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Fiona the hippo's popularity translates to clothes, ice cream and beer

Posted at 5:00 AM, Dec 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-21 05:00:37-05

CINCINNATI -- From summer cookouts to holiday parties, Cincinnatians have had ample opportunities this year to show their support for the Cincinnati Zoo’s baby hippo, Fiona.

Born six weeks early in January, her face was quickly became a familiar sight on social media and in the news. As she gained weight — and fame — she also gained an outpouring of love and support from Cincinnati companies. Her face has been featured on beer cans, T-shirts and even cookies, often with proceeds going to the zoo.

These are a few of the companies that have forged Fiona partnerships.

  • Cincy Shirts – The T-shirt company specializing in all things Cincinnati offers a wide array of Fiona merchandise. The list includes stickers, sippy cups, wrapping paper and, naturally, a holiday sweatshirt referencing Gayla Peevey’s 1953 tune, “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” The company has sold 20,000 pieces of Fiona merchandise to date.
  • Busken Bakery – The bakery in February began selling #TeamFiona cookies. The company was initially shocked by the response to the cookies. They’re now up to 50,000 #TeamFiona cookies sold.
  • Listermann Brewing Co. – The craft brewery in June introduced a New England style IPA, called Team Fiona. The idea for the beer started out as a joke, and like with Busken, Listermann representatives were surprised by its popularity. Since its introduction, the company has sold 788 cases of Team Fiona.
  • Graeter’s – It didn’t take long for stores to sell out of the ice cream company’s Chunky Chunky Hippo flavor when it hit shelves in July. The company responded by making more, bringing the number up to 4,000 gallons sold.
  • US Playing Card Company – For those who can’t get enough of Fiona, the playing card company has the answer—52 images of her. Decks of cards featuring photos of the hippo from the time she was a newborn are available at the zoo, Kroger and through Cincy Shirts’ online store. The playing card company has sold 20,000 decks of the cards to date.
  • And don't forget WCPO's children's book, My Best Friend Fiona, written by Lucy May and illustrated by Kevin Necessary.