WASHINGTON, DC — With the news that President Obama’s devotion to his BlackBerry – which the Secret Service wants to remove from his hands before it harms him or compromises national security by threatening to reveal which sex lines he calls – is worth up to $50 millions in free publicity to Blackberry maker RIMM (motto: “Don’t be afraid … you can’t get addicted if you just use it once”), other companies are looking to cash in on the marketing power of presidents, both living and dead. Here’s a few ideas being kicked around:
George W. Bush: While the current president’s fitness routine could help the manufacturer of his mountain bike, the maker of his helmet is hoping George keeps the name to himself, since many people believe Bush’s economic policy was affected by falling off his bike too many times. Bush’s brush-clearing activities on his ranch are expected to help producers raise money for yet another “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” sequel.
Bill Clinton: Clinton’s escapades with Monica Lewinsky hurt the condom business and the pizza company whose goods were the other ones she was delivering, but his endorsement could be worth a lot to the doctor who injects his lips with a special collagen laced with penicillin. Clinton’s name would also mean big bucks to a certain chain of cheap motels.
Gerald Ford: His name matches a certain car company, but a photo of the bumbling president crashing a Taurus while trying to pull into the White House garage would do more for Chrysler or GM.
Richard Nixon: Famous for another fifteen minutes because of the “Frost/Nixon” film, Nixon’s name could help the makers of eavesdropping devices and other spy equipment, especially with Dick Cheney leaving office.
Herbert Hoover: The name has never helped the vacuum cleaner company or the dam, but old Herb-the Depression-starter’s face on a new 25 dollar bill could be just the thing to scare consumers into getting rid of them by spending them in stores and getting the economy moving again.
William Howard Taft: The corpulent commander-in-chief would be a great pitchman for suspenders, elastic pants and big-and-tall shops, but his real endorsement power would be for Jenny Craig, pairing his “before” photo with Wilford Brimley as the “after.”
Abraham Lincoln: Lincoln’s love of the theater might be just the thing to boost ticket sales on Broadway, but only if theaters promise to ban any ticket holders named Booth. And a small adjustment to his monument would do wonders for the sagging barcalounger market.
George Washington: Dollar menus, quarter gumball machines and Georgetown University could all make money off the first president, but the biggest winner might be the shoe company bringing back big-buckle shoes with the extra heft for long-distance tossing at dictators, tyrants and Iraqi news reporters.