11 Notable Merch for September 2021 (KFC, Drake’s CLB, Animal Crossing, etc)
Did you buy any interesting merch for this month?
Merch has evolved beyond logos on shirts. Now a wide range of collectible apparel and lifestyle items, merch has also become a tool for building communities and engaging offline experiences. During the pandemic, there was a surge in buying merch as a way to support artists, creators, musicians, restaurants, etc that had sales disrupted by COVID, and as big branded merch fans, we have to say—the more merch, the better!
In this post, we’ve rounded up products that have either landed on our radar, were released in September 2021, or are planned for upcoming release.
For the Disney fans missing out on the park experience, Disney recently launched a wide selection of Halloween merch to spookify the wardrobe and home! Focusing on Hocus Pocus, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Haunted Mansion, and more, the collection is a frightfully good time.
Source: Hocus Pocus Reversible Long Sleeve / Disney Villains Pullover
Canadian coffee chain Tom Hortons launched a coffee-inspired apparel line on September 29th for National Coffee day, featuring hoodies, sweatpants, T-shirts, and travel mugs that match the colour of their signature two-milk, two-sugar coffee drink.
In bilingual Canadian fashion, there will be English (“Double Double”) and French versions (“Deux Deux”) available.
Source: Tim Hortons
Toronto based Italian bakery/cafe doesn’t hold back when it comes to creating food with fun experiences! Known for their “big slice” pizzas that are 28 inches long, they’ve been featured by media outlets such as The Toronto Star, BlogTo, Delish, Narcity, and more.
Launching a merch line that features apparel such as t-shirts, hats, and baby onesies was inevitable given the growing success of the brand, and was a great way to support the bakery during its pandemic-related shutdown.
Source: Lamanna’s Bakery
Kanye West and Drake both recently released their highly anticipated new albums, along with some new merch. Kanye opted for a merch collaboration with Balenciaga for the “Donda” album, while Drake’s “Certified Lover Boy” merch collaborated with Nike.
Source: Drake Related
The CLB merch collection has its standard items such as socks and tees, but the real standout is the $3000 pink puffer jacket with heart quilting and a poem printed on the inner chest pocket. To no one’s surprise, this jacket is already sold out!
Fun fact: Drake wore this bomber in his “Laugh Now, Cry Later” music video.
For an album named “Solar Power”, it makes sense that Lorde decided to launch merch that was made as sustainably and responsibly as possible. Featuring 100% recycled US-grown cotton, the garments are 99.5% biodegradable (everything but the label) and manufactured from start to finish in Los Angeles.
Its sustainable and responsible construction does mean that the prices are higher than most musician merch. T-shirts start at $62 USD, but given that Millennials and Gen Z are the most environmentally conscious consumers, this merch line not only works for the environment, but also the ethos of these generations.
Source: Green Matters
Launched in August 2021, KFC Canada’s merchandise features sweatshirts, slides, fanny packs, baby’s onesies and more! Some of these pieces are minimal enough to wear on a daily basis without getting odd looks, while some will really show off your love for KFC.
Source: Colonel & Co
To say Dunkin’ (Donuts) has had an interesting transformation over the past decade is an understatement.
Dunkin’s Chief Marketing Officer Tony Weisman understood that the 70-year brand’s audiences tended to be older due to growing up with the brand, and that they were missing key younger audiences to Starbucks. Weisman’s strategy was to then focus on “bringing younger consumers into the brand” through the brand’s other offerings (thus, dropping “donuts” from the name), expanding brand partnerships, and becoming focused on user-generated content to connect with millennials and Gen Z.
In their latest collaboration, the brand tapped Tik Tok star Charli D’amelio for a series of merchandise which features drinkware, and accessories such as scrunchies and a phone case. D’amelio has a following of 124 million on Tiktok, primarily a Gen Z audience, which meant bringing a larger and younger audience back to Dunkin’.
Takeaway: brands are no longer just their products, but are evolving into lifestyle brands through promotional products and merchandise, giving them more cultural relevance.
Source: Animal Crossing World
More and more brands are looking at co-branding with retail brands for their merchandise. Animal Crossing was a huge hit in 2020, becoming the third best-selling game that year in the United States and selling 34 million units globally. With this popularity came a wide range of merch made in collaboration with brands such as ColourPop, UNIQLO, and even Monopoly.
For any Animal Crossing fan wanting to add themed footwear to their collection, the PUMA x Animal Crossing features three different sets of pastel shoes, as well as a hoodie with fan-favorite Animal Crossing characters, such as Isabelle and Tom Nook, printed on the back.
Houseplant sales surged over the pandemic, becoming more popular with Millennials and Gen Z. Portland-based plant shop Arium Botanicals has a line of apparel for plant parents, such as this “plants are for everybody” pink t-shirt.
Since dying clothing has a huge environmental impact, these t-shirts are sustainably screen printed using water-based inks.
Source: Arium Botanicals
Iconic Canadian rock band Rush teamed up with Henderson Brewing Company to release a Canadian golden ale, launched in August 2021.
Source: Henderson Brewing Company
According to a statement by the band, “beer has always been an important part of the touring experience”. Recognizing the growing craft beer movement in Toronto, they selected award-winning Henderson Brewing Company for this collaboration.
Many fans have shared their enthusiasm on social media, both in regards to the can design and beer taste.
I avoid buying celebrity “endorsed” products, but this @rushtheband @HendersonBeerCo can was too cool to pass up.#Rush is among the GOATs, the beer otoh, is merely above average.
(@gordon_homer, cool eh?) pic.twitter.com/YVIZKdn1Or
— portwood (@MarkhamWhisky) September 12, 2021
Speaking of beer, we designed these beer cans for our 30th anniversary with Brunswick Bierworks!
Some collaborations for merchandise miss the mark for fans, with the most recent example being NFL x Ed Sheeran. The musician performed at the NFL season opening, and merchandise was released to commemorate the event.
This gotta be the most random collab I’ve ever seen
— 💤 (@SeattleSquad17) September 8, 2021
Fans were confused by the merchandise, seeing no correlation of interests between fans of the pop-folk musician and the contact sport.
what I assume the venn diagram is of those interested in the NFL and those interested in Ed Sheeran https://t.co/2rNteHrwKG pic.twitter.com/CHUTMu5kAc
— Maddie (@ZeldaErt) September 9, 2021
Takeaway: for merchandise to work, branding needs to be consistent and logical for audiences. Brand partners, whether they be retail companies or celebrities, need to be a logical co-brand in terms of audience psychographics (e.g. beliefs, values, lifestyle, social status, opinions and activities).
What was your favourite product or collaboration from this list? Thinking of launching branded products for your company? Contact us to make sure your product doesn’t miss its mark!