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The rise of the Snuggie

By Malcolm King - posted Wednesday, 24 June 2009


It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that a man or woman in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a Snuggie.

This tale involves American telemarketing, a return to Tolkein’s Middle Earth and fashion Heaven’s Gate style. If you watch TV, then you’ll know about the rise of the blanket-with-sleeves and hood phenomenon that has swished America and is now sweeping our nation.

The makers of the Snuggie, Allstar Products Group in America, initially picked Adelaide to launch this project “down under”. One reason is that the Snuggie appeals to many single mums and non-childcare compliant dads, living in housing trust flats in the northern and southern suburbs. The sleeves are bong-packing friendly and the whole outfit is mega-groovy for doing Gandalf the Grey impersonations.

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"Every once in a while, a product transcends advertising to become part of pop culture," says Scott Boilen, president and CEO of Allstar Products Group of Hawthorne, N.Y., which conceived and markets the China-made Snuggie.

My friend Tex is a functioning alcoholic and one time pollster for the Republicans. He lives in Washington and hates pop culture but by using someone else’s credit card, he has ordered and tested the three major brands of blanket-with-sleeves garments.

Here’s the inside goss. Snuggies retail for about US$15 or about A$19 but the sale price here is about A$60 (not including postage and handling). Why? You have to buy two.

Does that seem odd? Well it would be if you were buying a beer in a hotel and you had to buy two or you went out to buy a dog and you came home and the wife says, why did you buy two dogs? And you say you had to - they only sell them in pairs.

It says on the Snuggie website, “Please only select ‘Quantity 1’ if you want the Buy One Get One Free offer - we'll automatically include a 2nd Snuggie in the same colour.” This is not a big point, but once upon a time Quantity 1 meant one, numero uno. Anyway, you’re getting two and that will be $60 thanks. So you don’t get the second one free.

Why would they do that? This is only a guess but I would say “volume”. They have a lot of Snuggies for sale. The second reason may be to create an ambiguity in the mind of the buyer so that “one item” does not equal “one garment” but two garments and “two items” equals “four garments”. This opacity on behalf of the vendor, which may have nothing to do with the maker of Snuggies, gives online purchasing a crappier name than it already has.

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Here’s the spin on the American Snuggies website:

“So, you’re snuggled up under the covers on the couch watching TV and you get the munchies. Popcorn, leftovers. Oooh, HOT CHOCOLATE. It all sounds good.

“Isn’t this better known as a robe?”

“No. No. No. AND no. Robes are made to move around. They keep you warm, granted, to a point. They give you something to wear after you shower. But, robes are drafty. And, most of them stay “closed” with a tie around the waste. You’d have to pull the robe tight and tie yourself at the chest, waist, knees and shins to mimic the covering in a Snuggie. And, while you’re busy tying, you better hope your robe doesn’t loosen up from the movements you’ve made while tying.”

“You’d better hope your robe doesn’t loosen up from the movements.” Who’s writing their copy? A hormonal 13-year-old boy?

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About the Author

Malcolm King works in generational workforce change. He was an associate director at DEEWR Labour Market Strategy in Canberra and the senior communications strategist at Carnegie Mellon University. He also runs a professional writing business called Republic.

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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