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Putting the 'D' in Blue Demon: the innuendo t-shirt craze

By Nathan Weisman
On February 18, 2013

Several students who went to the men's basketball game against Notre Dame received a shirt sporting the slogan "Fear the D" in honor of National Blue Demon Day Feb 2. Since then, the shirt has generated demand and sparked conversation on campus and online.

Many see the shirt as a form of school spirit. Others see something different.

The shirt's fame started with a tweet Feb. 1 from the DePaul Residence Hall Council. The tweet simply read "Fear the D" and had an attached animated picture showing the slogan on the shirt that was to be handed out the next day.

A day after the shirts were given out at the game, a student posted a picture to the funny section of Reddit.com. The picture under the title "I'm not sure DePaul University understood the second meaning of this..." generated 1737 "up votes," the Reddit equivalent of a "like."

For many, "Fear the D" is not just a reference to DePaul's beloved Blue Demon mascot. In fact, it is an innuendo for "fear the penis."

"Either DePaul University spent their Christmas break growing a sense of humor, or somebody made a big mistake," said Murphy Row, who wrote an article in response to the Reddit post on Cosbysweaters.com. "DePaul is an institution of higher learning and there is a lesson here. When the 21-year-old intern giggles at a suggestion for a slogan, take a minute to ask the intern why he or she is laughing before you print it on a t-shirt and hand it to a stadium full of students."

According to Greg Greenwell, the director of communications for athletics at DePaul, the slogan on the shirt was written by The Blue Crew, a student organization.

"We worked with (the athletic department) to distribute some of the shirts around campus a couple of days before the big game and I really think that it promoted the National Blue Demon Day basketball game as well as increased the awareness for the day in general," said Dan Olsen, vice president of RHC. "I loved the shirt, and I think most other students did too."

As the shirt's popularity grew, one enterprising student saw a golden opportunity.

"I am a business guy. Every day I am thinking about what people want and how I can provide it, make it better or make it less expensive," said Chip Needham. "(The shirts) are, without a doubt, a hot item and they are hard to get. I knew there was a market if I could develop the product. So I did."

Needham ordered more shirts of the same design and started selling them to students on campus, selling about 20 in the first week under the company name Innuendo DePaul. After his initial success, Needham is working to lower the costs of the shirts by finding a local printer, and expanding the business to offer other shirts featuring more innuendos with the "DePaul D" that are being developed by Jay Seaton, Needham's roommate and partner.

"The response from students has been great. Like I said earlier, everyone wants one," said Needham. "One of my professors overheard me talking to someone in class about the shirts and he is very interested in purchasing one when they become available again."


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