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November 30, 2021

By Vanessa Nghiem

5 minutes read

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Many brands launched their holiday merch and promo products in November, perfect for gifting or keeping for yourself! 

For those of you wondering why so many restaurants and brands are now releasing merch—well, you’re not alone! Over the past year, many brands have released merch during the pandemic for various reasons ranging from consumer interest to financial profitability to changing technology. For example, while restaurants had their food sales impacted, selling merch was a great way to help keep their business financially afloat and market their brand in different ways. 

A recent Adweek article also explains that selling merch has been an opportunity to collect consumer data, especially personal information, during the checkout process. Data collected shapes what types of products the company will plan and release. 

Regardless of your reason for purchasing company merch, we’ve rounded up our favourites of November!

1. KFC’s Bucket Hugger

A limited-edition release between November 9 to November 11, KFC’s “Finger Lickin’ Chicken Mitten Bucket Hugger” is a knitted festive sweater that slides onto a bucket of fried chicken. Featuring built-in mittens to carry the chicken safely to the dinner table or to a potluck, it was a free promo product for online purchases of the KFC bucket meal. 

KFC bucket cover with festive red print

Source: Cision

2. Mariah Carey Sequin Face Mask

The Queen of Christmas herself, Mariah Carey has a holiday merch collection online that features ornaments, apparel, and this sequined face mask! We wouldn’t expect anything less glam from Mariah. 

Source: Mariah Carey Official Online Store

3. University of Flavortown Apparel

School’s in session for students at University of Flavortown! Known for his use of the word “flavortown”, especially on the Food Network show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”, Chef Guy Fieri’s merch focuses on this fictional town, which now includes university merch. 

grey hoodie with University of Flavortown printed

Source: Guy Fieri Store

4. Tim Hortons x Justin Bieber = ‘TimBiebs’

Justin Bieber and Tim Hortons limited merch with tote, hat, and corduroy fanny

Source: Retail Insider

Two Canadian icons coming together for a collaboration—what are your thoughts? In addition to branded merch (fanny pack, toque and a retro-style canvas bag), the collaboration also launched new and limited edition timbit flavours on November 29: Chocolate White Fudge, Sour Cream Chocolate Chip, and Birthday Cake Waffle.

This collaboration has been met with mixed responses, with some excited to try the new flavours and rock the new merch, while others have called out that it was an effort to bring in millennial and Gen Z consumers amid declining sales due to factors such as the pandemic and increasing competition. Others have also pointed out that Tim Hortons is not looking at the real problem of their decline, which is declining food quality, lack of menu changes, and poor treatment of workers.

5. Billie Eilish’s Vegan Chocolate Bar

Vegan chocolate bar with teal packaging and Billie Eilish face printed

Source: Billie Eilish Store

Billie Eilish has standard merchandise such as t-shirts and other apparel, but one of the more notable items include her ‘Happier Than Ever’ vegan chocolate bar, which is 100% organic certified, vegan and kosher. Wrapped in a compostable foil (made from sustainable raw materials, of course), it’s clear that Billie emphasizes sustainability in her merch. Being in Gen Z herself and having a large Gen Z audience, this cohort has been emerging as the sustainability generation, making it more important than ever for artist merch to be sustainable. 

6. Pizza Hut’s Holiday Collection

For those that want to “give the gift of the hut”, Pizza Hut’s holiday capsule collection features products such as a playset, pyjama set, drinkware, ornaments, and gift wrap for all the pizza aficiona-doughs.

Source: Pizza Hut Shop

7. Little Caesars’ Pizza Themed Merch

Finally joining the QSR merch game, Little Caesar debuted their merch collection earlier this month which features items such as a pizza slice blanket, pizza button-down shirt, slip-on shoes, and more! For their holiday collection, they’ve also included wrapping paper and Christmas ornaments. 

lil caesars pizza printed merch

Source: Little Caesars® Hot-N-Ready® Merchandise

8. A&W Canada x Frankie Collective = Upcycled Apparel

Upcycling meets fast food apparel with the “A&W Thrift Store” limited edition merch collection! With apparel made from excess stock and recovered materials ethically sourced in Canada (e.g. (A&W promotional clothing, unused swag, and salvaged garments), the collection comprises of 470 unique pieces and is set to launch on December 3. Prices range from $40 to $75 CDN.

Julia Cutt, Director, Brand Communications and Digital Marketing with A&W Canada explains that the organization wanted to release merch that “didn’t feel wasteful”. The company has been working on sustainability initiatives since 2010, with changes such as compostable packaging introduced in 2013, being the first North American chain to ban plastic straws from restaurants in 2018, and being the first national burger chain to serve plant-based burgers. 

Source: A&W Thrift Store

9. Kraft Heinz Golden Noodle Award

Golden Macaroni Award for Kraft Heinz

Boss Promotions worked on this unconventional award aka the “Golden Noodle Award” for Kraft Heinz USA. The trophies are part of an internal employee recognition awards program that is handed out quarterly. Now that’s one beautiful noodle we’d be happy to display! 

Missed our previous roundups? Here’s our October merch roundup, September merch roundup and some other noteworthy merch!

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