In celebration of international Hobbit Day Thursday, several students were seen frolicking around campus barefoot as part of a campaign called Road to the Shire.
Three advertising majors, Mitchell Stevens, Jonathan Wright, and John Storey — or the “hobbits” as they call themselves — decided to use their newly-developed marketing skills to further their fanatical obsession with the J. R Tolkien’s series “The Lord of the Rings.”
“We are combining something we know how to do with something we love,” Stevens said.
They created a website, roadtotheshire.com, as part of a campaign to catch the eye of Peter Jackson the director of the “Lord of the Rings” movies. Ultimately, they are trying to gain enough attention to be cast as extras in the next installment of the series, “The Hobbit.”
Yet they insist their impact would be shared by all who helped them get there.
“The whole concept of the campaign is based around bringing fans together to make a mark on one of the greatest movie franchises ever,” Wright said. “And to make three fans’ wildest dreams come true.”
Thursday, Bilbo and Frodo Baggins’ birthday, was a chance for them to take a few more steps on the road to the shire.
“It’s part of a campaign to garner attention,” Wright said. “People everywhere celebrate in different ways, like dressing up like hobbits, but this is what we are doing.”
But not wearing shoes is only a small part of a much bigger picture. In fact the website has attracted fans from 29 countries and the YouTube channel has almost 10,000 views. A surprisingly large following is coming from China.
The “hobbits” said they felt they achieved their goal. They were noticed. Now they hope to inspire others to remove their shoes with them and skip happily down the road to to the shire.