A growing number of quick service restaurants (QSRs) and food and beverage brands are adding branded clothing merch to their marketing strategies.
TWIX is one of those brands as it just launched a 360-degree campaign and fashion tie-in for the nationwide release of its Cookies & Creme bars. The snack brand enlisted sneaker guru The Shoe Surgeon to create a pair of limited-edition sneakers, featuring tearaway design elements, modeled after everything about the Cookies & Creme bars. Only 100 pairs of the sneaker will be made and given away at drop in-store and online events in February, details for which TWIX will disclose via social channels just before the events.
“Beloved in the world of sweet treats, Cookies & Creme is also a staple sneaker colorway, one that’s adorned every major sneaker brand and style. Sneakers have come in pairs, a left shoe and a right shoe, for as long as anyone can remember, and so have TWIX® bars. A sneaker collaboration made perfect sense for the national rollout of TWIX Cookies & Creme,” TWIX tells AList.
The limited-edition TWIX x and The Shoe Surgeon partnership was further brought to life in a social video spot that spoofs popular sneaker shows. Behind-the-scenes footage of the making of TWIX Cookies & Creme bars will be highlighted in a national television spot premiering January 27. In February, fans will get to experience working inside the TWIX factory (virtually) via a Snapchat portal lens.
Oreo also recently released its first-ever fashion collection with the help of three influencers to drive sales in key European markets. Oreo, like TWIX, isn’t really in the merch selling business. Both brands are giving fans a chance to win the wares, a strategic way to get the most engagement and awareness out of the activations. To win Oreo’s apparel collection, fans must purchase a special Oreo pack and enter the competition on oreostyle.com and the brand’s social media channels. An activation like this will help maintain Oreo’s relationship with Gen Z as Oreo ranked fifth overall in Morning Consult’s list of Gen Z most loved brands.
Last year, Arizona Iced Tea and Adidas teamed up to create a pair of 99-cent sneakers. The resulting pop-up was so popular that police were forced to shut it down early due to the hordes of fans that arrived. In December last year, McDonald’s believed so strongly in the power of merch that it opened an online pop-up store to sell branded apparel and accessories year-round.
This most recent iteration of the branded merch trend goes back to 2016 when Taco Bell sold custom socks through a partnership with Los Angeles-based streetwear brand The Hundreds. That same year, Pizza Hut also released a Hut Swag Line with snapback caps and graphic T-shirts.
Popular mid-Atlantic QSR Roy Rogers has followed in these brands’ footsteps with an ecommerce store called “Roy Rogers General Store,” the brand announced on Twitter this week. “Moderately priced” apparel and accessories that celebrate the brand’s cowboy heritage is the restaurant’s means of carrying its brand deeper into its consumers’ communities. The brand has 48 locations in the US.
Many QSRs have since hopped on the merch train, from KFC to Popeyes to Dunkin’. Merchandise lets companies extend brand awareness beyond one in-store visit or purchase and become a daily part of consumers’ lives. The incentive to appeal to Gen Z and millennials is strong too as these generations gravitate toward brands that reflect a genuine connection to street culture and athleisure wear.