiple bottles of Dasani water and Pantene Pro V shampoo.
Then dries her hair with Bounty paper towels. She has used a McDonald’s knife to secure her hair in a bun, Crest toothpaste to take the sting out of mosquito bites and 8 12-packs of Charmin toilet paper as a bed.
One of her more creative improvisations was to create a bra out of Always maxi pads. Part of the 5-Ring Diet plan was to only wear clothes with the Olympic rings on them. Fully committed, she chose to also only wear underwear and bras with the five rings. Except she couldn’t find any.
“I looked everywhere for an Olympic bra,” Izil said. “Then I discovered Ralph Lauren was a sponsor and found boys shorts with the rings I’ve been using as underwear.”
Izil happened to have a trip to London planned for work which allowed her to be there for the Opening Ceremonies and for several days afterward. No longer was she relegated to Team USA and international Olympic sponsor gear she could find in Chicago.
“When I got to London I saw a giant adidas ad on the outside of a store with an adidas swimsuit. I got so excited," she said. "I said, ‘There’s going to be underwear in there for me, I know it!’”
Izil did find an adidas swimsuit with the Olympic rings, and she washes it out every night so she can wear it again the next day. “Because it’s a swimsuit, it dries out fast,” she laughed.
The rest of her wardrobe has been a bit easier. On the first day of the diet, Izil tweeted about her breakfast, which included Chobani yogurt.
The company ended up not only engaging in a dialogue with her, but sent her a care package with Chobani-branded shirts and pants, which have made up a large part of her wardrobe throughout this experiment.
So how did Izil come up with this idea?
“I work in advertising, and I know how hard it is to get something like the Olympic rings put on a product," Izil said. "As I started looking around and noticing the rings all over on razors and juice and McDonald’s french fry containers, I thought there’s almost enough to sustain somebody.”
Izil told a colleague about her idea, and next thing she knew her entire office was supporting her, leaving her gear with the Olympic rings on her desk and helping her make phone calls to track down the elusive Olympic rings bra.
When Izil returns to a real mattress next week and her old wardrobe, she hopes to do so having reached her goal of raising $25,000 for Camp Promise-West. Currently, the camp has received over $17,000 in donations.
That money will be used to support nearly 40 campers for a weeklong camp later this month. For photos, videos and tales of all of Izil’s adventures on the 5-Ring Diet, visit here.