It's been another weird week in retail and, with Thanksgiving right around the corner, we're taking a look at some of the most absurd food-related products.
Pizza Hut released a product that redefines comfort food, Bud Light and Philadelphia Cream Cheese channeled their inner gamers with console drops, and popular food brands rolled out merchandise lines to help outfit people for the holidays.
This, and more, in this week's retail therapy.
Pizza Hut takes comfort to a whole new level
When this year has felt more like a decade, the only thing consumers want right now is a little extra comfort. So Pizza Hut and Gravity Blanket teamed up to release a weighted blanket just in time to snuggle up with during those frigid winter months.
The blanket, reminiscent of the restaurant's Original Pan Pizza, weighs 15 pounds and measures 72 inches in diameter. It features a micro-fleece duvet cover to "comfort and soothe, mimicking the unbeatable feeling of indulging in an Original Pan Pizza," according to a company press release. What's more comforting than cheese and blankets?
"There's no better way to close out 2020 than eating a Pizza Hut Original Pan Pizza while wrapped in the warmth and comfort of the Original Pan Weighted Blanket", said George Felix, chief marketing officer at Pizza Hut. "This partnership with Gravity Blanket was the perfect solution to bring one of our legendary pizzas to life while bringing our fans a little TLC at the same time."
But experiencing this level of comfort will cost you. The company in its announcement said the blanket would sell for $150 on originalpanblanket.com. But unfortunately, as of Friday, the blanket had already sold out.
Brands cash in on the gaming hype
Gaming is projected to be a big category this holiday season in terms of sales as major players like Xbox and PlayStation recently released their latest consoles.
According to the NPD Group, spending on video games in the third quarter reached the highest total in U.S. history at $11.2 billion, up 24% from last year. Hardware and accessories increased some 16% and 35%, respectively, in the period. And that record growth is expected to continue into Q4 fueled by sales of the newest consoles, according to Mat Piscatella, games industry analyst at the NPD Group.
But Xbox and PlayStation may have some new, albeit unlikely, competition to worry about.
Bud Light this week announced the launch of the ultimate console, BL6, which features two built-in koozies to keep your beverages cold. The product is shaped like a six-pack and comes with a projector and six games, including Tekken7, Soul Calibur VI and RBI Baseball 20.
The BL6 is available for purchase through an auction, and as of press time, the bid had reached $8,514. To put that into perspective, the new Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X retail for about $499 for the highest-end models.
But Bud Light isn't the only one capitalizing on the gaming hype this season.
Philadelphia Cream Cheese this week launched The Philly Series 5. The product dropped as part of the brand's holiday campaign as consumers gear up to make baked goods this holiday season.
The Philly Series 5, which might win the award for cheapest "console" selling for just $4.99, contains ingredients to make a cheesecake including Philadelphia cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, chocolate sandwich cookies, a white chocolate baking bar, wax paper and a baking pan.
Honestly, the only way we'll truly get into gaming is if there's food involved, so this is right up our alley.
Brands aim to outfit consumers for the holidays
Popular brands and companies releasing merchandise around the holiday season is nothing new.
In years past we've seen holiday apparel launches from Taco Bell, Whattaburger and Red Lobster, among others.
And though many things this year have been uncertain, one thing's for sure: brands will continue rolling out the absurd merchandise for all of us to enjoy (and cringe at).
Hidden Valley created a gift shop perfect for all of those Ranch dressing lovers in your life. From dog toys and throw blankets, to baby sippy cups and flasks, the brand has truly made it easy to gift everyone in your life a Ranch-themed product, you know, if that's something you were counting on doing this year. Merchandise ranges from $5 to $75 and is available on Hidden Valley's website.
In a similar move, Lay's released snack-themed gifts and apparel that will look absolutely perfect on family Zoom calls this Thanksgiving. The products, which include fuzzy socks, scarves and onesies, will be available for purchase in a newly created online shop.
But the brand that takes the cake this year might be Stove Top, the brand famous for its stuffing — the true star of the Thanksgiving table. The brand created a fashion collection inspired by the side dish that urges consumers to take a more elevated approach when choosing their outfit this holiday.
"It's time to trade in your quarantine sweatpants and get stuffy," the company said in a press release.
Items in the collection include a velvet dinner jacket, "stufflinks" (stuffing-inspired cufflinks) and a shawl.
"Let's face it: the sweatpants fatigue is real, and people are looking for any excuse to get dressed up this year," Juliet Levine, brand manager of Stove Top, said in a statement. "We hope our STOVE TOP Stuffy Thanksgiving Collection makes people look and feel their very best this Thanksgiving."
The products start at $4.79 and are available on www.LetsGetStuffy.com while supplies last.