If you’re currently anywhere near Vancouver, you’ll know that Olympic merchandise is so hot right now. Line ups to get official merchandise from The Bay at downtown Vancouver is about a block-long at any given time of the day. Olympic fever is on!
There’s one merchandise in particular that people are trying to get their hands on (almost literally). The official red Olympic mittens are pretty hard to ignore. In addition to the commercials, Canadian spectators prominently show their national pride through the mittens on national TV. Apparently, even Vice President Joe Biden of the United States has sported a pair. And last Friday, even Oprah got into the action: She had a pair herself and gave her entire audience a pair each!
So what’s with these mittens? Personally, it’s the only Olympic merchandise I bought. The marketing of these mittens is absolutely genius! It started off with some commercials featuring celebrities and athletes (among them, Roberto Luongo from the Canadian hockey team). The commercials tied in how buying these items benefits Canadian athletes – a great selling point!
Incidentally, the fact that the mittens are hard to find fueled the demand for them. I couldn’t help but wonder if the merchandisers restricted the supply intentionally?
Recently, the mittens also have become a sign of a newly-found Canadian patriotism. I could buy a $50 scarf to show my support for Canada – or I could buy a $10 pair of mittens. The choice here is pretty easy. (Although it seems like a lot of Canadians right now are buying both, and more…)
But perhaps most importantly, the success of these red Olympic mittens is due to the simple fact that they are so darn cute! After-all, no type of marketing, either big or small, can generate word-of-mouth if the item itself isn’t aesthetically attractive.
Check out me out below sporting the red mittens while out visiting some Olympic festivities with my nephew.