The power of merchandise: production’s top picks - TCC
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The power of merchandise: production’s top picks

Share a Coke Bottles

back at a decade of incredible marketing campaigns, it would be all too easy to get caught up in clever strap-lines and beautiful design. However, in my role of Purchasing Assistant, my eye is always drawn to new, exciting and innovative uses of production. I’m inspired by everything from print techniques and packaging options to cardboard engineering and 3D modelling.

Over the last 10 years, three campaigns stood out to me, but not for the reasons you might think.

2009: Compare The Market
Yes, Sergei and his meerkat mates, Aleksandr and Oleg, might have hit the silver screen in 2009, but the Compare the Meerkat campaign rolled on throughout the decade.

And the way they leveraged merchandise was brilliant. You see, they didn’t tell the decade-long story of cute meerkats just for the sake of it; research suggests anthropomorphism automatically evokes a positive response from people thanks to an unconscious desire to connect with the animals.

This resulted in one claim for a stuffed meerkat every 30 seconds. Not only did this mean that customers were using the website, but they also had a permanent reminder of the brand in their home. And it was something they actually wanted.

Sadly, the fictional meerkat toy maker, Yakov, has now retired, but he successfully produced one of the most lucrative merchandise products of the decade.


2014: Coca-Cola
The ‘Share a Coke’ campaign is one of the most recognisable and decorated campaigns of the last decade, which saw Coca-Cola turn their packaging into a piece of merchandise. Genius.

In 2014, Coca-Cola boldly replaced its iconic logo with over a thousand of the most popular names from around the world and called consumers to action with the campaign line, ‘Share a Coke’.

A bottle that would have just ended up in the bin became a prized possession. Consumers were finding their names on the shelf, sharing pictures on social media and looking for their friend’s names too.

It was incredible to see one simple change generate such a strong emotional engagement and kickstart a personalisation movement.


2019: Greggs
The decade may have been drawing to a close, but Greggs were on a (sausage) roll. In January 2019, Greggs launched its vegan sausage roll to coincide with the increasingly popular Veganuary.

Their tongue in cheek campaign, revealing ‘the next generation of sausage roll technology’, satirised the trappings that surround the hype of an Apple launch event.

Greggs sent a series of influencers and journalists a sample of their vegan sausage in a bespoke box that replicated the luxurious packaging of an iPhone, alongside a video brochure that pulled out its key ‘stats’ and ‘features’ while a 3D sausage roll rotated on screen.

The press packs were begging to be shared on social and elevated the humble vegan sausage roll into the most desirable pastry going.

The combination of humour and production made Greggs vegan sausage roll a huge success. People were laughing, tweeting and, most importantly, tasting!


In a decade that’s seen digital media crowned king, it’s nice to know that there’s still a key role that physical merchandise, packaging and production can play. All it takes is a little creativity…and a whole lot of logistics.

Image Source: Marshall Johnston

Written by TCC Community
January 30, 2020

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