Watching the TV ad for this I was 80% certain this was a fairly clever SNL spoof. Let’s start with the faux Biblical intro that emphasizes that this stuffed animal is a tough guy. Then there’s the look of this thing, with the orange hair and orange eyebrows. The “secret zipper” that reveals an American flag cape is a nice touch too.

But the best part is the testimonials from hardhat-wearing construction workers, Harley riding Marines and firefighters, each of whom is carrying the stuffed animal as if carrying a five-year-old’s toy is a totally normal thing for a grown man to do. Not only is it normal, but it’s also a sign you’re a genuine tough guy. Is this really going to mark you as tough if you carry it into a biker bar? Maybe it would because you’d have to be pretty fearless to try it.

So this has to be satire, right? Not according to Snopes. The company that is marketing this, Exceptional Products, is real and has a history of producing infomercials for various items. Exceptional Products told Snopes this particular product was the brainchild of someone named V.L. Lange. They sent Snopes a statement from Lange confirming the bear is real and claiming the veterans in the ad were speaking from the heart:

In 1902 the teddy bear was born and named after President Teddy Roosevelt. When President Donald Trump was elected to office as the first non-politician president, I felt it was time to name an American fearless grizzly bear after our new Commander in Chief. I designed the Trumpy Bear in a recognizable image of our current president.

This iconic bear should be viewed as the symbol that anyone can run for president of this great country of ours. The weight of the responsibilities that come with the presidency can be a burden that I, for one, could never endure.

And no, this is not a joke. I want it to be perfectly clear that the men who served in our military spoke from their hearts in the Trumpy Bear commercial. Any vilification of a veteran should never be tolerated.

Trumpy Bear actually went on sale last October according to AdAge and there are plenty of them being resold on eBay. The company refused to comment on sales figures when asked by Snopes.

What’s most interesting about this isn’t the bear but the psychology behind it. Does this ad really work and if so what does that say about the buyers responding to it? I suspect most of the people getting this are not bikers or firefighters but pro-Trump grandmothers buying them for their grandkids. But who knows, maybe there really are a few tough guys in the hinterlands strapping one of these to their gas tank and daring anyone to make a comment about it.

Maybe the genius of this bear is what it says about tough guys in general. Sure they can run into a burning building or throw-down with a fleeing suspect if the time comes. But underneath all that, they have a soft side, a plush side if you will. Maybe down deep every tough guy is just a teddy bear who needs a hug, albeit one that respects America and their manhood. It’s not the craziest MAGA insight I’ve heard in the past two years.

Tags: Donald Trump