Retail Therapy: Top Ramen steams up new clothing line
The market for brand love is so high that everything from noodles to Miracle Whip has its own merchandise line. And the products sell out.
It's been another weird week in retail. Cup Noodles and Top Ramen released a clothing line for fans of the "just add boiling water" products, Miracle Whip believes in mayonnaise enough to sell T-shirts of their logo and Game of Thrones got an alcoholic makeover.
This, and more, in this week's retail therapy.
Cup Noodles merch feeds the need for brand love
Brand love is so commoditized now that more often than not it's accompanied by a clothing line with little purpose other than to promote either the brand's name or products — a problem we can blame on the enduring success of the graphic T.
Alas, T-shirts and sweatshirts with Kodak symbols and Fruit Loop boxes have proliferated as customers seek to show brands they care in the only way they know how: spending money to be a walking advertisement. These clothing lines are nearly always marketed at young shoppers, either because college students are the most likely to spend money to support a soulless corporation or, less likely, because college students are actually their key demographic.
That being said, the Cup Noodles and Top Ramen line is right on target. Not only because that's all college students can afford to eat (thank you, higher education, for making college more expensive than many annual salaries), but also because they are the most likely to blow $40 on a Cup Noodles costume for that stray dog that's been wandering around the beer-stained grounds of the apartment complex lately.
Shoppers can also buy the traditional bland T-shirt that is neither as committed as the Cup Noodles T-shirt nor as impulsive as the Top Ramen pillow, or contemplate a long-term purchase: the $500 neon "Send Noods" sign — perfect for the fraternity house down the street that keeps feeding your dog beer.
Ok, all the want. These are ????— Jonna Mae ???? (@themissesmae) October 4, 2018
I want that shirt! pic.twitter.com/0RqsY6MSHL— helterXXskelter (@mypsnstuff) October 4, 2018
This mayonnaise clothing line needs a miracle
If it seems hard to believe that anyone would feel passionate enough about ramen to wear clothes with noodles on them, then the Miracle Whip clothing line — and its apparent success — will baffle the mind.
The thought that someone likes mayonnaise of any kind enough to sport merchandise of it is shocking in its own right, but it's really the fact that they call it "Whip Wear," coupled with phrases like "#TangGang," that push the Miracle Whip line out of the "mediocre style" category and into the "my soul abhors this" category.
It's not just all about the price tag, either. Although $25 is still too much for a hat promoting mayonnaise, we have more of an issue with some of the style choices. If it's not immediately clear what we're referring to, we urge you to check out the crop top sweater that implies this clothing line would be worn by the fashion-savvy and the interesting placement of the brand logo on this pair of sweatpants.
It says a lot about the state of the American consumer that the sweatpants are sold out.
Oh shit... pic.twitter.com/5R0EhaiaeT— Matt Berman (@MADEmattEB) October 4, 2018
Hopes influencers wears them on their own so they won’t have to pay them— Ed Van Sant (@jorel_ed) October 3, 2018
A song of scotch and whiskey
The American shopper is many things. We've made it seem like all they're interested in is wearing branded apparel, but really they're much more complex than that — they're also very interested in consuming products inspired by hit TV shows.
That's where Game of Thrones comes in. The wildly popular show has pitted fans against each other in fantasy leagues, ending friendships over the course of the season only to tie their broken hearts back together with the death of their fifth favorite character (the other four have, of course, died in previous seasons).
Seeing an opportunity to profit off of customer obsessions, Johnnie Walker released White Walker scotch in celebration of the final season, per a press release. The bottle apparently reveals an "unexpected graphic" when frozen and is best-served "directly from the freezer" — not because anyone needed a freezer-friendly scotch, but because it's a good way to make fans feel connected to the void that entered their lives when the seventh season ended.
Personally, we think there's a missed opportunity here for not just calling the scotch: "Drink me and know things."
ok but u can’t release a trailer— livi (@_livssss) October 1, 2018
Smart coffee knows you like it hot
It's been a while since we've turned our critical eye away from the monstrosities trying to pass as fashion and instead focused it on the technology market, which releases equally alarming products.
Our favorite this week: a smart coffee mug that retails for $80, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. The mug is meant to keep coffee or tea at the optimal heat for about an hour, at which point the battery dies, your coffee gets cold and you remember with a sense of dread that you paid $80 for a mug.
But that's not all! The world has become so dependent on caffeine in order to operate that Ember also offers a temperature-controlled travel mug, which sells for $150 and lets users control the relative heat of their beverages so that when someone inevitably spills their coffee on the train, their neighbor receives a mild burn instead of a splash of tepid brown water.
But hey, if you want happy workers you need coffee. So, personalized temperatures may be the future of worker efficiency in the United States.
Follow Cara Salpini on Twitter