Ugly Sweaters Are Still Hot in Promotional Apparel, But How Long Will It Last?
The definition of the "holiday season" is fairly nebulous. For some people, it's as soon as the last trick or treaters visit their doorstep. Some hold out until at least after Thanksgiving dinner. Others wait until their calendar says "December."
This isn't about whether or not it's OK to stock up on holiday cups in October. It's just that your definition of the holiday season dictates how many novelty "ugly sweaters" you feel the need to buy. And everyone from sports teams to bands to fast food chains is assuming you really want to get down with the holiday spirit as soon as possible and hold onto it, because "ugly sweaters" are reaching critical mass.
Just a day after we saw the ones from Hidden Valley, the latest one that's caught our attention is from Whataburger:
— CBS Austin (@cbsaustin) November 15, 2018
It seems like every brand has a holiday sweater. And we get it. They're fun! It's silly! If you can't allow for a little bit of corny laughter during the holiday season, then you're no better than a common Grinch. And we don't want to be Grinches here, but there absolutely can be too much of a good thing. So many brands are doing it now that it's losing some of its novelty. We are nearing Peak Ugly Sweater.
So, when do ugly sweaters hit that point and go from tongue-in-cheek corny to just plain corny? When does it reach the point where people cringe at them rather than laugh at them? (Think fedoras here.)
— Fashionably Geek (@FashionablyGeek) November 15, 2018
Ugly sweaters have gotten their time in the spotlight thanks to millennials' insatiable appetite for irony and mocking older generations' style. They like it, but they don't really like it, but they really do like it.
Sound confusing? That's because it is. Even millennials have a hard time understanding whether or not their love for something is genuine or ironic.
The bottom line is that ugly sweaters are fun and lend themselves nicely to long-lasting promotional visibility, but distributors should be mindful that piling onto a trend or meme too much can kill it. Keep at it, for now, but just know the trend won't last forever. If anything, it might be a good reminder that, with everyone else doing holiday sweaters, it's time to look for something else that will really help your clients' promotional merchandise stand out.