Vote “Yes” for Promo!

We are knee-deep into election season.

With this comes the great joy of ever evolving promotional items that the Presidential candidates sell on their perspective websites.

And I am not talking about the Guaca Bowle that Jeb Bush was selling on his online campaign store or the “Fillibuster Starter” pack that former presidential candidate Rand Paul was selling. (featuring a t-shirt and bumper sticker that read, “The NSA knows i bought this Rand Paul sticker”) No really, I didn’t just make any of that up. 

Let’s highlight the creative and useful items that have found there way onto the sites of the 2016 Presidential candidates. The ones that will have you saying, “that would make a great gift” or “wow, that is a good idea!”.

I have to start with Senator Marco Rubio, who is still selling his “Marco Polo” shirt via his campaign site, despite having suspending his campaign. Not so wacky, but creative and hilarious in and of itself.  Kudos to the person who thoughts this one up!

Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton made waves shortly after announcing her candidacy last year by selling a “pantsuit” t-shirt for ladies via her campaign website. I have recently visited her site, and while the pantsuit shirt remains, she has chosen offer promotional items that feel a bit more retail. She is selling distressed t’s, lapel pins and socks, a Tory Burch t-shirt and tote bags with a retail signature style. Even including a “homeware” category, featuring a pillow, mugs and a frame.

Not to be outdone, candidate Donald Trump, who spent over half a million in February on promotional products alone, is churning out t-shirts and signage for his rallies. His “Make America Great Again” caps are now being sold in various colors and styles.    Cruz-BBQ-Pack

However, if you already believe America is great because we get to have BBQ’s, you may want to check out the Ted Cruz bbq pack. This set features a Cruz 2016 cooler, spatula and “Cruzball” koozie 4-pack. Oh, and don’t forget your Cruz 2016 paper plates for your BBQ!

If all of this is making you “feel the Bern”, then don’t worry! Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has you covered. His promotional items mirror fellow candidate Hilary Clinton’s items as more traditional and retail-friendly. Outside of his “Feel the Bern” stickers, mugs and pins, the most creative item was a tote bag reading, “I’m totes votin’ for Bernie.” Yea, it left me hanging out to dry too.

We still have a way’s to go in election season, so hold on tight. Candidates have implemented the promotional items they sell into their campaigns more so this year than before. You may want to grab a piece of it too, as this is surely becoming an election to remember.





The Shark Tank Effect

One of my guilty pleasures is without a doubt binge-watching episodes of Shark Tank.

Selfies for your pooch!

The bravery and ideas that many people bring to the table and the risk taken to get to that point has truly captivated a major audience.  Many people find themselves drawn in by the high stakes and stories of people putting their livelihoods on the line in front of a panel of major moguls.

Coatchex dominance

What is even more interesting to watch is what happens following the episodes debut. Whether the contestant scores a big deal with one of the moguls or walks away with nothing, the “Shark Tank effect” will take hold. After the show debuts, suddenly you have had anywhere from 8 to 10 million sets of eyes on you and your idea/product. And the results are astonishing. Company’s sales sky rocket while the phones ring endlessly. Simply showcasing your idea in front of a few people is nerve-wracking. Then you show case it in front of an audience of millions and the stakes are even higher. TJ Hale is as entrepreneur and produces a Shark Tank podcast, and he believes simply appearing on the show is worth anywhere from “$4 million to $5 million in marketing exposure.”

One of my favorite stories and example of this effect taking hold was with former Shark Tank contestant, Derek Pacque. His show aired in 2012, showcasing his business CoatChex, a ticketless coat checking system. He turned down an offer from panel member Mark Cuban (a $200,000 offer and handing over a 33% stack in his company) stating it “wouldn’t allow him to grow his business.” Following the episodes TV debut, he received so many inquiries and traffic that he packed up and moved his business to New York City. Since then, staff has gone from 28 to a cool 200 and revenue continues to double or triple compared to previous years. Exposure is just what Derek needed.

Simply put, this “Shark Tank effect” has become such a powerful and unique platform that can you benefit you beyond nabbing a money deal. Viewers become truly invested in the story and the idea being sold, so much so that contestants will reap those benefits for many years beyond the actual “fifteen minutes of fame.”


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