When the two-minute infomercial above was posted on YouTube in July, commenters rushed to declare it an epic trolling of the type of devoted Trump fans depicted in the ad (the most upvoted YouTube comment as of this writing is "This looks like a bad SNL skit"). But if it's a joke, it's an expensive joke; according to iSpot.tv, which has attention and conversion analytics from more than 7 million smart TV screens, Trumpy Bear is now backed by a national TV ad campaign. On Oct. 13, the two-minute infomercial began running on four networks: Animal Planet, Discovery, Grit TV and INSP (the "family entertainment programming" channel owned by Inspiration Ministries).
Over the past week, Trumpy Bear has expanded to 10 networks; the mix now includes the Outdoor Channel and the American Heroes Channel. To date, the ad has run 55 times, including five times so far today, according to iSpot. 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.
Though "Make America Great Again" hats make a couple of brief appearances in the ad, on-screen small print offers a clarification:
*Make America Great Again is a trademark of DONALD J. TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT, INC. No endorsement is implied or granted. Hat is not included and not offered for sale.
As you might expect, the ad is prompting incredulous reactions on social media each time it airs. For instance:
Please tell me this #TrumpyBear is FAKE NEWS!!! 😑— lakeita (@rezilyance) October 23, 2017
Has anyone seen the #TrumpyBear commercial? That shit aint real right? It cant be. That is just too stupid for me to believe its real.— Colson Alec (@fvckkky0uuu) October 24, 2017
Good question, Jasper Hendricks III!
The GetTrumpyBear.com website offers a hint at the bottom of its home page: "Copyright © 2017 Exceptional Products, Inc." That's a Dallas-based company (and, indeed, according to the website order form, Texas customers have to pay sales tax on Trumpy Bear). On its website, SellonTV.com, Exceptional Products describes itself as ...
... a direct response marketing company that specializes in creating nationally known brand names for new products by using infomercials, direct response television and other marketing methods. EPI is always looking for new products to make into household names. If you are looking to market your new patented idea, call or email us today. Your idea may be the next million dollar idea!
I've reached out to the company for comment and will update this post when I hear back. Meanwhile, an additional piece of the puzzle: According to domain records, GetTrumpyBear.com was registered on May 2 by National Express, Inc., a Norwalk, Connecticut direct-response marketing company whose website proudly touts its involvement with a slew of "as seen on TV" products including the Vidalia Chop Wizard, the Betty Crocker Decorating Kit, the Sobakawa Cloud Pillow and more.
So, bottom line: It appears that Trumpy Bear is very much for real. Whether the direct marketers behind it are trolling Trumpy Bear buyers (and profiting off of their gullibility and extreme devotion to the president) is another question—one that, in Trump's America, may be entirely irrelevant.
UPDATE: Moments after I wrapped up this post, someone posted this to Twitter, eerily enough:
Why is trumpy bear a thing ? #trumpybear— nevermind (@InitialEclipse) October 25, 2017