A (Very) Short History of Cruz-Fiorina Campaign Merch

A Carly the Riveter Poster Could Have Been Yours for Just $25

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Just seven days long, Carly Fiorina's campaign (or whatever that was) to be vice president of the United States was the shortest-lived such bid in modern history. (Vox has this helpful chart, which includes the No. 2 finisher: Thomas Eagleton, George McGovern's 1972 VP pick, who was forced off the ticket in 18 days when word got out that he'd been repeatedly hospitalized for depression and subjected to electroshock therapy.)

Also super short: your opportunity to buy Cruz-Fiorina merch. Sadly, after Ted Cruz ended his presidential bid on Tuesday night, all the pages on his campaign website, including the merch store, were abruptly killed and now everything points to a "Thank you Cruz Crew" farewell. But Ad Age managed to save a cached version of the Ted Cruz Store before it got lost to history.

The most notable item: a $25 "She Can Do It!" poster, in which the Rosie the Riveter character from the World War II-era U.S. Government propaganda campaign is given Carly's face. (Fiorina notoriously laid off more than 30,000 employees during her tenure as Hewlett-Packard CEO, so erasing the face of a working-class icon and switching in Carly's mug is a disturbing -- even offensive -- creative call.)

Also theoretically up for grabs: the usual T-shirts, buttons and water bottles...

I say "theoretically" because it's not clear if the Cruz-Fiorina campaign existed long enough for any of this stuff to have actually been manufactured. Consider the fact that underlying file name for the water bottle on tedcruz.org was "Cruz_Mockup_CC_WaterBottle1-Blue_v1," which suggests that perhaps it only ever existed in Photoshop.

(A quick search of eBay turned up none of this merchandise, though there are multiple sellers offering seemingly unauthorized stuff, including this sad little Cruz-Fiorina 2016 coffee mug, which uses different fonts than the official campaign merch; originally $17.70, it's now just $14.16 -- or you can make an offer.)

Other than the offensive Carly the Riveter poster, the real creativity in the Ted Cruz Store came pre-Carly. For instance, the Cruz spatula, the Cruz koozies and the Cruz ugly Christmas sweater, as well as a poster in which an unsuspecting Ted Cruz appears about to be smashed in the head by a giant red-white-and-blue fist.

All of these Cruz-only items, it should be noted, are also curiously absent on eBay. If anyone has ever spotted this stuff in the wild (or actually owns some of it), let me know.

Simon Dumenco, aka Media Guy, is an Ad Age editor-at-large. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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