Joe the Plumber Becomes a Collectible Advertising Pop Culture Icon, Editor Iantiqueonline.com “Joe the Plumber” is now famous and it won’t be long before his “brand” joins the ranks of other prominent advertising celebrities such as “Aunt Jemina”, “Dr. Pepper”, “Chef Boy-Ar-Dee” “
News-Antique.com - Oct 30,2008 - “Joe the Plumber” is now famous and it won’t be long before his “brand” joins the ranks of other prominent advertising celebrities such as “Aunt Jemina”, “Dr. Pepper”, “Chef Boy-Ar-Dee” “Buster Brown,” “Harry Hood”, “Big Boy” and others. Who exactly is “Joe the Plumber”? Joe Wurzelbacher is an Ohio man who chatted with John McCain in Toledo about his dreams to own his own plumbing business.
Two weeks ago John was an ordinary citizen with some legitimate concerns about the direction of McCain’s tax plan for the small business owner. But now, “Joe the Plumber” is no longer a regular guy trying to make ends meet. Joe is now a mega star who could profit immensely from his new found notoriety.
I chuckled today when I read Larry Rohter's article in The New York Times "Joe the Plumber, the Brand" (October 30, 2008) . Gee, I made that connection two weeks ago, the day after the last debate (the same day I posted an earlier version of this article on my blog).
When I first heard McCain talk about “Joe the Plumber ” I couldn’t help but picture the cultural icon “Rosie the Riverta” who came to represent the power of women during World War II. In my mind I saw Joe Wurzelbacher’s image transformed into a lovable, handy dandy man who would represent dependability, trust and toilet expertise.
I imagined further that someday collectors would be looking for advertising collectibles with the “The Joe the Plumber” icon. Ted Hake who wrote Hake’s Guide to Advertising Collectibles and Warren Dotz and Jim Morton who wrote What a Character! 20th Century American Advertising Icons would add “Joe the Plumber” to revised editions of their publications.
In fact I wouldn’t be surprised to find a whole chapter dedicated to “Joe the Plumber” when new reference books and price guides are published. After all it is likely that if the “Joe the Plumber” brand takes off like I am hoping for, than expect to find a market place flooded with “Joe the Plumber” bendable figures, dolls, clocks, figurines, rubber toys, ashtrays, coffee mugs, banks, rulers, pin back buttons, desk accessories, key chains, bumper stickers, playing cards and so much more..
C. Dianne Zweig is Editor of Iantiqueonline.com and is a kitschy kitchen collector and the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and the just released Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. You can find Dianne’s “hot” an d“cool” collectibles at her shoppe, Kitsch-N-Stuff which is pa rtof The Collinsville Antiques Company on Route 44, New Hartford, Connecticut. (new location). When visiting her shoppe, be sure to dine at the in-house “Crusin Cafe” which is decorated in original retro style. For more information go to cdiannezweig.com