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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sarah Palin 'Phenomenon' Spikes Online Sales

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CNN reports that Sarah Palin related items being sold online has seen a massive spike in sales at two online outlets, Cafe Press and Ebay.
Whether it is Sarah Palin items or anti-Sarah Palin items, sales have spiked at two popular sites to obtain specialty items, Cafe Press and Ebay, which CNN refers to as a "phenomenon."

Since Palin was announced by John McCain to be his vice presidential running mate, sales at Ebay for Palin-related items have increased by 354 percent and in the same time frame, sales for the Democratic vice presidential running mate, Joe Biden, has decreased by 11 percent.

Cafe Press had 2,000 McCain/Palin products within hours of the announcement that she would be the GOP vice presidential pick, and now they have 323,000 Palin-related items, including "shirts with pit bulls wearing lipstick, designs made just for "hockey moms" and a wide selection of anti-Palin gear."

While hits online don't necessarily mean votes on Election Day, Harvard Business School professor John Quelch said the buzz surrounding Palin could at least cause some voters to give McCain a second look.

Obama has a lot of younger, center-left supporters, and "younger people obviously are more likely to openly express their political affiliations in terms of gear," said Quelch, co-author of "Greater Good: How Good Marketing Makes for Better Democracy."

If those on the center-right -- who Quelch says are less inclined to proclaim their political preferences on shirts -- start expressing their political leanings in increasing numbers, "that is really a very good indicator of momentum and energy," he said.

According to Amy Maniatis, vice president of marketing for CafePress, "The Palin phenomenon is just kind of indicative that she has added life to his campaign. Whether people like her or don't like her, they are expressing themselves about her."

Maniatis goes on to describe the phenomenon as the Black Friday in retail terms.

Black Friday is the reference to the Friday after Thanksgiving which some believe is the busiest shopping day of the year, although in reality it is the busiest day in terms of customer traffic, just no necessarily the busiest day in sale volume.