There has been a fair degree of criticism aimed at Trump team member Kellyanne Conway after she encouraged viewers during an interview to purchase some of Ivanka Trump's clothing after the first-daughter's line was dropped by Nordstrom. Seems pretty obvious why this would be frowned upon. Are there any other instances where a US administration has used its voice and influence to plug products or support a certain company?

Side Note: Not referring to bailouts or things like energy. Thinking more consumer products in the non-essentials vein.

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    Are you sure that this wasn't a joke? It certainly looked like one when I saw the quote. I did not hear it, so I could not tell from her tone of voice. Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 13:53
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    Would it count if it is a product sold by the government itself?
    – Philipp
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 14:23
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    No, but good point. More like Obama plugging his favorite brand of cigs, Bush plugging a texan biz or Clinton plugging sax cleaner.
    – Brad Ford
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 14:25
  • @BradFord +1 for sax cleaner... that made me chuckle. Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 14:44
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    ahem Bob Dole ads ahem (though not quite White House as he lost the election)
    – user4012
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 16:34

2 Answers 2


It appears that this particular situation is more of a personal comment (or even a joke) rather than a plug. However, to answer your question, then the answer is yes. Eleanor Roosevelt actually allowed her name, picture, and quotes to be used in advertisements (for money) which she then donated to charity.

Why a First Lady Cashed In: Eleanor Roosevelt & The Equal Rights of Margarine

She made $500 a minute on the radio and $1000 for a lecture. She would tally earnings of $100,000 as First Lady, prompting Congress into examining her tax returns.

But when she let her literary and talent agents sell her image and name to advertise products, signing them on as either sponsors of her radio show or in magazine print advertisements, the fury was unrelenting.

It wasn’t just that she was seen as making money off the presidency but that by promoting a product she was also somehow degrading the dignity of the presidency.

The Melania controversy is nothing new: Eleanor Roosevelt pitched hot dog buns.

The tall, regal first lady was a magnet for marketers — and she happily signed on. During her years in the White House, she became a paid pitchwoman for hot dog buns, mattresses and air travel.

Many Americans were aghast at the sight of the president’s wife lending her name and face to hawk products in commercial advertising; Congress launched an investigation. But the controversy died down when Eleanor Roosevelt disclosed that she had donated most of her earnings to charity.

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    This is an interesting find (+1), but I am not sure if this is the answer the question meant. After all, First Lady is just an inofficial government position. It would be better to find an example with someone who actually had an official position.
    – Philipp
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 16:29
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    Agreed. Would want an elected or appointed official. I would consider the first family a gray area and outside the scope of my question. Very interesting though
    – Brad Ford
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 16:40
  • @Philipp I found a number of articles that point out the First Lady has been treated as an official function in modern times and was unable to find an exactly similar case. The articles dealt with Eleanor Roosevelt, Nancy Reagan (just say no), Laura Bush, Hilliary Clinton (Clinton Care), and others. In any case, google is your friend Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 16:52

President Obama and his administration campaigned hard to get millennials to sign on for healthcare as provided by the Affordable Care Act. This included engaging with a sizable cadre of youtube stars in mid 2014.

The problem was that millennials were choosing to pay the fine, rather than sign up through the healthcare exchanges for a health insurance policy provided by a private company. Without the young crop of individuals that rarely get sick statistically, the rolls were burdened with people that had a greater likelihood to need medical care.

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    The OP clarified in a comment that he is specifically not asking for products which are actually by the government itself. The government advertising their own healthcare program is not what he was asking about. He was asking for government officials endorsing commercial products by private companies.
    – Philipp
    Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 17:26
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    @Philipp A comment isn't the question. Aside from medicare/Medicaid expansions, the insurance policies being purchased on the exchanges are commercial products from private companies. Commented Feb 10, 2017 at 20:18
  • No that'd be like Buy War Bonds pitches. The OP is asking about products that still would exist had the official never been appointed, or would still exist even if there was a different government.
    – agc
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 15:21
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    @agc Health insurance predates the Affordable Carr Act. Who sells it didn't change, just how you buy it and that you're required to buy it. Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 17:36
  • Re "Affordable Carr Act": yes, more affordable carrs might be popular, but might worsen greenhouse gases. But seriously, insurance as a product is an interesting point of view. Perhaps your answer should commence with mandatory auto insurance, which predates the ACA by quite a lot, albeit on a state level rather than federal.
    – agc
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 2:44

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