Obama's favorite suits, snacks might become yours, too
|||Obama's Hawaii boyhood homes drawing gawkers|
By BRUCE HOROVITZ
By BRUCE HOROVITZ
Every president has his favorite stuff. And it doesn't take long for the nation to become enamored with a president's pet things and habits, particularly a celebrity president such as Barack Obama.
With Ronald Reagan, it was jelly beans. Jimmy Carter munched peanuts. And George W. Bush is a pretzel lover. The election of Obama will bring a new cadre of often-upscale brand names to the White House.
For marketers, it's the chance of a lifetime. Among the brands Obama has used, worn, eaten, sipped or driven in public: Hart Schaffner Marx suits, Black Forest Berry Honest Tea, Fran's Chocolates, Planters Trail Mix and the Ford Escape hybrid sport utility vehicle.
He also drinks lots of bottled water and enjoys basketball. He loves music by Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen and has said his favorite novel is Ernest Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls." Every one of these could see a boost in interest with his election.
"You can participate in this history-changing moment by buying the stuff he buys," says Carl Moog, an advertising and consumer psychologist. "It's almost like unpaid product placement. Barack Obama is a huge celebrity."
While most marketers won't publicly tout the Obama connection, many will try to create online chatter, so it appears consumer interest is spontaneous, predicts Renee White Fraser, a marketing psychologist.
Key Obama family brands:
Wife Michelle often wears J. Crew clothes. She wore — and talked about — a $330 outfit she bought online during a "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" appearance. Shoppers snapped the look up. "All the items were gone the next day," says Jenna Lyons, creative chief at J. Crew.
For sweets, the Obama's eat Fran's Chocolates, an artisan chocolate brand from Seattle. The president-elect prefers Fran's Smoked Sea Salt Caramel in Milk Chocolate ($24 for a 16-piece box); wife Michelle prefers dark chocolate, says Sean Seedlock, Fran's marketing chief.