The Etch A Sketch Aftermath: Winners and Losers

Etch A Sketch rode a political gaffe to a bonafide PR win. Sensing an opportunity, they released this creative statement after Mitt Romney advisor Eric Gehrnstrom used the antique toy as a way to describe what happens when we move from primary season into the general election.

Shortly after the interview, both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum made appearances holding up an Etch A Sketch. They’ve kept up the Etch A Sketch-related attacks for days. Their supporters did the same. Santorum’s spokesperson Alice Stewart handed out the toys at a Romney gathering and then waved one on Anderson Cooper 360°.

As a result, Etch A Sketch’s stock skyrocketed. Is the recession so bad that we’re taking stock cues from bad metaphors?

Bigger question: Have Santorum and Gingrich benefited from their antics?

Probably not. As many have said, these things blow over, especially when people are heading into the weekend. And this is not the first time Mitt Romney’s flip flopping has come up. Whether because of their reluctance to attack Romney on his record more forcefully or their inability to capitalize on those attacks, Romney’s opponents have been coming up short. They aren’t going to make any headway waving around Etch A Sketches.

In fact, Santorum is now taking heat because he went so far as to suggest that a vote for President Obama is better than for “Etch A Sketch Romney.”

“This is just another attempt by the Romney Campaign to distort and distract the media and voters from the unshakeable fact that many of Romney’s policies mirror Barack Obama’s,” Santorum responded. These guys can’t do anything right.

Still, the real loser in all of this is Romney. He tried to squash it by saying, “The issues I’m running on will be exactly the same. I’m running as a conservative Republican, I was a conservative Republican governor, I’ll be running as a conservative Republican nominee.” And it does seem sort of silly, all this coverage for a stupid comment made by a candidate’s advisor.

But CNN thinks the gaffe will stick because it’s catchy, and it conjures something immediate and recognizable with voters. Like a motto or tagline. The Huffington Post agrees, offering a list of reasons why.

Besides Ohio Art Co, the other winner in this situation could, in fact, be the Obama campaign. VP Joe Biden is already using the gaffe in his speeches.

[Image: Eric Gay, AP]

Publish date: March 23, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT