Don’t be too surprised if you unwrap a Trumpy Bear this holiday season.
A teddy bear with a tuft of orange hair and a red tie meant to resemble President Trump — which can be yours for just two installments of $19.95, plus shipping and handling — is cracking up and, in some cases, horrifying the internet more than a year after it first hit the market. An ad for the product reportedly ran on Fox News this week and turned the spotlight on Trumpy Bear once again.
The bear marked its first birthday on June 14, 2018 — Flag Day — on Facebook. By then, Jimmy Kimmel had already mentioned the bear on his late-night show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, during an August 2017 segment about Trump products. Ad Age had announced in October 2017 that the product was being supported with a national TV ad campaign on a handful of channels.
Nevertheless, the Trumpy Bear, complete with its own flag-print blanket tucked inside, continues to astound those noticing it for the first time. People can’t seem to wrap their brains around the fact that it’s real. Snopes did its part by confirming that, yes, it’s an actual thing.
Much of this disbelief can be traced back to the commercial, which has been compared to one of the faux advertisements you’d expect to see on Saturday Night Live. The dramatic voice and images, the patriotic music playing in the background, and the actors holding the bear everywhere from a construction site (the bear wears his own hardhat!) to a motorcycle to the golf course goes down in the campy commercial hall of fame.
Elliott Brackett, vice president of Dallas-based Exceptional Products, the company behind the bear, told Yahoo Entertainment that both supporters and detractors have bought the bear.
“And then we also get death threats,” Brackett said. “And we’ve actually had death threats and what were deemed to be terroristic threats and desires to have the president assassinated, which we duly forwarded on to the authorities, and they took care of it. I’m shocked that people take time out to spew hate from their busy days. Because it’s a teddy bear. It’s a stuffed toy. It’s almost like I’m knifing their mother personally. It’s really weird.”
Online commenters have noted that the bear is made in China, and Brackett confirmed, that some of the components of the bear are made in China. “It would be assembled domestically of foreign components even at best,” he said. “The cost would have made it so our retail would have been around $150 bucks and, you know, we would have sold tens of them.”
As it is, Brackett said his company plans to keep making Trumpy Bear, even though it was pitched as a limited edition.
“They are being made; we changed them up a bit,” he said. “They were actually limited runs of exact configurations, but we fully expect this thing to just have a life cycle. We don’t know what the life cycle is, but we expect it to have a life cycle, like all our products do.”
While the purchase of the bear includes a 30-day money-back guarantee, the ad notes that there are exceptions. “Sorry, we cannot accept returns of intentionally damaged bears,” it says in the fine print.
So is that line a real thing or another bit of humor?
“It’s a little bit of both,” he said. “We’ve had some people … look like they decapitate it and send it back for a refund.” Those requests aren’t honored.
Brackett insisted that the bear is not about politics for the company.
“It was truly and totally a marketing thing. If I could have made a Bernie bear simultaneously during the election, I would’ve made it. A Hillary bear, I would have made it,” he said. “But the simple fact is, it takes a long time to make them. They’re big, they’re bulky, and we didn’t have the ability to market a full suite of politically — I guess you could say, offend everybody — bears. We don’t ask [about] our inventors’ politics, and they don’t ask ours. They just want us to market products.”
Although Trumpy Bear has been around for a while, social media continues to have a lot to say about it.
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