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.
With 1,725 delegates in his favor, Donald Trump was nominated by the Republican Party for president of the United States on Tuesday night. A raucous celebration erupted inside the Quicken Loans Arena and the frenzy spilled out onto the streets of downtown Cleveland, Ohio, where a variety of promotional products featured “The Apprentice” star.
Vendors mobbed every corner with outrageous t-shirts, hats, pins, even decks of Trump-themed playing cards. But only one product could offer the taste of victory: Trump Flakes.
The red boxes have a Trump caricature thrusting his fist in the air, paraphrasing Tony the Tiger with “They’re Gr-r-reat Again!” Inside the packages is a knockoff brand of Frosted Flakes cereal. “We’ve sold 400 so far,” said Darrin Maconi of New Jersey. “But we only made 1,000. If we knew how popular these would be, we would have made more.”
Maconi, a Stockton University graduate with a degree in finance, based the idea off of a high school project. It’s now contributing to his business partner Dan Malafronte’s tuition at Brookdale Community College, where he’s majoring in business. “We feel that politics is so serious that it’s nice to have a little humor involved,” Malafronte said. It costs $25 to make each box and the duo sells them for $40 each. There is also a Clinton Crunch brand available, but understandably, that wasn’t flying off the shelves during the convention.
Selling novelty cereal may sound like a silly idea to pay off student loans, but Brian Chesky did the same thing at the 2008 Democratic National Convention with $40 Obama O’s and Cap’n McCain’s to fund his pet project: Airbnb.
Inspired by Chesky’s hustle, Hayden Whetstone of Florida decided to fund his own tech startup by bringing promotional attire to Cleveland: Trumpy Socks. The one-size-fits-all footwear comes in black-and-grey with Trump’s face plastered above the ankle as stars and stripes ride up the calf. The socks sell for $20.16 because of the 2016 election. They’ll “Make Your Feet Great Again,” Whetstone says.
Having a history in retail and a background in graphic design, Whetstone sourced a supplier on Alibaba, created a prototype of the socks, paid for targeted Facebook advertising and then earned more than $3,000 in pre-orders. “As soon as we set up today, we sold a pair,” Whetstone said. “People think they’re hilarious.” For more presidential candidate socks, visit trumpysocks.com.