It had to sting a little when the president-elect called BuzzFeed a "failing pile of garbage" this morning, but the digital media outfit turned the insult into a branding opportunity.
Mere hours after a wide-ranging press conference Wednesday morning, BuzzFeed started selling a t-shirt ($30), bumper stickers ($5), and a "limited edition garbage can" ($49) bearing the "failing pile of garbage" label. Purchases over $45 get free shipping, and proceeds are going to the Committee to Protect Journalists. This may be the new land-speed record from sound-byte to meme to money-maker. Update: Reps for BuzzFeed said Thursday the company sold $25,000 worth of merch.
From Donald Trump's lips to Buzzfeed's store, in 5 hours. pic.twitter.com/wY6BXqasiw
— Jonathan Kay (@jonkay) January 11, 2017
BuzzFeed published an unverified research document Tuesday night alleging that the Russian government has compromising information on Trump, that Trump's team regularly communicated with the Russians, and other explosive claims. An earlier CNN report said Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on the document last week. At Wednesday's presser, Trump's first since the summer, the president-elect attacked BuzzFeed when he was asked about the allegations. Much like the site's decision to publish, the merch has divided journalists.
— Joshua Benton (@jbenton) January 11, 2017
Obviously, this isn't the first time Trump's colorful rhetoric has been used to sell merchandise. Etsy shops were hawking "Nasty Woman" and "Bad Hombre" items the morning after the third presidential debate, and Breitbart sold tons of Trump merch, including a "Border Wall Construction Co." shirt. Then, of course, there's Trump's own red "Make America Great Again" hats which begot a pricey Christmas tree ornament last year.
We asked back in October if the Trump brand was dying, or merely changing. It's still not clear.