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Politics puts Etch A Sketch back in the picture

Associated Press Modified: March 22, 2012 at 4:30 pm •  Published: March 22, 2012
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Etch A Sketches were made in Ohio until 2000, when the company moved production to China because of increasing costs.

Over the years, Ohio Art and Etch A Sketch have benefited from millions of dollars in free advertising from movies and television. The company saw a big jump in sales after Etch A Sketch landed a role in "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2."

In fact, the toy gets so much free publicity that Ohio Art spends very little on advertising it.

The company, based in Bryan, doesn't release annual sales figures but says Etch A Sketch has a steady market. It's most popular with grandparents and mothers who are looking for a bit of nostalgia.

How long the latest bump will last is anybody's guess.

"I'm not sure that just because the candidates are talking about Etch A Sketch that kids are going to tell their moms to go out and buy one," said Martin Killgallon, the company's marketing director.

One thing the Etch a Sketch won't do is pick sides in the presidential campaign, he said.

"We have a left knob and a right knob," he said, "so we neutrally speak to both parties."

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Associated Press writer Lisa Cornwell in Cincinnati contributed to this report.