Drawing inspiration from viral videos, memes and other pop culture moments, these promo items help end users make memories.

1. Oscar Mayer Makes Hot Dog Straws For Real

Oscar Mayer silicone hot dog straw  

You might remember last year’s viral video of the baseball fan who used a hot dog as a straw for his beer. (Maybe you wish you could forget.) A year later, Oscar Mayer launched a limited-edition silicone version of the hot dog straw, available free to frankfurter fans through a special page on the company’s website.

“Taking inspiration from a classic Oscar Mayer dog, the silicone Hot Dog Straw is designed for optimal sipping, and we hope it brings a friendly reminder that we don’t need to take enjoying a delicious hot dog seriously” Kelsey Rice, Oscar Mayer’s associate director, said in a statement. “Some things are just meant to be fun.” Supply of the tubular treats ran out within days, but a few of them are sure to join the listings for Weinermobile memorabilia on eBay.

2. Memes Drive Campaign Merch

Biden Dark Brandon mug and Trump never surrender mug
IMAGE CREDITS: shop.joebiden.com and secure.winred.com

Far from the “I Like Ike” buttons of old, today’s presidential campaigns draw from headlines and inside jokes for promo that may be more pop culture than politics. Within hours of former president Donald Trump’s surrender at a Georgia jail in August, the mug shot (captioned “Never surrender!”) was available on official campaign merch.

Earlier in the year, the Biden campaign embraced the “Dark Brandon” meme – which started as a coded insult to the current president – and turned it into merch that now accounts for more than half the campaign store’s sales.

Of course, there are plenty of parody campaign shirts featuring movie characters, singers and celebrities, and other actual candidates are selling their own merch to attract small donors who might not otherwise contribute, making it a significant revenue stream for campaigns of all sizes.

3. Special Editions Support U.S. Women’s Soccer

US National Women's Soccer official players association merch
IMAGE CREDIT: round21.com

The U.S. Women’s National Team may have been knocked out of the World Cup tournament, but the memorabilia four of the soccer stars helped create lives on. The collection of special-edition products celebrating and supporting the USWNT Players Association, launched just in time for the global tournament, includes sweatshirts, tees, tanks and hats, plus multiple balls and the obligatory supporter scarf. Revenue from sales of these items provides financial support for the athletes, who have long been advocating for more equitable pay.

4. Molson Makes The Most Of Its Vintage Merch

Molson beer vintage Canadian jersey and Drake Instagram post

IMAGE CREDITS: Molson Coors and Instagram user @styleofdrake

After rapper (and Canadian icon) Drake was seen wearing a vintage Molson beer “Canadian” jersey from the late ’90s and early 2000s in July, fans scoured the internet and resale shops looking for one of their own. The beer brand, part of the Coors empire, seized the opportunity to build on demand for its discontinued merch with a social media-driven scavenger hunt. The company tracked down a handful of the vintage jerseys and hid three of them in specially marked cases of beer in stores around Toronto for a “Jersey Drop” in August, posting hints on its Instagram page.

5. Houndstooth Coats Promote Doggy Dental Health

Greenies Houndstoothless collection by Christian Siriano

IMAGE CREDITS: Greenies/Mars or Affiliates and Christian Siriano

Pet wellness brand Greenies teamed up with fashion designer Christian Siriano to raise awareness of dental disease in dogs with the Houndstoothless collection giveaway. Social posts from Siriano directed fans to a special landing site where they could enter for a chance to win matching “pet and parent” trench coats in bold green and white houndstooth, but with strategically blacked out “teeth” in the pattern.

6. Movie Merch Makes Red Carpet Appearance

Tom Cruise and Mission Impossible stars under red umbrellas
IMAGE CREDIT: courtesy of Storm Duds Raingear

Tom Cruise always has the rights tools at hand in the Mission: Impossible films, and the red carpet is no different. For the franchise’s most recent premiere in Rome, the Paramount team made sure to have branded umbrellas ready to keep the stars dry in the rain or shaded from the sun – and the movie top of mind.