We are familiar with product placements in movies and TV shows, but are they now showing up in political statements? Maybe not, but don't tell that to the makers of Etch A Sketch, or Mitt Romney.
Sales of the 1960-vintage drawing toy soared after a comment by Eric Fehrnstrom, communications director for the GOP presidential hopeful, referred to it as a metaphor describing how Romney would reset his campaign in the fall if he wins the Republican nomination.
"It's almost like an Etch A Sketch," Fehrnstrom said. "You kind of shake it up and restart it all over again."
Etch a Sketch may be an iconic toy that has lost its luster in the digital age, but that didn't stop the toy maker's PR firm, Southard Communications, from swinging into action. They turned it into a real-life Toy Story adventure – without Tom Hanks and Tim Allen as voice talents.
The PR pros kept Fehrnstrom's quote in the national news, while maintaining political neutrality, by sending an Etch a Sketch to all the leading presidential candidates, including President Obama. They also dispatched Etch a Sketches to talk shows to hand out to studio audiences, resulting in loads of free air time showing how the toy works while kindling old memories among post-Baby Boomers.