TV shows are big business, and the billion-dollar production companies and studios that create the series we love are always looking for new ways to generate income from their titles. Some of these become wildly popular with fans and generate millions in profits, whilst others look like blatant money-grabs by the companies looking to squeeze every penny from their brands.
Here are five of the strangest brand tie-ins in recent years:
Doctor Who fish fingers
Doctor Who has some of the most committed fans in the universe in a clever marketing ploy Birdseye created a very special Doctor Who-branded box of fish fingers to mark the 50th anniversary of the show and launch the National Fish Fingers and Custard Day. It’s an odd combination of foods, but the favourite of the eleventh incarnation of Doctor Who, who was played by Matt Smith back in 2013. Birdseye created a single unique box of fish fingers, with the Doctor’s face replacing the tradition bearded sea captain and delivered it to Matt Smith along with a year’s supply of the popular foodstuff. Despite no official tie-in or approval from the BBC, the marketing stunt delivered many column inches for the frozen fish specialists and a lot of chatter amongst the fandom.
Power Rangers aftershave
If you were a child of the nineties, then chances are that you may have enjoyed watching Power Rangers save the world form a variety of baddies over the course of a few television series. The brightly coloured superheroes were always a brand with significant profits generated from toys and action figures, but the aftershave launched to mark the 20th anniversary of the show in 2013 was probably the most bizarre tie-in. Creating a scent that is marketed to fans of a TV show or film is strange enough by itself, but Power Rangers is a show geared at children, so it is unclear who exactly the target market was for Power Rangers Megaforce Snake from Marmol & Son, making it one of the stranger tie-ins we’ve seen over the years.
Hell’s Kitchen slots game
Hell’s Kitchen is a wildly popular cooking show, with the original US series still going after 21 seasons, and the UK offshoot having four series of its own featuring the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Gary Rhodes, and Marco Pierre White. As a cooking show, cooking equipment such as knife sets, pans, or similar could all become popular tie-ins with fans looking to recreate some of the dishes and tastes they’ve seen on the show. However, the game’s format, graphics, and soundtrack have also been utilized by gambling developers to create a popular online slots game, with Chef Ramsay offering various verbal interjections throughout the gameplay.
Bates Motel bathrobe
For those that have not seen the show, Bates Motel is a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock’s horror classic Psycho, which is very much in the horror genre, so possibly not the most likely show to have many branding tie-ins. However, US retailer Hot Topic decided that its horror vibes might be popular with its clientele of teenage goths and punks, and so it teamed up with the show to offer a Bates Motel plush terry-cloth bathrobe.
Hannah Montana toastie maker
Miley Cyrus is perhaps better know today as a hell-raising celeb, but in her younger years she played Hannah Montana, an American schoolgirl living a double life as a pop star in a Disney show of the same name. The show was a blockbuster success and launched Cyrus to global stardom, with numerous branding tie-ins, but perhaps the most egregious money grab was a Hannah Montana branded toastie maker. Everyone loves a toastie, but what exactly it has to do with a TV show about a popstar remains unanswered, and the toasties themselves don’t even come out with the star’s face on them, with the company instead opting for simpler patterns of a guitar or “pop star” slogan.