Ever since an Ohio newspaperman began printing the name of his newspaper on custom school bags in the late Victorian period, branded products have been seen as a viable and efficient method of increasing brand recognition. Marketing and advertising experts have come up with a number of extremely successful branded products over the years. Here are some of the most significant and impactful branded products ever released.


You would be hard-pressed not to think of a certain reactionary political phrase when you catch sight of a red cap out of the corner of your eye. So successful was the 2016 presidential tie-in merchandise that it is still being worn by right-wing Americans today – over a year since Trump left office and six years after the hat was released. The key to the success of the MAGA hat lies in its memetic power, simplicity, and bold color. Millions of these distinctive caps have been sold, and the campaign to elect Mr. Trump effectively received a symbolic identifying item of clothing. It will be interesting to see whether the 2024 presidential elections feature rallies being delivered to a sea of red caps. 

Washington Buttons 

Long before the Trump campaign successfully utilized branded attire in a presidential race, a far less controversial political figure paved the way. George Washington – the man who would not be king – needed to drum up support for his 1789 campaign. His team came up with the idea of branded buttons. Every member of high American society at the time wore decorative buttons on their overcoats, which made branded buttons a surefire hit. The Washington campaign went so far as to produce buttons after his inauguration as president. These commemorative branded buttons now go for over 3000 dollars at auction houses due to their historical significance and the insatiable thirst for early relics of Americana. 

Light Up Pint Glasses 

Pint glasses have a special place in many alcohol-consuming cultures. These large glasses have been used as advertising media by breweries since they were first introduced. Brewing giant Budweiser took this concept further than any other brand when they released a series of glasses that lit up when liquid was poured into them. This drew people’s attention to the branding on the cup itself, and they were first released as a commemorative item given away to hockey fans at games. Drinkware is still considered to be one of the most successful vehicles for branding. Branded water bottles by Anthem Branding might not be as ‘flashy’ as the Budweiser light up pint glasses, but they are still very effective at developing brand identity. 

The Inflatable Colonel 

Fried chicken behemoth KFC has always had a knack for releasing impactful promotional items. In 2020, it released a series of pool floats shaped like its Southern plantation-owning mascot – the colonel. These items were highly sought after by fans of floating novelties, of which there is a surprisingly large number. Today, these cheap inflatables go for large sums of money. 

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