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Etch Sketch Gaffe

March 22, 2012 by staff 

Etch Sketch Gaffe, Mitt Romney’s campaign is probably wishing at this point that political statements were as easy to erase as the gray doodles on an Etch A Sketch, but the toy’s century-old manufacturer is enjoying the unexpected publicity.

As the candidate’s campaign went into damage control mode after a top advisor’s remark yesterday, executives at Ohio Art Company were thrilled at the sudden surge of interest in the iconic toy.

“This is the first time I’ve seen Etch A Sketch go viral so quickly,” said Martin Killgallon, senior vice president of marketing and product development.

The Killgallons — Martin’s father Larry is the company’s president — are a majority owner in Ohio Arts, and the family history with the company dates to 1955. Both father and son say it’s still too early to tell if the Etch A Sketches being waved around at rallies by supporters of Romney’s competitors will translate into a sales boom.

One buyer told the company this morning that it sold roughly double the number of average units yesterday, Larry Killgallon said, but spring is a historically slow time for toy sales.

He said he’d be happy if Etch A Sketch’s moment in the election cycle spotlight gets people to pay a little more attention to politics. “We hope it gets people’s awareness up so they go out and vote in November.”

Even if the Romney campaign’s gaffe doesn’t lead to a sales spike, Martin Killgallon said Ohio Arts is more than just Etch A Sketch. Founded in 1908, the company’s roots are in metal lithography and packaging, and the production of things like popcorn tins and shaving cream cans still account for around 40 percent of the company’s sales.

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