Tommy Armstrong sent Twitter aflutter and into confusion when he took the podium astride a self-balancing board at the Huskers’ weekly press conference on Monday.
— World-Herald Big Red (@OWHbigred) October 20, 2015
Despite the World-Herald referring to Tommy’s gadget as both a hoverboard AND a Segway, it is neither. Until a catchy name is found for this decade’s Razor Scooter, we’ll go ahead and keep calling it a self-balancing board. There are many of brands on the market but you can find one that adjust to your person at the Electric Rider.
A quick search of the internets tells us that Tommy’s gizmo is not a “Swagway,” (oh, you were so unintentionally close, OWH) which can be found at Modell’s for the bargain price of $399.99.
And while it cosmetically looks similar, Tommy’s wheels aren’t the ones listed on AliExpress for the low, low price of $208.00 (just lookout for that $99 shipping charge).
Here’s Tommy in action.
— Megan Smith (@megan_kristin) October 19, 2015
Now, watch this video from Dodgers super utility player Kike´ Hernandez.
— Enrique Hernández (@kikehndez) October 3, 2015
Other than a slightly different deck, the two devices look identical all the way down to the LED side steering lights.
One look at Vengatti’s Twitter account and it’s obvious that they are in the “influencer” stage of building brand awareness ahead of the busy holiday shopping season. Seemingly anyone with the right amount of hair gel and enough social media followers is getting hooked up with a free set of wheels. You can get the latest updates on hoverboard technology from the Hoverboard Lab right here.
This is just a small sample of what you can expect if you follow Vengatti on Twitter…
— Jassiel Macias (@Jassiel_Macias) September 30, 2015
— Lovey James (@TheLoveyJames) September 29, 2015
— Chaz Ortiz (@steezortiz) September 25, 2015
And then there were these two tweets that stood out for their lack of spray tan.
Just rode my first @vengatti and it is worth a buy
— Austin Halcomb (@HalcombOwns22) September 12, 2015
Just ordered my new @vengatti. Excited to ride it around on campus.
— Austin Halcomb (@HalcombOwns22) September 13, 2015
According to Austin’s Twitter bio, in addition to being part of the University of Indiana’s class of 2018 and a fresh contender for most obnoxious guy on campus, he’s an “official promoter of Vengatti” which likely means he got a discount code, a few stickers and something to put on his resume.
If Lovey “As seen on season 14 of American Idol” James getting 13 retweets is enough to garner a free Vengatti, Tommy’s little press conference stunt is a total “Then Again Maybe I Won’t” moment for Ventgatti. It will easily rack up at least 100 times the exposure by the time Husker Nation gets distracted by the next shiny thing on social media.
With it getting harder for coaches, boosters and other nogoodniks to hook up college players with free cars, are self-balancing boards the next frontier for dolling out swag?
Let’s hope not.
As someone who took until the early years of the 21st century to pay off a top-of-the-line VCR and 35mm camera bought back when Scott Frost was under center, I can say with reasonable authority that college years purchases don’t have much of a shelf life once you’re out in the real world.