Are you looking for creative merchandise ideas for your next brand activation? Bored of seeing the same pens, water bottles and backpacks? Corporate promotional merchandise can often be uninspiring, but with a little extra thought you can come up with innovative ideas that will ensure your brand stands out.
Whether you are looking to raise brand awareness, launch a new product or create a truly memorable experiential marketing experience, these 7 products are great examples of creative merchandise ideas that might inspire some of your own.
Creative Merchandise Ideas
#1: 3M Solar Earplug Volume-Down Packaging
The sign of a smart promotional product is when it is both simple and effective. This 3M packaging for their ear plugs plays tribute to their purpose (to turn down the noise) by creatively packaging them with a cap shaped as a stereo volume knob. So, when you open the cap to retrieve your ear plugs, you are literally turning down the volume. Extra brownie points for the bottle which can be read upright and down when living on a shelf.
Lesson learnt? The packaging your product comes in can be the only merchandise marketing you need. Tell the story from the outside in.
Watch out! If your packaging doubles as a product it could be mistaken as a gimmick.
#2: IAMS Barbell Frisbees
A comical and clever way to convey IAMS brand promise of providing superior nutrition to dogs which, in turn, results in stronger, healthy pets. 10kg barbell ‘lookalike’ Frisbees were distributed in areas of local parks to reinforce their companies values, as well as hope to generate new customers!
Lesson learnt? Humour can be a great way to get noticed, especially when your budget is low or in highly saturated markets.
Watch Out! Any promotional products that could be assumed to be a children’s toy need to pass strict safety measures to ensure you don’t get noticed for the wrong reasons.
#3: Colgate – DON’T FORGET
Colgate played against type with this promotional stint. In order to remind consumers (especially children) that brushing their teeth is vital, they gave out Colgate coloured lollypops which only delivered the tag line once they had been eaten. The hidden promotional message on the toothbrush shaped stick read ‘don’t forget’ next to the familiar Colgate logo.
Lesson learnt? Your best strategic starting point can often be the problem (sugar), not the solution (brushing).
Watch Out! Hiding the campaign punchline can be a risky tactic. The intended message could be missed completely and result in wasted lollies.
#4: Pantogar Revitaliser Memo Pad
Is your hair getting thinner? Pantogar’s memo pad is an innovative promotional product that can be seen as a ‘quick note’ to remind those that gradual hair loss is a problem that shouldn’t be ignored. Every time a user tears a sheet off the memo pad the person’s hair gets thinner and thinner – Genius!
Lesson learnt? Whilst a product that promotes hair regrowth might not be something people would proudly display on their desk, this notepad would easily fit in.
Watch Out! If your brand/product is not well known or easily identifiable your clever gimmick might get missed.
Innovative Merchandise Ideas
#5: Yoga Centre Flexi Straw
We love this creative, low-cost idea that the Yoga Centre developed to raise brand awareness and target their core demographic. The straws, with a printed yogi on their flexible stems, were distributed in local juice bars. By creating something quirky and relevant (yoga makes you bendy!) and giving it at places their potential customers frequented, they got double the marketing bang for their buck. Clearly plastic straws are a no-no these days but it was an innovative idea!
Lesson learnt? Clever ideas don’t need to be expensive. And, by partnering with businesses that share a common demographic, you can reach more of the right people faster.
Watch Out! Make sure your promotion doesn’t come undone by a disconnect in the messaging (plastic straws could make you unpopular with the very audience you are trying to attract).
#6: Skin Cancer Organisation Coffin Towel
Three hundred ‘shock value’ promotional, coffin-style black towels were handed out on Dubai beaches in order to raise awareness about skin cancer and the damaging effects it can have on people. Despite being printed with the daily statistical death toll, they still were graced by some keen sun worshippers.
Lesson learnt? Using shock tactics (known in advertising circles as“shockvertising”) can bring welcome publicity. Especially useful with messages that people tend to ignore (smoking, drugs, health issues).
Watch Out! These tactics can backfire if not carefully aligned with your brand messaging. It can be hard to find the fine line between creativity and causing offence.
#7: Alzheimer’s New Zealand USB Eraser
An Ink eraser, doubling up as a USB stick, was handed out by Alzheimer’s NZ in an attempt to raise awareness of the importance of our memories and the difficulties that those living with the disease and the family around them experience. Each drive was imprinted with the slogan “Alzheimers erases your memories. Save them”.
Lesson learnt? A practical, dual-purpose gift that delivers a powerful message is a strong way to get your message across.
Watch Out! When your message (however clever) isn’t immediately clear it can be helpful to spell it out with a catchy slogan.
Hopefully these creative merchandise ideas have got you excited to create imaginative new products your clients won’t stop talking about. You might even find yourself featured on the next cool merchandise ideas list that we write.
Ready to create branded merchandise that will put YOUR brand front and centre?
Inck Merchandise are the strategic merchandise marketing experts. Our concepts are original, cost-effective and designed for your target audience! Let us help you today!