Some capitalizing on opportunities of presidential race
Despite what you may have heard, capitalism is not yet dead.
As proof, we offer condoms, coffee and cat poop, brought to you by way of Barack Obama and John McCain.
Seriously. Read on.
Is there any event in contemporary America we share as deeply, as broadly, as a presidential election? Americans might disagree on the specifics, but we love us some votin’!
Which means it’s an unparalleled opportunity to sell stuff to people because they’re actually paying attention.
The election isn’t sponsored yet — November 2012, brought to you by Levitra! — in the style of sports stadiums or NASCAR, but the day might come.
For now, though, we have the above mentioned goodies. And lots of others.
“The Obama masks sold out first,” said Jan Misch, who manages the Party Pro Halloween store on Flamingo near I-215. “About three weeks ago.”
She said there was intense interest in presidential characters this year. McCain masks went almost as fast as Obama’s. The George Bush masks are long gone, too.
And while no one cared enough to ask for a Joe Biden outfit, the other vice presidential candidate was popular.
“We never did have Sarah Palin masks, but everybody and their brother asks about stuff for her,” Misch said. “Glasses, pins, wigs, whatever.”
And speaking of Palin, the newest marketing ploy to use her face is condoms.
A New York company, Practice Safe Policy, recently added a condom wrapped in Palin’s image to its lineup of existing prophylactics featuring McCain and Obama.
There are also coffee mugs, T-shirts, candy, bobblehead dolls, and even election ringtones for sale out there.
UNLV marketing professor Angeline Close said that sort of thing is normal business.
There’s even an academic term for it: affect transfer.
That means folks who get enjoyment out of one thing can transfer that enjoyment to things associated with it.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans, for example, might like Budweiser and Mountain Dew because they’ve sponsored his race cars.
Interested voters might associate good thoughts with a convenience store that’s paying special attention to them.
“That’s why 7-Eleven is doing that,” Close said. “You think, ‘I love politics. They love politics. I love 7-Eleven.’ ”
The chain has long had a promotion tied to elections featuring red or blue coffee cups — blue for Obama Democrats, red for McCain Republicans.
The chain, which has stores in 30 states, says Obama is leading nationwide in coffee cup sales 60 percent to 40 percent. The results in Nevada are similar, 64 to 36.
These kind of mock polls are a popular way of getting a business’ name out there.
Internet retailer Amazon.com has a red vs. blue tracking map on its Web site noting which political books are selling best. The map indicates right-leaning books are outselling lefty books. Obama’s book, however, is outselling McCain’s, the retailer says.
Halloween retailer buycostumes.com claims sales of its presidential masks have predicted the past two elections. This year, Obama masks outsold McCain’s 55 percent to 45 percent.
Travel Web site vegas.com is offering discounts to folks who choose a candidate while booking hotel rooms. Their polling has Obama up 42 percent to 38 percent over McCain.
A local bakery that’s selling red and blue cookies reported that Obama had a slight lead earlier this week.
A less tasty poll is being taken at an Ohio animal shelter. The shelter partnered with a radio station and outfitted the cat area with a red litter box and a blue litter box. The results so far for the “kitty caucus,” according news reports earlier this week, had McCain up by one, um, “vote.”
Source: Close, Angeline G., Anjala Krishen, and Michael S. LaTour (2009). “This Event is Me!: How Consumer-Event Congruity Leverages Sponsorship,” Journal of Advertising Research, 49 (3), 271-284.