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Inside Move: Gov love for Arnold

Win gives rise to marketing machine

Arnold Schwarzenegger cashed in on his celebrity to become governor of California. Now, there’s no end of people looking to cash in on him — with mixed results.

A Calgary-based renewable energy equipment manufacturer is using a Schwarzenegger campaign proposal to increase the use of solar energy in California homes to predict that its grid-interactive inverters (whatever those are) will soon be in high demand. If nothing else, the firm’s optimism shows Canadians are less cynical about politicians’ campaign promises.

And the Austrian city of Graz, which is located near Schwarzenegger’s birthplace of Thal, hopes his political success will “shed a welcome new light on another distinction for Graz” — that it has named itself a “Human Rights City.”

Other attempts to cash in on Arnold are less high-minded.

From its Danbury, Conn., HQ, Herobuilders.com is selling a talking Governator doll. Company prexy Emil Vicale says that of the 17 dolls he sells, including Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush, sales of the talking Arnold have been “consistent” if not spectacular. Asked if Arnold was in the top five, Vicale says, “No. Maybe he’s in the top 17. I think the whole world is Arnold-ed out.”

Eurofun, which sells bicycle tour vacation packages, is promoting a trip along Austria’s River Mur, where Schwarzenegger grew up, as a way to learn even more about the man.

“Who knows — perhaps you’ll be riding your bike just where he rode his,” their pitch goes, “traveling practically in his footsteps! Perhaps you’ll take a short break just where, as a teenager, he paused top contemplate his dreams and ambitions…”

Don’t feel rushed to book your trip right away. Carole Lang, who markets Eurofun tours in the U.S., told Variety, “You’re the second person to call. So far it’s not been the best response.”

Showbiz, of course, hasn’t shied away from piggybacking on Arnold’s rise. Cabler A&E is rushing to develop “See Arnold Run,” a telepic adaptation of the campaign. And Fuse TV recently touted an animated short for VH1, “The Arnold Eye for the Girly Guy,” which gets bonus points for tapping into two hot cultural phenomena.

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