Feature: Election 2012

Romney Camp's Blunder Gives Etch A Sketch an Unexpected Boost

Author: Jennifer Hammond
Published: March 24, 2012 at 5:29 am

Yet another setback has befallen Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, courtesy of some unfortunate remarks made by his strategist, Eric Fehmstrom. And it is just this setback which has meant a bump in sales for a classic toy made by Ohio Art.

In an interview Wednesday, Eric Fehmstrom was asked about how Mitt Romney's political strategies would compare between the fall and now, if he were to sew up the Republican nomination. Fehmstrom suggested that Romney's policy positions would shift come fall. As Romney struggles to distance himself from his reputation as a political "flip-flopper", Fehmstrom said,  "You hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again."

The fallout from the "Etch a Sketch" comments was swift. Romney's Republican rival Rick Santorum held up an "Etch a Sketch" at a political rally in Mandeville, Louisiana and stated "You are not looking at someone who is the Etch A Sketch candidate." GOP rival Newt Gingrich chimed in saying that "having an Etch A Sketch as your campaign model raises every doubt about where we're going."

So while Mitt Romney seeks once again to clean up after the fallout of another campaign gaffe, one winner has clearly emerged--Ohio Art, the company that makes Etch-A-Sketch.

The bright red toy with a screen and two plain white knobs, has sold over 100 million units since being introduced in 1960. The stock for Ohio Art tripled in value this week, closing at $9.65. Stores which stock the toy have reported a major jump in sales this week, says Ohio Art chairman Bill Killgallon. Bill Southard, who handles promotion for "Etch a Sketch", admitted the publicity associated with the the Romney camp's comments has been an expected winfall. “It’s kind of like a Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky amount of media interest", said Southard. “This is the kind of publicity flurry you usually only see in a crisis or a product malfunction.”

The Ohio company shipped a supply of the bright red drawing toys to each of the Republican candidates. Romney's rivals gleefully brandished the toys at recent political speehes. Santorum's staffers handed out miniature models of the "Etch a Sketch" to reporters this week.

Ohio Art chairman Killgallon described politics as being "like an Etch a Sketch. There’s both a left and a right knob and if they work together they can draw a circle.”

Image courtesy of DonkeyHotey




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Article Author: Jennifer Hammond

I am a full-time health professional, part-time blogger and freelance writer. Located in Canada, but interests are global. Interests include health, media, technology, sports, consumer behavior, science and media to name a few.

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