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Free to Advertise, Hedge Funds Search for Mascot

July 12, 2013

The Search for the Perfect Hedge Fund Mascot

Photograph by Getty Images

(Corrects affiliation of Michael Steinhardt)

Memo To: All Staff

From: Hedge Fund Marketing

Subject: Mascot for Advertising Campaign

With the Securities and Exchange Commission lifting the ban on our advertising activities, we need a mascot for our ads. The wise owl, the noble lion, the soaring eagle -- all taken. So we asked everyone from the youngest analysts to the most seasoned traders to contribute ideas. Thank you for your submissions, and to The Intern for collecting them. They are:

The mink: A little obvious, but as John from fixed-income arbitrage notes, it's an animal with cachet, at least when it's dead. Those of us with wives have expensive experience with this. According to Wikipedia, "the American mink is the only extant member of the genus Neovison." This is a plus -- Neovison sounds like a Google Glass competitor and could appeal to both Gen X and boomers.

The giant oceanic manta ray: It is said to have the largest brain of all the world’s fish. Ben in distressed debt points out that aside from being big and rare, "minimal concrete information exists on oceanic manta movements.” We like that. (Also, giant manta rays seem far enough away from the notion of vampire squids.)

The albino wallaby: Steve from compliance reports that hedge fund legend Michael Steinhardt has rare albino wallabies on his property. Not sure where this association gets us -- they’re white, they hop. No one’s ever accused us of being cuddly and we'd like to keep it that way. Still, a valiant effort by Steve.

Related content: View the slideshow version of this story, which adds reader suggestions for hedge fund mascots. Add yours at the bottom of this story.

The naked mole rat: Ian in currencies acknowledges that it sounds creepy at first and the visuals aren't great. But the naked mole rat's physical traits allow it to thrive in an otherwise harsh underground environment. It has a lack of pain sensation in its skin and low metabolic and respiratory rates, perhaps making it an ideal trader.

The tigerfish: A little out-of-the-box thinking by Jane in mortgage-backeds. These fish have large, razor-sharp teeth and are known as fierce predators. Wikipedia again: “In the western gamefishing world, hydrocynus vittatus is regarded to be Africa’s equivalent of the South American piranha.” Turns out Herb has one of these up on his wall from his trip to the Okavango Delta. These fish are known to attack humans. Take that as you will.

Jeff Koons’s Balloon Dog: This one came in anonymously. I think many of us know who displays one of these in his driveway, and thus why this has to be a joke rather than a serious idea. For those who don’t get out enough and/or don't read Vanity Fair, this person’s last name rhymes with crowin’ and goin’. Initials of his firm rhyme with “thwack.” You get the picture. If not, see The Intern.

As we continue to refine ideas, it's helpful to consider why a few suggestions will not work:

The Royal Imperial Eagle: Rome collapsed.

Balerion the Black Dread; the Hungarian Horntail: Not sure if these suggestions were made in the spirit of Balloon Dog. Appreciate the learned references to “Game of Thrones” and the Harry Potter series. But dragons are not real, and we don't want to open ourselves up to comments about fanciful thinking or, say, imaginary returns.

And finally, a note on our ad strategy: As a shot across the bow to competitors, we will send a banner plane over the Hamptons beaches on Labor Day weekend, by which time we will have selected our mascot. If you send your address to The Intern, he will alert you to the approximate time the plane will fly over your area. Attaching small banners/flags to yachts would be appreciated, as would affixing decals to longboards, helicopters, etc. Stan in tax strategy suggests speaking with your wealth managers about the writeoff.


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