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We interrupt this commercial for a very special proposal
Local musician finds a unique way to pop the question
W Cristancho 2
Local musician Mike Cristancho used television to pop the question to his girlfriend Carrie Loomis. His proposal was aired as a commercial during one of the couple's favorite programs. - photo by Jake Hallman/special

Click here to watch the proposal.

    If you were one of the many viewers of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” in Statesboro Aug. 18, you might have noticed a special commercial — one where Mike Cristancho, a member of the local band Born-Forty, proposed to his girlfriend, Carrie Loomis, on-air.
    Carrie was hoping Mike would propose to her, but she wasn’t expecting the proposal to be so soon or so public.
    The couple started dating more than a year and a half ago after Carrie invited Mike to an event via Facebook. Carrie, who expects to graduate from Georgia Southern University in May 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, had seen Mike around at various social events and was interested in getting to know him.
    “We’d met multiple times without actually meeting or saying anything to each other,” she said. “I looked up his band’s Facebook page, which I guess is kind of creepy, and I talked to a friend that knew him and was like, ‘You’ve got to invite him over so we can all hang out.’”
    Shortly afterward, the two hung out for the first time and really hit it off.
    “The next day, he asked me out to lunch, and then out to dinner, and out to dinner again, and it just kind of happened,” Carrie said. “Like, a week later, we were dating.”
    “Usually, Facebook just leads to problems,” Mike joked, “but we just clicked. Her personality is just really close to mine; she sings and is musical (Carrie recently won the Retriever’s Idol contest), and I’m in a band. We meshed really well.”
    Once Mike decided he wanted to marry Carrie, he knew he wanted to do something over the top for the proposal. After getting her father’s blessing, the GSU graduate student working toward his master’s degree in health care administration also began working on his proposal plans.
    “I didn’t really want to do it one-on-one, like, at dinner, putting (the ring) in the cake or whatever. That’s just not really my personality,” Mike said. “If you know me, and you’re around me and my friends, we’re more flamboyant, and we usually do things that shock and awe, anyways.”
    Mike wanted to do something unexpected that would also involve a lot of his friends. He had been involved recently with some commercials produced by Jake Hallman, who owns Stouthouse Media in Statesboro; Mike appears in the Boro Takeout Express (www.borotakeout.com) commercials with the catchy jingles.
    Mike said he had never heard of anyone proposing during a commercial at a specific time during a specific program, but through his connections with Jake and Jake’s wife, Suzanne, and with the permission of Boro Takeout Express owner, Rick Robins, Mike devised a plan to interrupt a commercial to make his proposal on TV.
    “It came about because I wanted to do something different, and knowing Suzanne, since she does a lot with their advertising, she really helped me out a lot,” Mike said. “We always watch ‘Jersey Shore’ even though it’s ridiculous. It’s hilarious in its own right, and I knew I wanted to do it during that show for sure.”
    His friends, the Hallmans, were just the people he needed to help him make his ideal proposal a reality.
    A few weeks before Mike planned to pop the question he went to Jake to film his proposal, Jake cut together a special version of the commercial.
    Mike spent weeks carefully and quietly preparing for his proposal, and it paid off.
    “We made up a pretext to get all of their friends over to the house,” Jake said. “And we told them at some point during ‘Jersey Shore’ a Stouthouse Media commercial would be coming on, and for a behind the scenes thing for the stouthouse.org website, we needed people to just watch the commercial and just erupt into craziness when it’s done. And we needed someone to stand up and pay very close attention to the commercial, so naturally, we selected Carrie to be that person. That explained away the fact that we had two guys sitting there in the room with cameras.”
    So, when the commercial aired, Carrie stood in front of the television, unsuspecting. Then the commercial blinked out, and Mike was standing alone on TV: “Hi, my name is Mike Cristancho, and I just need to interrupt this commercial for just one second …”
    While she watched the TV, Mike knelt behind her, and when the commercial ended with the words, “I wonder if she will say yes?” Carrie turned around to see him holding her ring.
    Of course, she said yes.
    “As soon as Mike cut in the commercial, then I knew,” Carrie said.
    With the proposal being so public, and with the popularity of social networking, it’s not surprising that the couple was quickly hit with a barrage of text messages and wall posts.
    “Mid-proposal, my phone vibrated,” Carrie said. “I waited until after I said yes to check it, but I was getting text messages that were like ‘Say yes!’”
    Carrie says many of her friends and coworkers were watching “Jersey Shore” when Mike proposed.
    “Well, my friends were really excited. I was at the desk, and one of my coworkers — because I work at the Union at the info desk — my coworker had a friend come up and was like, ‘Yeah, this girl got proposed to on TV,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah that was me!’”
    Even though the plans for the proposal were complicated, Mike said their relationship is not.
    “It’s just really simple to be around her,” he said.
    The couple is looking at setting a wedding date next year in Atlanta.

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