The rise of brand merch

Brand merchandise is now far more than a cringy promotional item that nobody really wants.

KFC slippers, Lidl trainers, Nando's tees - everyday brands are encroaching on fashion cool and the demand doesn't appear to be slowing.

Cadbury's Creme Egg gear. Image via Wales Online

Yes indeed - brand merchandise is transcending the role of promotion, into becoming desired fashion items on their own.

According to a report on Vice:

Francesca Muston, vice-president of fashion content at trend forecasters WGSN, says that they’ve been monitoring what she calls “the mundane” trend for over three years. “These brand collaborations are deliberately relatable rather than aspirational,” she explains. 
KFC hoodie
Muston thinks merch like this works because of their casual, everyman vibe – Lidl is cool because Lidl is cheap. “Many of the true heroes of the pandemic were the delivery and public transport drivers, supermarket workers and restaurant staff who enabled life to continue, bringing a newfound appreciation of the brands, services and products which we had taken for granted as a mundane part of life.”

Personally we think the lady from WGSN is overthinking it.

Lidl trainers

People want to wear something remarkable and unusual. An Easter egg jumper made by Cadbury's is not something you see everyday - it stands out, it's funny but also cool. That's it!

That's what makes it desirable.

Well-known brands extending into clothing and merchandise is hot because it stands out.

For brand managers, this is an opportunity for promotion, but also to experiment with having a bit of fun with your brand. Don't overthink it. Have a little play - see where it goes.

What have you got to lose?

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