London, January 9 (ANI): Amidst the gloomy global meltdown, the US merchandising industry is cheerfully making a mint by selling Barack Obama-branded articles, whose demand has surged in the run-up to the President-elect's January 20 inauguration.
The looming inauguration of Obama is said to have spawned an industry estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars in clothing and collectibles.
Besides the ubiquitous T-shirts, baseball caps, key rings, pens, paper-weights, mugs, commemorative plates and badges, Obama-branded cigars, boxer shorts, hot sauce, golf balls, lipstick and wristwatches are selling like hot cakes.
While Ben and Jerry has launched its Yes Pecan ice cream, an Obama doll is being marketed under the slogan of "an action figure we can believe in".
Also available in the market is a skateboard decorated with pictures of the President-elect as a young man.
Adverts for a 22-karat-gold-trimmed Obama Victory Plate bombard TV viewers who are invited to buy "this priceless work of art" for $19.99, plus shipping and handling costs, because "his confident smile and kind eyes are an inspiration to us all".
Form T-shirt hawkers to sizeable retail businesses all are said to be benefiting from this healthy trade in official merchandise.
The margins are sky-high, with a T-shirt costing between 5-7 dollars retailing for 15-25 dollars.
"There has never been a better time to be in this business. My biggest concern is running out of merchandise. You can't give Bush stuff away at the moment but anything with Obama's picture on it is walking out of the store," said life-long Democrat Jim Warlick, who has just opened his second souvenir shop a stone's throw from the White House, and is planning to have three more temporary sites operating from next week.
He reckons that the market for Obama products has been worth as much as 250million dollars since the start of the campaign.
"It feels like every entrepreneur in America is trying to make a little money out of this. I have boxes and boxes of stuff being sent to me although some of it, like Obama flying pigs, is in questionable taste," Times Online quoted him as saying.
The troubled newspaper industry is also seeking to cash in on Obama, with the Washington Post offering bags, clothing and coffee mugs with images of its election victory front page.
The paper is also said to be planning to print a special section that invites readers to send personal messages to the new president at 10 dollars a time.
Obama even features in a special inaguration edition of Spiderman, being printed this week by Marvel Comics. (ANI)