This week and next week, ASICentral.com is offering full coverage of the promotional product scenes at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. This week we are in Cleveland for the RNC. Next week we will be in Philadelphia for the DNC. Visit ASICentral.com throughout both weeks for articles and photo galleries of the promos at these major political events.
The Republican Party has taken over downtown Cleveland, as politicians, delegates, protesters and members of the media gathered for the first day of the 2016 Republican National Convention. Among the partisan fervor and famous faces were vendors squeezed against security fences, offering an assortment of patriotic, hilarious and borderline malicious promotional products.
A slew of T-shirts, hats, stickers and pins were available on every corner, the majority praising Donald Trump and condemning Hillary Clinton. However, a couple of entrepreneurs from North Carolina, Neal Zipser and Dan Schad, brought a sense of humor to the event. Last week they launched PICDolls.com, an online store for red, white and blue stuffed animals that tell jokes when you push their hands. “They’re politically incorrect, but they’re not dirty,” Zipser said. Phil E. Buster, a plush elephant, mocks Clinton and the Democrats while Ralph A. Rendum, a plush donkey, busts on Trump and the Republicans. “We have demented minds,” Zipser laughed. The dolls sell for $20 each and two for $30. “Maybe we can let go of the political correctness, make people laugh and make a little money at the same time,” Zipser said.
It was probably best that the plush roasters were out of earshot from the Nuns on the Bus, a social justice group giving out pamphlets and free homemade lemonade. “It’s like a picnic,” said Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the ministry. “At picnics, you talk with one another and listen.” The group has travelled across the country asking people about their election concerns and hopes for November. “We’re mending the gaps and weaving the fabric of the country just by giving folks something sweet to drink.”
On the other side of the religious spectrum, Marc Daniels, owner of online outlet Marc’s Garden Jubilee, marched along the streets waving kippahs in the air. Since September, the Illinois native has sold traditional Jewish head coverings with the candidates’ names emblazoned across the top. “I used the Iowa town halls as my own advertising campaign,” Daniels said. “I went to each candidate and said ‘I’d love to present you with your own Hebrew English yarmulke.’” Daniels said he sold more than 100 since arriving in Cleveland for the convention. “A member of the House of Lords in England bought a Donald Trump autographed kippah for 100 bucks,” Daniels said.