Snuggies, Slankets and Freedom Blankets, Oh My!

Even with my limited television exposure, I could not escape the reach of the Snuggie’s “As seen on TV” infomercials. It was hard to miss the over-the-top, cheesy video showing the lady donning her Snuggie while cozying up to a good book with her complimentary reading light – not to mention the Snuggie clad family cheering on their home team during a chilly fall sporting event. However, after all of this very convincing evidence, I still don’t think that I would ever want or wear a Snuggie.

Although the Snuggie isn’t a “must have” product for me, they still had a big impact on America’s television audience with their two-minute infomercial. It helped to sell over 4 million Snuggies since they began advertising in October 2008. Inadvertently, the television exposure also led many people to the internet and had a big impact in the Snuggie’s online presence.

What has me looking deeper into the Snuggie is the online social hype that is surrounding this wearable warmer-upper. A Google search for “snuggie” returned 828,000 results, revealing some catchy titles like “Get Snuggie – the blanket with sleeves! The Snuggie keeps you totally warm while giving you the freedom to use your hands like work the remote” and “Buy the Official Snuggie – The Blanket with Sleeves! Get warm and cozy, cut heating costs and keep your hands free to hold your baby, talk on the phone”. And then there’s my favorite: “The Snuggie: Comfy blankety thing or Garment of Satan?”

Also appearing in some of the top Google rankings for “Snuggie” are many blogs, YouTube parodies and product review sites. It looks like $14.95 is the going rate for a brand new Snuggie, with varying degrees of shipping & handling, incentives such as “buy one – get one free”, and also a press ‘n open book light. The Snuggie is now also available at some convenient physical locations such as Walgreens and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Some of the online reviews of the Snuggie were a little harsh, but people are talking nonetheless. There are some other Snuggie Websites that have emerged that are getting a lot of traffic from people posting various pictures of people sporting their Snuggies. A website containing information about their upcoming Snuggie Pub Crawls has a lot of people talking the when’s and where’s of the upcoming events. There are even some colorful pictures of people doing Snuggie keg stands.

As the Snuggie rises in popularity, so has its predecessors the Slanket and the Freedom Blanket. The Slanket is another wearable blanket with sleeves that is described as bigger and better quality than the Snuggie, but it also comes with a higher price tag. The Slanket has experienced strong sales due to its inclusion in the “Sky Mall” catalog, which is available on many passenger airlines.

Apparently the Freedom Blanket, hand made by Ms. Iannuzzi in her home in New Jersey, is the wearable blanket with sleeves that started it all.

The creators of the Slanket and the Freedom Blanket both feel a little resentment of the Snuggie’s success, as they both claim that their ideas were copied. Unfortunately patents for these shapeless-garments-with-sleeves were hard to obtain.

As the weather starts to warm up here in Northern Michigan, the demand for wearable blanket products will most likely fade, but these Snuggies could live on forever in infamy.