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With piracy still a massive thwart on the income generated by bands through their music sales, many artists are now turning to concert tickets and merchandise sales to make a decent living. When you think about merchandise, you tend to think of tour programmes, t-shirts, hoodies, maybe even badges – but what about an urn or a barbecue cover? Here’s what happens when the marketing team go mad with the merchandise…
Unveiled to coincide with the release of their 2009 Raditude album, Los Angeles band Weezer released an own-brand Snuggie as a marketing tool. Available in a variety of colours, the Weezer Snuggies had both the same sleeves and soft material as an ordinary Snuggie, but also had the band’s logo emblazoned across the front. The band were so proud of their new merch, they even released it as a bundle with the new album, as shown here in this typically American infomercial.
Prince’s ‘3121’ Tambourine
During his 21-night residency at London’s O2 Arena as part of his 2007 Earth Tour, mysterious American musician Prince thought it was a good idea to have a tambourine on sale on his merchandise stand. With the name of his latest album at the time, 3121, splashed across it, fans snapped them up to shake during the show. Yet they obviously weren’t a product with longitudinal likability, with many selling the branded tambourines online following the tour.
As merchandise goes, hats aren’t the most outlandish of products. However when it is a hat that has ‘Swaggy’ printed across the front of it (and also on the underside of the brim) it really does become an odd, or rather cringeworthy, product to have on the merchandise stall. Supposedly inspired by his cartoon alter ego Swaggy the mouse, Beliebers everywhere have embraced the said hat by snapping it up from his online store.
If you don’t know what a Pillow Pet™ is, where have you been? Pillow Pets™ are stuffed toys that younger children can either use as a pillow by folding them out flat, or as a sleepover bag by putting their pyjamas inside the Pillow Pet™ and sticking the two sides together with the Velcro strap. As they are aimed at the younger demographic, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that boy band of the minute One Direction have one in their merchandise store – and a bright pink one at that! Finished off with an embroidered 1D logo and the boys’ signatures, make sure that you watch out for this on your little darling’s Christmas list.
AC/DC’s Barbecue Cover
Having formed in Australia, it is probably rather apt that hard rock band AC/DC have a barbecue cover in their merchandise store. Of course we don’t mean to be so awfully stereotypical, but their Aussie roots must have bared some influence on whether or not they included this in the store. That, or they just have an incredible love for flame grilled meat, and so felt the need to protect theirs and their fans’ barbecues from the elements.
Do you miss Lady Gaga stepping out in flesh-based garments? Well shake off the sorrow because now you can relive the moment that she stepped on that red (meat) carpet over and over again with her Gaga-branded ‘Meat Bandages’. Yes, bacon themed plasters are for sale on Gaga’s American web store, complete with a cartoon, meat-dressed Gaga on the box.
The Hives are already known as that crazy band from Sweden, but when they presented their Hives-brand fishing lure on the website, they reached a new level of insanity. Why have a lure on the merch store you ask? Well because guitarist Vigilante Carlstroem has an affinity with the sport of fishing, and seemingly wanted to give all the little fishes a lesson on his band with the help of The Hives’ fans.
KISS is perhaps one of the most notorious bands for odd merchandise, but their picture urn is another level of weird altogether! Surely when you’re in a time of mourning carrying your loved one to their final resting place, the last thing you would want is an image of four men with painted faces and spandex leotards, surrounded by flames and a garish logo staring up at you, right? Obviously not, as KISS also thought it would be good to create a KISS casket/coffin alongside it that follows a similar design. It’s fair to say that this merchandise item is only for the most hard-core of KISS fans; how creepy.
Marketing is an essential tool to any small business, whether you’re a marketing company that looks after new bands that are just starting out in the industry, or an electronics business who specialise in the wiring new homes and the testing of electrical equipment. Like a business card, merchandise is a key marketing element that can capture the attention of those who come to you to discuss your services, and can also help to push your company image above and beyond those evoked by other small businesses. So think outside the box for your next promotional campaign; you could receive hundreds more enquiries as a result!
About the Author: Anisha Bhogaita works alongside display stand experts RAL Display. When she isn’t helping come up with the best display solution she can be found using her creative skills to create bracelets.