What do these baby products have in common?

Photo of nine children's products beautifully arranged, from a diaper cake and nursing hat to a bath towel and a play teepee imprinted with the United States flag.

I know you’re looking at that teepee emblazoned with the US flag and thinking, "These must be the 2008 Ironic Children’s Products Award winners!" Why else would you imprint a symbol of Native American culture with the modern day flag of the invading country that waged a genocidal war upon native peoples?

Playmobil thought it a wise choice too.

Ahh, but no. The explanation is far simpler. These products were recently touted as being gifted to vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

[No one pointed me to a toy McCain Plane, so this is me giving equal time after discussing Barack-in-a-Box a couple weeks ago.]

The gifting event held over the weekend has been dubbed a "baby-shower-to-go" for Palin’s 17-year-old daughter Bristol.
Between a campaign rally in Pennsylvania and appearing on Saturday
Night Live
, who has the time to plan a baby shower? So the gifts were given to Palin to give
to Bristol.

It’s unclear under what circumstances the gifts were transferred. I infer from a news release that they were given directly to Palin, but no photos (rightly so) of Palin posing with the gifts seem to be around.

Here’s the gift roster:

If all of this seems strange, know that a common marketing technique is to give free baby products to Hollywood celebrities, especially in a gifting room at a big event. A
publicist snaps photos of the celebrities posing with the products, for use online, and the small-time entrepreneurs hope to dear God that
paparazzis later snap photos of the celebrity babies using those
products in public.

I call ‘em small-time because you don’t see Fisher-Price, Thomas and
Friends or Ravensburger courting celebrities. While I hate the idea of
rich people receiving freebies, it’s smart guerrilla marketing, pushing
your dime when you can’t afford a million-dollar advertising campaign.

The interesting aspect for me is that Palin has celebrity-like
status and these entrepreneurs are courting a political candidate. The
group’s news release states:

"When the group heard about Sarah
Palin becoming the Vice Presidential Candidate, and her daughter
Bristol expecting Sarah’s first Grand-Baby during this whirlwind of
events, their first thought was, ‘We need to help Governor Palin with
her daughter’s baby shower.’  Although the group has varied political
views, it was unanimous that they gift Governor Palin.

I bet they are banking on a McCain/Palin victory with the prospect of these products being spotted in the White House.

Can the group straddle the fence
saying it has varied political views and it just wants to help out a
new grandmother? We’re talking about the most contentious political
race in forever with a lot of people on both sides thinking the future
of this country is at stake.

Imagine being an Obama supporter and then profiting from
a product placement with the second most prominent Republican in the
country. Is that realistic? Maybe money is everything.

And thus concludes my second, and hopefully last, politically-related post.


3 Responses to “What do these baby products have in common?”

  1. Carrie says:

    When did “gifted” become a verb? I hear this all the time. What’s wrong with good old “given”?

    October 22nd, 2008 at 11:51 am

  2. AJ says:

    It’s a simplification of language. “Given as a gift” becomes “gifted.” I agree though that gifted is a bad term when something is expected or hoped for in return, such as an endorsement or endorsement photo or the gift-giving will be used for financial gain.

    For that matter, why are gifted students called such? Because God bestowed special abilities upon them, or because they were born with special genetic predispositions or because they were raised with a study ethic and worked hard to achieve?

    October 22nd, 2008 at 12:30 pm

  3. can't believe the desperation says:

    I am familiar with the person who “gifted” these items and all I can say is “why so desperate?”. She is always giving away her products to celebs in hopes of getting that “in the spotlight” moment. This isn’t going to get her any new sales, just press giving gifts to a VP who’s probably going to lose. How is that helping her company? There is something awkward about a teepee with the stars and stripes on it. Not something I would ever purchase eventhough I am Republican. Kinda just feels wrong. A little like Sarah Palin.

    October 23rd, 2008 at 8:29 am

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