Opinion: Biden’s merch shop is a perfect representation of the election thus far

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Photo by Jonathan Simcoe on Unsplash

Joe Biden’s merch shop seems to be poking fun at President Trump to an extreme, but I’m not mad about it. The most recent drop on the site is a fly swatter with “Truth over Flies” written on the handle, which came out right after last week’s vice presidential debate, during which a fly landed on Vice President Mike Pence’s head and stayed there for well over two minutes.

Biden seems to be trying to appeal to millennials and Gen Z by creating memes and merch for his campaign. He even created avatar merch for the game Animal Crossing that regained popularity around April and May this summer. 

Personally, I think it’s a great marketing strategy and way to appeal to the younger generations. It gives them options to express their support in a more creative way. I ordered the “I Paid More Income Taxes Than Donald Trump” stickers right after Trump’s 2017 tax returns got released and am super excited to put them on my laptop and water bottle. 

Biden’s site updates quickly – about an hour and a half after the fly flew off of Vice President Pence’s head the fly swatter went live on the website – with the newest arrivals appearing soon after jokes become popular in the news. 

This is an important aspect of profiting from a meme since jokes only stay popular and funny for a week or two. So far, Biden’s campaign sold over 35,000 fly swatters in around a week. 

I will say the prices are a bit steep, and the shipping time is nothing like Amazon. I ordered a two-pack of stickers Sept. 28. They shipped out Oct. 9, and have yet to arrive. 

A two-pack of stickers cost $7.50 before shipping, a fly swatter cost $10 and a single cat collar that says “No Meowlarkey” is $28. I would maybe understand those prices if we were still in primaries or if he wasn’t the Democratic nominee, but the idea of paying $13 after shipping prices for two stickers caused me to hesitate on my purchase.

“Every time that you can sell a fly swatter for more than the fly swatter costs, that is money in the pocket of the Biden campaign, and it means that they can spend more on get out the vote, messaging to voters, ads on TV,” said Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, a professor at Stetson University College of Law who wrote a book on political branding.

The merch is more of an avenue to donate to the Biden-Harris campaign while also receiving a small token of appreciation. Honestly, I don’t mind paying $13 to show that I don’t support Trump, although I do wish the stickers would come before Election Day. 

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