WASHINGTON--Yoga pants. Hoodies. Wine and Martini glasses. Kids apparel. Cat and dog collars. Basketball shirts. Spatulas. An apron that says "Fired up and ready to grill," a wry reference to the famous Barack Obama campaign slogan.
When it comes to raising money off of campaign merchandise, President Obama's team is taking its cues from top marketers, outflanking the GOP competition with a wide variety of innovative branded products. While all the 2012 White House hopefuls sell "official" t-shirts, mugs and buttons, neither Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Michelle Bachman nor Ron Paul in their on-line shops offer the variety of merchandise stocked in the Obama store.
And new for the 2012 campaign, the Obama team is not only selling stuff --all made in the U.S.-- on-line, the team also produced a print catalog that could rival Lands' End or J. Crew. The smiling model on the catalog cover wearing 2012 Obama gear is Rufus Gifford, Obama's National Finance Director.
Political fund-raising comes in many forms--exclusive dinners with a candidate or a top surrogate for major donors, direct mail and on-line appeals, lower cost rallies and receptions and the sale of merchandise. Each merchandise "sale" is a campaign donation with the product really a premium for the contributor.
The stainless steel spatula with the iconic Obama rising sun logo is $40; the apron, $45; martini glass set $30; the baby onesie, $20; cat and dog collars $12; kids for Obama t-shirt $25; hoodie, $55 and yoga pants, $35 and the Obama 44 basketball jersey, $95.
Paul's unique offerings are branded Doodle MP3 speakers for $42.80 and Hi-Top Pro-Keds for $69.90.
And taking a cue from Christmas merchandisers who know how to move product, the Obama store is offering a 20 percent off deal until Dec. 17.