As an iconic century-old toy dominated the political landscape thanks to a gaffe from a Mitt Romney advisor, the family-owned company that manufactures the Etch A Sketch tried their best Wednesday to stay above the fray, issuing a statement expressing their delight that their device was “DRAWING attention” and “SHAKING up the national debate.”
Nice try guys.
A TPM look at campaign finance records shows that Bill Killgallon, chairman of the Ohio Art, has donated to Republican Rep. Robert Latta, Republican Sen. Rob Portman and unsuccessful Republican congressional candidate Steve Buehrer in the past several years.
But when it comes to the 2012 Republican presidential primary, Killgallon is a blank slate. He didn’t take up a chance to make his mark on the race, failing to respond to questions TPM posed to his secretary about who he’s supporting.
No matter which candidate draws the chairman’s support, Ohio Art marketing director (and Killgallon nephew) Martin Killgallon told TPM that Etch A Sketch — or “EAS” as company insiders like him call it — is politically neutral.
The makers of Etch A Sketch, the younger Killgallon said, “have left and right knobs which speaks to both parties… someone once said, together, we can draw in circles,” he wrote, adding in a smiley face emoticon for good measure.
Killgallon said “it is fun to be involved in a serious discussion in a light hearted way” and said they will be watching Etch A Sketch sales closely to see if there’s a spike.
“EAS has had its share of [public relations] in past but nothing that has taken off so quickly in our viral world of today,” he said in an email. “[I]t has been fun to watch.”
Here’s the full statement issued yesterday by Nicole Gresh, a spokeswoman for Ohio Art:
Happy to see Etch A Sketch, an American classic toy, is DRAWING attention with political candidates as a cultural icon and important piece of our society. A profound toy, highly recognized and loved by all, is now SHAKING up the national debate. Nothing is as quintessentially American as Etch A Sketch and a good old fashion political debate.
We are pleased with the added attention being drawn to Etch A Sketch which is truly one of the most recognizable, iconic and fun toys ever developed. As one of the most classic toys of all time, Etch A Sketch has always sold particularly well with today’s consumer. It is too early to tell, but we are hopeful to see if there is an uptake in sales given this recent exposure.
The Ohio Art Company has been in the toy business for more than 100 years and Etch A Sketch for over five decades. Our company values bringing smiles to kids faces and providing hours of fun playtime for young kids.