Merchandise is all around us, all the time, especially here at Fluid Branding HQ.
But what makes some merchandise more memorable than others? After a quick straw poll of the office, we've rounded up which we'd class as our most memorable merchandise!
Natwest Bank Pigs - Who remembers these?
In 1982 Natwest appointed an advertising agency to produce a campaign to incentivise children to open a Children's savings account, or rather pester their parents to open one for them!
They decided upon a family of Wade produced ceramic piggy banks. You received the baby Woody when you opened the account and then progressed through the family the more that you had saved in your account. Top of the tree was the Sir Nathaniel piggy, which you received when you had £100 saved in your account - a lot of money for a Children's savings account in the 1980's! As you can imagine not many children progressed to this level, so as a result a lot less were produced. This makes them highly collectible and valuable to this day!
Tetley Tea folk
First appearing in 1973, Advertising agency McCann Erickson originated the Tetley Tea Folk working with art director Peter Rigby & Copy writer John McGill Lewis. The animated commercials from the start combined animation with live action "sets and props" such as real tea bags, cups and saucers. The tea folk provided the brands most memorable lines such as "Tetley Makes Tea Bags Make Tea", "That's better, That's Tetley" and "Only Tetley will do". These, alongside some cute characters, good voiceovers and some notable soundtracks like "Bill Withers Lovely Day", ensure that the advertisements have cemented themselves in our minds.
Over 30 million items of Tetley tea folk memorabilia have been sold across the UK, including cups, mugs, aprons, tea tins, figurines, tea pots, key rings, money boxes, tea towels and soft toys to name a few.
Aleksandr Orlov The Meerkat - Compare The Market
A character dreamt up to promote comparethemarket.com, an insurance price comparison website. An off the wall campaign featuring an aristocratic Russian meerkat, highlighting his frustration at the compare the market website, playing on the similarity between the words market and meerkat. The characters famous catchphrase being "simples" is now widely known.
From July 2011 a cuddly toy representing Aleksandr and then other members of his extended meerkat family have been given away with each policy sold via the website. So popular are the toys that it's reported that the marketing campaign has doubled the company owner's personal fortune (reported in the Daily Mail, 11 November 2012).
The toys have become very collectable and have triggered copy-cat campaigns from confused.com with their Brian the Robot toys being offered as giveaways when insurance premiums are purchased via the website.
Monty the Penguin - John Lewis
The John Lewis Christmas advert has now become part of official Pre Christmas warm up since their launch in 2007.
The heart-warming story of a friendship between a boy and his toy penguin, Monty.
The store then launched a soft toy of Monty which completely sold out extremely quickly, soon after a whole range of Monty merchandise appeared in stores, including books, ties, slippers, table clothes and napkins. Cleverly they also changed all their branded shopping bags to Monty ones during the campaign to ensure maximum brand visibility!
Golly Badges - Robertson's Preserves
The mascot of Robertson's & Sons Preserve Manufacturers Limited was among the most memorable and controversial merchandise. The story goes that whilst travelling in America John Robertson saw some children playing with black faced, white eyed dolls and decided that it should be the company's mascot. In the 1920's the firm began producing enamel pin badges of the character which could be claimed by collecting tokens from their jam jars. These proved highly popular for the company and they have produced various versions including some with the Golly's partaking in various sporting activities. "He's still very popular" said a Robertson's spokesperson in 1999. "Each year we get more than 340,000 requests for Golly badges. Since 1910 we have sent out more than 20 million."
We can't mention this item without discussing the controversy surrounding it. The character was originally known as a Golliwog, popularised in 19th century children's books by Florence Kate Upton. The term was adopted during World War 2 and used as a derogatory word for black people. By the 1960's both the use of the term and the symbol itself were understandably viewed in a negative, racially insensitive way. In 2002 Robertson's finally jettisoned the Golly. Clearly inappropriate in a modern era, the enamel pin badges and related merchandise are still extremely memorable and highly collectable.
So there you are, just a few examples of very Memorable Merchandise from recent years!
Just how memorable will your merchandise be?