The Top 9 Cringe-Worthy Corporate Merchandise Items That Can Damage Your Brand

The Top 9 Cringe-Worthy Corporate Merchandise Items That Can Damage Your Brand

Corporate merchandise plays a crucial role in brand promotion and relationship building. However, not all merchandise items are created equal. In fact, there are some items that can do more harm than good to your brand reputation. In this blog post, we will explore the top 10 cringe-worthy corporate merchandise items that can potentially damage your brand and undermine your marketing efforts.


  1. Cheap Pens and Keychains: Distributing low-quality, generic pens and keychains can give the impression that your brand lacks attention to detail and is unwilling to invest in quality. These items often end up in the back of drawers or trash bins, leaving a negative lasting impression.

  2. Tacky T-shirts: Wearing branded T-shirts can be a great way to promote your company, but poorly designed or excessively branded shirts can come across as tacky and unappealing. It's essential to strike a balance between brand representation and fashion-forward design.

  3. Stress Balls: While stress balls can be effective stress-relievers, they have become overused and cliché. Opting for more innovative and practical desk items can make a more positive and memorable impact on recipients.

  4. Mugs with Generic Sayings: Mugs with generic sayings like "World's Best Employee" or "I Love My Job" might seem like a safe choice, but they lack personalisation and fail to make a genuine connection with recipients. Consider unique designs or customised messages to create a more authentic and memorable experience.

  5. Plastic Water Bottles: In today's eco-conscious society, plastic water bottles are not only outdated but also detrimental to the environment. Instead, opt for sustainable alternatives like stainless steel or glass water bottles that align with your brand's values.

  6. Flimsy Tote Bags: Tote bags are popular corporate merchandise items, but cheap and flimsy bags that tear easily can give the impression of poor quality and lack of durability. Invest in high-quality, sturdy bags that recipients will be proud to carry.

  7. Excessive Branding: Over branding merchandise items with oversized logos or plastering your brand name all over can be off-putting and even considered as spammy. Subtle and tasteful branding that aligns with the overall design is key to maintaining a professional image.

  8. Poorly Designed Desk Calendars: Desk calendars are practical items, but poorly designed or outdated calendars can make recipients question your brand's attention to detail and creativity. Ensure that your calendars are visually appealing and relevant to your target audience.

  9. Useless Trinkets: Avoid giving out random trinkets with no practical value. These items are likely to end up in the trash, and recipients may perceive them as a waste of resources.


When it comes to corporate merchandise, it's crucial to choose items that align with your brand image, values, and target audience. Avoiding cringe-worthy merchandise items that lack quality, personalisation, or relevance can help protect and enhance your brand reputation. Invest in thoughtful, unique, and practical items that leave a positive and lasting impression on recipients, ultimately strengthening your brand and building valuable relationships.

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