April 5, 2022

Branding's latest weapon - Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Vyke B.V.

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With branded festive sweaters popping up everywhere, it is looking a lot like Christmas merch.

In a recent YPulse survey, 80 percent of 13-37-year-olds said they like it when brands offer holiday-themed packaging or products—and brands are more than eager to oblige, with each offering being more unique than the next.

The most recent trend in this has been the ugly Christmas sweater trend. Social media has had a huge impact on this, of course. Young people started buying vintage knits to see who got the ugliest one. The power of the internet helped propel this custom until it went global! So much so, that now we even have a national Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. And, of course, companies didn't stay far from it!

A surprising number of organizations are participating in the festivities, including the British Library, the Houses of Parliament, the Imperial War Museum, and NASA:

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Christmas sweaters as a promotional tool

When talking about Christmas fashion branding, giveaways should never be forgotten. A limited edition version of a brand's merchandise can heavily increase demand and interaction. During the holiday season, which closely follows Black Friday, it can be hard to get your followers to interact with your brand. Creating a cool piece for the cold days can help. Giveaway keep existing followers engaged, while brands can increase their follower base as well as building loyalty among their customers.

Popeyes’ Chicken Sandwich Ugly Sweater

The introduction of Popeyes' chicken sandwich became one of the most talked-about marketing stories of 2019, going viral online, igniting a brand rivalry with Chick-fil-A, and pushing the business to invest heavily in digital marketing, and just in time for the holidays, they've turned their most popular thing into yet another hot item: an ugly Christmas sweater. The sweater is decorated with trees, chicken sandwiches, and the Popeyes emblem.

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According to YPulse's research, a quarter of young consumers planned to attend a holiday ugly sweater party this year—and that doesn't include the amount of people who will wear an ugly sweater purely out of fun. With one product, they can ironically glorify a brand—or, better still, a meme like the chicken sandwich. For a few years now, companies like Pillsbury, Taco Bell, Coke and Jack Daniels have started manufacturing their own ugly holiday sweaters— with the soft drink and whiskey giant starting their own in 2013. Popeye's Chicken Sandwich Ugly Sweater sold out in just a few days, proving that the marketing fad is a fad no more and here to stay.

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Sponsorship and Giveaway

Dutch power tool company Batavia, executed this trend as part of their sponsorship of Tim & Tom Coronel (Dutch racing celebraties). The giveaway of the branded Christmas onesies became an instant success in 2020. It enabled the company to further dive into engaging their partners' audience and introducing them to their own brand and products.

Fashion Merchandise - Not only for the holiday

To name a few recent examples, remember the following: Netflix launched an online store selling corporate and show-related apparel; Bumble launched a branded line of "make the first move merch"; Mercedes and Proenza Schouler collaborated on a capsule collection "inspired by travel, the open road, and the iconic Mercedes-Benz logo"; and Lego and Target collaborated on a "limited-edition lifestyle collection" that includes "brick-inspired" sweatshirts, puffer jackets, and fanny packs.

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Sources: Netflix, Bumble, Lego, Mercedes/Proenza Schouler

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