NEW GEN Z 101: Unlock & Outlast Microtrends
Aug 05 2021
From gummy bear-inspired sneakers to scented swimwear, here are six more food and bev brands making merch to grab young consumers’ attention…
Young consumers are still turning to comfort foods and the latest viral TikTok recipes, but if brand activations this year are any evidence, those aren’t the hottest thing in the industry right now. Branded food merch is being made and snapped up at a rapid pace, with more and more CPG and QSR brands putting out their own stylish (usually limited edition) lines for adoring young fans. YPulse’s Brandoms trend report explored the important role that fast food brands have played in the latest iteration of logomania, and our new Clicking on Community trend report found that 44% of 13-39-year-olds have purchase branded apparel from brands they like, while 36% have purchased a branded non-apparel item from brands like they. Meanwhile, 45% of 13-39-year-olds say they have purchased something that prominently displayed their favorite brand’s logo. Their reasons for doing so? “It looks cool,” “To show my support for the brand,” and “It is fashionable” are the top three.
We already told you about some food and bev brands that have launched merch this year, and the example won’t stop coming—so here are six more brands who are doing so as a way to not only get young consumers’ attention, but to get them to act as walking billboards as well:
Cheetos x Bad Bunny
Last month, Cheetos announced they were partnering with rapper Bad Bunny for an exclusive Adidas fashion collaboration as an extension of their Deja tu Huella “Leave Your Mark” campaign that launched last year. The line features loose-fitting bright orange cheetah tracksuits and two cheetah jersey-like tops. To make the experience more fun, Cheetos came up with a unique way for fans to be able to score exclusive access to the merch: Interested customers can visit the Cheetle iD site to enter—but they must have cheeto dust (a.k.a “cheetle”) on their fingers to pass (it’s as gross as it is genius). The first 100 fans to pass will get first grabs at the collection, and other fans will have to wait until August 6 to purchase. Meanwhile, to coincide with the collab, the brand launched a sponsored challenge using the hashtag #DejatuHuella, which currently has 4.8 billion views. For the back-to-school season, the brand is calling for students to use the hashtag to share 60-second videos and show how they’re “leaving their mark” in their respective communities. Ten students each will be awarded with $50,000 that can go towards their education. This isn’t the first time the PepsiCo-owned brand has found innovative ways to target young fans: Last fall, they released a limited-edition cookbook “The Bon-Appe-Cheetos: A Holiday Cookbook by Chester & Friends,” which included Cheetos-inspired side dishes, desserts, and cocktails, and they released their own line of “Mac ‘n Cheese flavors.” The collaboration between Cheetos, Adidas, and Bad Bunny also marks yet another celebrity food partnership, which have been especially popular in the last year—and our celebrities and influencers behavioral data found that 32% of 13-39-year-olds like branded merch from influencers and food brands.
Haribo x PUMA
Legacy brands have been coming up with ways to stay relevant with young consumers, and to celebrate its 100-year anniversary, Haribo teamed up with PUMA to launch a line of sneakers, gummy-themed t-shirts, shorts, plush toys, and more. One of the sneakers is the colorful Street Rider, which is inspired by their Happy Cherries flavor, and boasts “a gradient fade graphic” that shifts from bright red on the forefoot to lime green on the heel. “Co-branded tongues” are done up in gold and stamped with a full-color Haribo bear, while the insoles have a cherry print. Meanwhile, the CA Pro sneaker pays homage to their Goldbears flavors, which offers a more “toned-down look” and features metallic gold trims and gold detailing throughout. Each pair also comes with a gummy bear-inspired hangtag—and is packaged in a special box.
Panera Soup Swimwear
Panera took a summer-themed approach with their merch, launching swimwear through their new Swim-Soup Collection. Inspired by some of the restaurant chain’s most popular soups, and those who still order them in the summer, the line features two one-piece bathing suits and two pairs of swim trunks. One of them is a green one-piece bathing suit that simply reads “SOUP” across it, while one of the swim trunks features the brand’s “Mother Bread” logo, which is a reference to the 30-year-old sourdough starter they use. Meanwhile, the “Broc-Ched” one-piece bathing suit comes with matching swim trunks—both of which have the same cheddar-topped broccoli print. And finally, there’s an inflatable pool float modeled after one of Panera’s signature bread bowls. This isn’t the first time Panera dabbled in the merch space this year: In April, they gave away limited-edition Bread Bowl Bikes with insulated baskets in honor of Earth Day.
Vizzy Scented Swimwear
Panera isn’t the only brand launching their own swimwear. Molson Coors-owned hard seltzer brand Vizzy is debuting their own line of swimwear inspired by their fruit-flavored drinks—and they’re scented. The Vizzy Seltzer Szn Swimwear collection will include one-piece bathing suits and swim trunks designed with the look and smell of their Strawberry Kiwi, Pineapple Mango, and Raspberry Lemonade flavors. The Strawberry Kiwi one-piece, one-shoulder suit is partly red with a strawberry print and partly green, with a kiwi print and has a cutout by the waist, and the swim trunks are split between the strawberry and kiwi materials as well. The Pineapple Mango one-piece bathing suit features a halter neck, and is made up of both a yellow pineapple pattern and an orange mango one, while the trunks feature the same mashup. Meanwhile, the Raspberry Lemonade yellow one-piece features one pattern that “intertwines” both lemons and raspberries, and has a transparent detailing around the waist with a raspberry-colored stripe going through the center of it, while the matching trunks are split between lemon and raspberry materials. YPulse’s Summer Plans behavioral research found that 36% of 13-39-year-olds planned to purchase bathing suits for the summer, and Panera and Vizzy’s splashly offerings are sure to draw those young consumers interested in buying new swimwear pieces.
Absolut #MixResponsibly Line
Meanwhile, Vizzy isn’t the only alcohol brand making merch either: Absolut got a little creative with their clothing collection which addresses some COVID-era issues, like social distancing. As part of their new “Drink Responsibly. #MixResponsbily” campaign, they launched limited-edition merch available through a third-party site that features t-shirts, tank tops, and bucket hats with phrases that read “Ask Now: Mix Later,” “FOMO is Back,” “Summer’s Hottest Single,” and “I Liked You Better 6 Ft. Apart.” According to a KRC Research survey, over half (56%) of adults in the U.S. have not expressed to their friends their social distance expectations, while YPulse’s ad/effectiveness behavioral report found that 47% of 13-39-year-olds think ads / messages that encourage social distancing are appropriate marketing.
Budweiser x Biggie
Last month, Budweiser launched a limited edition Notorious B.I.G cans as a way to tap into ‘90s nostalgia and pay tribute to the legendary rapper. The Tall Boy cans feature the late rapper’s face as well as phrases like “King of New York” and Brooklyn’s Finest,” along with illustrations of the Brooklyn skyline to commemorate his hometown. Iconic lyrics from his songs like “Live from Bedford-Stuyvesant the livest one, Representin BK to the fullest” are also included on some of the cans. However, while the cans are available exclusively in NYC, the beer brand also launched a Budweiser x Biggie merch collection featuring limited edition t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, and sweatpants on its Shop Beer Gear site, which is open for everyone to purchase online. The Budweiser logo is plastered on all the pieces in the apparel line so young fans can proudly show off their love for both Biggie Smalls and the beer brand.
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