Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Everything Must Go

It was inevitable.  The Obama campaign online merchandise bazaar is closing down at the close of business November 6, 2012, win, lose, or draw.   The same is true for the Romney site I assume, but they haven’t admitted as much to me via email notification yet.  Neither has Obama officially, but I can read between the lines.  Obama it appears is planning for the future.  “Forward” to savings!  My email today included an invitation to visit the site for specially marked sale items, and the first sign of sale prices starts the slippery slope towards closing the doors.

I’ve been in retail.  I know what that means.  Everything is full mark up, then discounted, then liquidated.  No returns after such and such date.  No exchanges.  Everything must go.  Merchandise with a date on it is always an iffy proposition, and campaign swag tends to reference the election year.

So I visited the Obama online store while I still could to see what I could learn about the campaign:  

Women’s cut logo short sleeve shirts were marked down by 33%.  Could the gender gap be closing and Obama needs to pander more for the women’s vote by offering such deep discounts?  If the soccer moms aren’t shopping on his site, this could be an electoral bellweather.

The designer section (yes, the site Fox News told me was for the welfare queens and food stamp recipients has a designer section) included Diane Von Furstenburg bags, on sale.  The flag motif tote was originally priced more for the 1% than for the 47%, so it should come as no surprised that inventory was not moving with sufficient velocity.  Besides, burning a $50 flag bag seems excessive, even for a progressive. 

I was surprised to see a $25 Obama logo golf ball set.  If there was a candidate who did not need to provide the public with reminders about his love for the game of golf, it’s Barack.  It would be like Romney selling rooftop dog carriers or custom car elevators on his site.  At some point, a consultant has to step in and explain the power of perception in politics to the e-commerce team.

Speaking of rooftop dog carriers, may I interest you in a youth size Bo the White House Dog sweatshirt?  How could you vote against a candidate with such a cute four legged companion?  The only thing missing with this special offer was a retro vinyl copy of Devo’s latest single “Don’t Roof Rack Me, Bro!”  

Obama 2012 has gone all in on the pet special interest groups.  You can buy dog bowls, dog collars and dog leashes all that show your support for Renewed Hope and More Change.  This Halloween, shoppers will shell out an estimated $370 million to costume their dogs, so perhaps the campaign is barking up a lucrative tree with this merchandise strategy.  Psychologically it’s a short trip from Man’s Best Friend to Your Best Friend in the White House. 

In contrast, the Romney campaign completely ignores the registered voters who like to accessorize their pets and they do so at their peril.  .  In a dog-eat-dog political world, you’re either the lead dog or the view never changes.  Perhaps a consultant did steer Mitt’s team away from any dog references on his site, lest the GOP web surfer be inadvertently reminded of poor Seamus on the roof.

I think you can go too far, however.  The “I Purr for Michelle” cat collar on Obama’s site is a tad risqué for the FLOTUS.  I think they’ve jumped the shark with that choice.  When the jokes write themselves, it’s time to pull the product off the shelves.

I considered buying the $40 grill spatula with the circle horizon logo and 2012 cut into the flat end.  It’s perfect for the angry white suburban male on your list this season.  Pair it with an apron from Romney that reads “Grill, Baby, Grill!”, and you have the makings of the perfect bipartisan cook-out.

There is a glaring omission on the Obama site.  No hats, no caps, no head gear of any kind is available.  I don’t know what this means but I am certain that Newt Gingrich can explain its’ historical connection to hatless socialists who staged the Kenyan Uprising of 1826.

The glaring omission on the Romney site was the absence of a designer section.  It could be that the fashion industry has turned up its’ collectivist nose at the vulture capitalist from Massachusetts, or it could be that anything that reminds the shopper that Mitt has more wealth in his walk-in closets than you have in your 401(k) could be spun into a negative for the candidate. 
I love end of season sales.  The inventory must be cleared out to make room on the Internet shelves for the Chris Christie 2016 elastic waist gym shorts and the Hillary Clinton 2016 nutcrackers.  Holiday seasonal shopping always seems to come earlier and earlier, doesn’t it?

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