Ebola is on the minds of millions right now, the American consumer included, and manufacturers and retailers aren’t going to miss out.
Adweek reports that among the “pretty sick products” out there right now is an Ebola virus plush toy.
Writer Robert Klara found there also are Ebola neckties, aprons and mugs.
“If there’s one thing freaking out Americans out right now, it’s Ebola,” Klara wrote. “A poll just released by the Harvard School of Public Health found that 26 percent of Americans believe someone in their family will get sick with the virus in the next year, and close to 40 percent of us believe the country is destined for a major Ebola outbreak. Never mind that there have been exactly zero transmitted cases domestically and the virus is actually pretty hard to contract. Ebola is clearly on the brain.”
He the awareness has prompted “any number” of Ebola products.
“You can always count on commerce to reflect our various national moods,” he said.
The Ebola plush toy is from a Connecticut company called Giantmicrobes Inc. The front page of its website features a man gleefully laughing, under the statement: “I gave my roommate Ebola. It was awesome.”
Giantmicrobes Sales Manager Nicole Centonze told Adweek the toy has been around for sometime but sales recently have spiked.
The company provides many products to gift shops in hospitals. Centonze said a teacher recently reached out, saying, “I’m going to do some special lessons, so I’ll get an Ebola for the class.”
The disease is wreaking havoc in West African, where victims have been reported in several nations. Officials estimate that of the nearly 3,000 people who have been infected, about 1,400 already have died.
Two American health workers infected while working in West Africa were brought to a special unit at an Atlanta hospital via private jet. They both recovered and have been released.
An Ebola necktie comes from Infectious Awareables in California, where spokesman Roger Freeman said the Ebola items were available before the current epidemic.
“We had a similar heightened interest during the 2001 Anthrax scare,” he told Adweek.
There also have been “Keep Calm It’s’ Only Ebola” T-shirts and an ebook titled “Ebola Survival Guide.”
Adweek said yet another company offers Ebola-microbe aprons and mugs saying “Life is Just Ebola Cherries.”
Sales of the mugs have been “nominal,” however, said Café Press public relations director Sarah Segal.
There also have been a multitude of “unscrupulous” dealers offering various “cures,” the report said.
Wrote Klara: “Yet of the 68 Ebola scares reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, none of them has turned out to be real. So relax, America, you don’t need Ebola protection equipment. But if you’d like a handmade pair of Ebola earrings, you can find them on Etsy.”