Friday, February 27, 2009

I've Got This Great Idea For A Blanket With, Like, Sleeves, Dude...It's Gonna Be Huge, Bro

If you haven't seen the ads for the Snuggie then I suspect you're a hermit whose been living under a rock for the past six months....actually, no, I suspect you've been stuck on your couch protecting yourself from the cold wintry mix and unable to turn on your TV or answer the phone because of the confines of that obsolete blanket you've been huddled under. Ok, probably not. Everyone has seen the commercials for this blanket with sleeves, even those starving kids in India saw the ads while watching the Academy awards last week. For this, the people of Mumbai give many many thank you (and a goat) to the cast of Slumdog Millionaire.

Mumbai residents love their village's lone Tivo. How else would they have found out that us dumb Americans have a religious like obsession with wrapping ourselves in silly sheets with sleeves...wait...damn...

Ever since I first saw the commercial for the Snuggie I thought it had to be created by some stoned (consenting drug use, not religious persecution) college kid. He was probably too lazy/high to get up for another Dr. Pepper or just didn't want to feel a chill in order to feel more chill. Pause.

Then this morning's New York Times blew my mind. In a sad sign of the times and their journalist integrity the NYT ran a piece on how the Snuggie's advertising campaign led to their success over their competition. I read the story online so at this time I am unsure if it was a cover story or not. Pause.

The story discusses the less successful precursors to the industry leading Snuggie. Sadly, blankets with sleeves are apparently an industry in America and even sadder the inventors of the Slanket and the Freedom Blanket want to be recognized for being leaders in the field...insert joke here.

It turns out that everyone's suspicions about the Snuggie being invented by a pothead college student may not have been to far off. According to the NYT story, Gary Clegg, the inventor of the Slanket was a college student who, in the late 1990's, asked his mom to sew a sleeve onto his sleeping bag since the "...remote wouldn't work through the fabric." You can't make up this kind of stuff, seriously.

Actual photo from the Slanket website. Pass this around, dude.

Initially, the design only contained one sleeve (I wonder how his roommate felt about that), but the young college student later "...added a second sleeve." Apparently this young college student found out that a Snuggie with only one sleeve could only be useful for so long as he soon discovered his problem with premature invention.

The NYT portrayal of Mr. Clegg, now a 29 year old with a "...laid-back, surfer-dude attitude," further confirms our suspicions. He is also described as a professional snowboarder (an oxymoron) who grows a scruffy beard between television appearances. While being generally laid-back, Clegg does seem to be rather bitter about the success of the Snuggie and even, get this, claims it “undermines the integrity” of his Slanket. What's he smokin'? Oh, yeah...

The NYT offers less details on the Freedom Blanket and its origins other than the fact that it actually even predated the Slanket. I suspect this lack information on the true innovator in this niche market is because of a vicious rumor that was spread about its namesake. From what i hear, the Freedom Blanket was initially to be called the French Blanket because of its more intimate feel than a regular blanket. The owner ultimately chose against the name due to his political leanings and named it the Freedom Blanket instead. Apparently, due to their political leanings, the NYT chose not to cover the Freedom Blanket. Sounds like a vast left-wing (or sleeve) conspiracy to me. But, that's just what my sources tell me.

This NYT article on the Snuggie's clever advertising being the catalyst for its success over its previous blankets with sleeves left me with four thoughts running through my head:

  • What is sadder than the fact that four million people have bought Snuggies is that other people are now claiming that they had this "brilliant" idea and are fighting for recognition
  • Next time your pothead friend says he has "a great idea" don't discredit their idea as a silly stoned thought
  • My theory about video games being invented by some stoned college kid wanting to control the little people in the TV may not be far from the truth
  • the NYT is a joke

Just think of the hassle and energy you could have saved this morning while reading the NYT if you had a Snuggie (or a Slanket or Freedom Blanket for you indie-kids). While you may feel like a tool for having a Snuggie you'd at least feel better knowing that you wasted less effort to read this useless article/blog.

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