Casual observers—meaning late-night TV watchers—probably think the sleeved-blanket craze started with the Snuggie. Easy mistake: The ads showing cultish, cozy Snuggie converts are everywhere, and 4 million have been sold since October, the New York Times reports. But the creator of the Slanket wants to set the record straight. Gary Clegg says he came up with the idea in 1998 and sees the Snuggie as a “cheap knockoff” that “undermines the integrity” of his product.
Clegg started selling Slankets in 2006, and last year he sold $4 million worth. But the rise of the Snuggie shows the power of a strong ad campaign. "Certain products transcend advertising and become an indelible part of popular culture," says the exec whose company markets the Snuggie. As for the original blanket with sleeves: It's not the Slanket after all. The Freedom Blanket hit the market in 2005.