< Back to Blog

Vintage merchandise: What makes it last a lifetime?

By Miriam Diiren

If you grew up in Australia in the early 2000s then you most likely, definitely, remember these (now) vintage merchandise products. Every household would have some form of Vegemite or Nutella merch that lived in that corner cupboard of the kitchen. You’d get home from school and ask Mum if she could make a vegemite sandwich on your Vegemite plate. Or maybe your favourite glass to drink out of was the Nutella Blinky Bill glass. Mums of millennials would go on to keep these 90s and 2000s pieces of merch. Turning much loved merch items into memorabilia. 


Making merchandise that lasts a lifetime is somewhat of a challenge — but here at Good Things, we endeavour to create long-lasting memories with promotional products. We hope one day we’ll look back at vintage merchandise and say “we made that happen!” In this blog though, we’ll be looking at some iconic vintage merchandise (thanks to Mum’s kitchen). Then we’ll look to the future, to see what promotional products you should invest in for long-lasting and memory-making merch.



Merchandise from the 90s and 2000s


Nutella — Blinky Bill Cups (1990s)

These cups are literally collector’s items now. That’s literally the definition of vintage merchandise. The Blinky Bill Nutella glasses are super iconic. In the 90s these Nutella collectable cups came with Nutella inside them! Many millennial kids would remember asking their mum to buy nutella almost every week, just so you could get another Blinky Bill glass. From swimming, to athletic tracks, to rowing and weight lifting — Blinky Bill is seen doing all different types of sports activities on the glasses. Although ours is very well-used and faded, it just shows how a promotional product can become a much-loved kitchenware utensil.



Pictured, original Nutella collection for sale on eBay.


Uncle Toby’s — Weeties (1990s)

The King Willie Weeties merchandise has been a long-standing icon for the Uncle Toby’s cereal brand. With advertisements and merchandise being created with King Willie’s image on it since the late 1980s, King Willie ruled the cereal industry in the 90s. This royal grain was plastered on merch like kids cereal bowls and were ‘Gift With Purchase’ products with cereal boxes. I personally remember using this bowl for breakfast — with it’s flat edge, it was perfect for holding close to your chin to catch the milk. Just another iconic piece of vintage merchandise.


Uncle Toby's_King_Weeties


Vegemite Plate (2000s)


Next up is the Vegemite ‘The future is as bright as bright can be’ merch range — this was created for the ‘Year 2000 Limitied Edition’. I’m told by my family that I won this plate in a Vegemite drawing competition. Apparently I didn’t actually “win”, but each participate in the competition was awarded a limited edition plate. This plate has since been used for Vegemite sandwich, fairy bread, party pies and sausage rolls and more. So thanks mum, I appreciate your sentimental attachment to childhood kitchenware — she must have known that one day I would work for a merchandise company and would want to take photos of these things. For years to come people will collect vintage merchandise with the Vegemite brand on it.





What type of merch will last a lifetime?


From the above examples, we learnt that they are day-to-day products that we used all the time as kids. Mums and Dads have since kept our favourite bowls and kitchenware as memorabilia. These promotional products were fun, colourful, practical and were mainly purchased through a GWP campaign — meaning the product came in addition to the primary product (like Weeties cereal). 


Looking to the future, if you want to create merch that lasts a lifetime (or even become vintage merchandise in the future) then you should really think about your target audience. If you are creating merch for kids, that parents will be buying, then it is important to think about quality and durability. Can it with hold a tantrum? Being thrown onto the grown, spilling fairy bread sprinkles everywhere? Can it go into the dishwasher without the design fading instantly? The fact that these pieces of merch still have their patterns on them despite being 20+ years old shows just how durable the product is. 


Here are some other lifetime product ideas products for kids;


  • Jenga (We still have our original family jenga set in it’s original cardboard box — it’s literally falling apart. Having a cotton bag would be useful, like this one!)
  • Mugs (something to bring from your childhood, into adulthood) 


Alternatively, if your target audience is adults, then look at products that adults will always need. One that comes to mind is a bottle opener. If it ain’t broke, then don’t replace it — usually an adult only has one or two bottle openers. If it lasts a long-time during the good times, then it will last a lifetime. 


Here are some other lifetime product ideas products for adults;


  • Bottle Opener (Great for GWP campaigns, as well as souvenirs — can be a conversation starter)
  • BBQ Apron (I have fond memories of Dad wearing the same branded apron every Christmas day as he cooks on the BBQ)
  • Beach Towel (Although maybe only used a handful of times through the year depending on where the consumer is located, if it’s good quality, then they’ll keep on using it)



Wrapping up the memorabilia


It’s interesting looking at these pieces of vintage merchandise from the 90s and 2000s, I wonder whether the Marketing Managers and Business Developers back then knew that these merch items would become much loved childhood memorabilia. Aussie Millennial kids would have fond memories of Vegemite sandwiches and fairy bread on their Vegemite plates, or having milo or cordial in their nutella collectable glasses. The key to make long-lasting merch that lasts a lifetime is durability, practicality and most important, knowing your audience. 

So if you want your merch to become something that people hold onto as memorabilia, get in touch with us and we’ll solve your brief needs.

Like this article? Share it!