I was watching the American Heroes Channel (formerly the Military Channel) this morning when a commercial for something called a “Trumpy Bear” appeared.
It’s not unusual for a president to have products marketed in his name. “Chia Obama” was actually quite popular in its day. But what makes the Trumpy Bear commercial different is the over-the-top, unabashed appeal to the flag and patriotism.
In fact, it’s so campy that there’s a question in at least some people’s minds whether Trumpy Bear was meant as a serious tribute to the president, or an anti-Trump sendup.
It’s a plush, dark brown teddy bear wearing a white collar, white cuffs and a long red tie. It has a comb-over-like sweep of blond hair that blows in the wind when he rides on a motorcycle.
Zip open the secret pocket on his back and pull out an American flag blanket, which a woman in the infomercial enthusiastically snuggles up with.
He costs two payments of $19.95, plus shipping and handling.
Trumpy Bear is perplexing people who have watched the infomercial but can’t tell if the product is real or a parody cut from “Saturday Night Live” cloth. Perhaps that’s because Trumpy Bear “loves to go to the golf course.”
Thus, this has been the typical reaction to Trumpy Bear on social media: What the?
Or as @KolbyPanzanaro tweeted: “Dear god they made a trumpy bear.”
“Depending on what circles you run in, you may not be aware that Trumpy Bear is a thing,” writes Simon Dumenco at Ad Age.
“Or, if you are aware it’s a thing, you may not be certain what kind of thing it is — i.e., a real product or a spoof.”
The two-minute commercial was posted on YouTube in July, Dumenco reports. He found that the infomercial began running Oct. 13 on Animal Planet, Discovery, Grit TV and INSP (Inspiration Ministries.)
Now it’s also running on the Outdoor Channel, the American Heroes Channel and a few others.
“The type of shows it’s been airing on — including reruns of ‘Cops,’ ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ and ‘Bonanza’ — suggests that Trumpy Bear is not meant to be taken as a joke by its targeted TV viewing audience,” Dumenco writes.
The company that sells Trumpy Bear, Exceptional Products, is apparently very serious — at least about making money. Their appeal is to both pro- and anti-Trump camps. For all the flag waving and patriotic sentiments, the depiction of a former Marine riding with Trumpy Bear on his motorcycle is either slavish devotion to Trump or an effort to poke fun at the president:
God bless America and god bless Trumpy Bear.
Trumpy Bear sits proudly at the front of the motorcycle for all the world to see and loves to cruise with his brother.
8th Engineer Marine Support Battalion
I am a former marine and I am proud to have Trumpy Bear ride by my side. Once a marine always a marine.
Everyone knows, Trumpy Bear loves to go to the golf course.
(Man riding in golf cart with Trumpy Bear seated next to him.)
When I ride with Trumpy Bear he makes my golf game great again. Thank you Trumpy Bear.
I admit to getting cynical in my old age, but to shamelessly appropriate the flag and patriotism to sell any product is wrong. Nevertheless, it’s apparent that the company doesn’t take itself very seriously. For those anti-Trumpers who want to purchase a Trumpy Bear for nefarious purposes, the company offers this warning:
Sorry, we cannot accept returns of intentionally damaged bears.
If you’re curious about the response to Trumpy Bear, no sales figures are available, but the YouTube video of the commercial has gotten nearly 400,000 hits since the product premiered in July.