Who would have thought a blanket with sleeves, available in a variety of pastel colors, could serve as an economic indicator?
While several sectors of industry are seeking bailout money in some form or another, the Snuggie, an oversized fleece blanket with sleeves featured in cable television ads, is one of the good-news business stories of 2009. According to an article in the Jan. 27 USA Today, 4 million Snuggies have been sold and the product has even developed a bizarre cult following. And, according to CNBC "Squawk on the Street" co-host Erin Burnett, that's proof television as a medium isn't dead yet.
"Hey guys, guess what - Joe, you just gave me a thought," Burnett said on the Jan. 29 "Squawk on the Street." "You know how everyone says television is dying and all the advertising is going to go to the Web eventually? Isn't the Snuggie proof that that is not true?"
Burnett shared that revelation with "Squawk Box" host Joe Kernan and CNBC reporter David Faber on their "Kahuna and the Brain" segment.
"I'm telling you, my son wants one," Kernan said. "They've sold 4 million of them. People can't get them quickly enough. I mean the guy who thought of those Snuggies is rich, very rich."
Scott Boilen, president and CEO of Allstar Products Group, the company that conceived and markets the Snuggie, credits pop culture for some of its success and not necessarily the resurgence of TV.
"Every once in a while, a product transcends advertising to become part of pop culture," Boilen said to USA Today in an article by Maria Puente.
Puente also pointed out the Web phenomenon the Snuggie has become.
"Indeed, Snuggies seem to be everywhere. See them on Facebook - nearly 250 groups, pro and con; one fan club lists 5,999 members," Puente wrote. "Watch them on YouTube - nearly 300 parody videos posted, including one titled ‘The Cult of the Snuggie,' with 146,000 views as of Tuesday."