4 Reasons NOT To Buy BAD Merch

“Friends Don’t Let Friends Buy Bad Merch!”

Branded Merchandise, or ‘merch’ as it’s commonly referred to, is a crucial aspect of any organization or personal brand. It serves as a tangible representation of the brand, often acting as a physical reminder of a brand’s values, image, and identity. However, not all merch is created equal. In this video and blog, we discuss the importance of avoiding bad merch and the detrimental effects it can have on your brand. It’s not just about saving a few bucks, it’s about preserving the integrity of your brand, respecting the environment, and making a smart investment.

It’s essential to understand that cheap and inexpensive are not synonymous when it comes to merch. The quality of the merch can significantly impact the brand’s image and reputation. Furthermore, bad merch is not only harmful to the brand but also to the environment. It contributes to landfill waste and promotes a culture of disposability. Lastly, bad branded merch is a bad investment. It does not leave a lasting impression and may not even be used by the recipients. In this article, we delve into these points in detail, providing you with four compelling reasons not to buy bad merch.

Cheap vs. Inexpensive Merch

When it comes to branded merch, there’s a significant distinction between cheap and inexpensive. Cheap merch often lacks quality and durability, leading to a poor representation of your brand. On the other hand, inexpensive merch can still be of high quality. For instance, a high-quality lip balm can be an inexpensive yet effective piece of merch. It’s essential to strike a balance between cost and quality when choosing your merch.

Investing in cheap merch may seem like a cost-effective strategy in the short term. However, the long-term effects can be detrimental to your brand. Cheap merch often breaks easily, doesn’t function properly, or wears out quickly, leading to a negative impression of your brand. On the other hand, inexpensive, high-quality merch can leave a positive, lasting impression, enhancing your brand’s image and reputation.

Bad Merch is Bad for the Brand

Branded Merch is a physical representation of your brand. It’s a tangible extension of your brand’s values, image, and identity. Therefore, bad merch can significantly harm your brand. It’s crucial to choose merch that aligns with your brand’s values and image. If the merch contradicts these, it can be detrimental to your brand’s reputation.

Imagine handing out pens that don’t write or t-shirts that fade after a few washes. This not only frustrates the recipient but also reflects poorly on your brand. It sends a message that your brand doesn’t value quality or customer satisfaction. Therefore, it’s crucial to invest in high-quality merch that accurately represents your brand and resonates with your target audience.

Bad Merch is Bad for the Earth

Bad merch isn’t just bad for your brand; it’s also bad for the environment. Cheap, low-quality merch often ends up in the trash after a short period of use, contributing to landfill waste. This not only harms the environment but also reflects poorly on your brand’s commitment to sustainability.

Choosing sustainable and reusable merch is a better option. Not only does it show your brand’s commitment to the environment, but it also provides a lasting, useful product for the recipient. For instance, a reusable shopping bag or a stainless steel water bottle can be a great piece of merch that aligns with your brand’s sustainability values and provides value to the recipient.

Bad Merch is a Bad Investment

Investing in bad merch is like throwing money down the drain. It doesn’t leave a lasting impression, and it may not even be used by the recipient. The perceived value of the merch is crucial for its usage and impact. If the merch falls apart or doesn’t function properly, it’s likely to be discarded, wasting your investment.

On the other hand, investing in high-quality, useful branded merch can have a significant return on investment. It can enhance your brand’s image, increase customer loyalty, and even generate new business. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider the quality and functionality of the merch before making an investment.


Choosing the right branded merch is crucial for any brand. It’s not just about the cost; it’s about the quality, the impact on the environment, and the return on investment. It’s important to choose merch that aligns with your brand’s values and image. Consider your target audience and what would bring them joy and lasting use. A well-thought-out merch strategy can significantly enhance your brand’s image and reputation, leading to increased customer loyalty and business growth.

So, before you make your next merch purchase, remember these four reasons not to buy bad merch. Invest in quality, align with your brand values, consider the environment, and make a smart investment. Your brand, your customers, and the earth will thank you.

As always, we want to provide you with value.  So if you want to create marketing campaigns (and appreciation gifts) that hit the TARGET, check out our TARGET marketing playbook here.

Written by: Kirby Hasseman

Kirby Hasseman is the CEO of Hasseman Marketing & Communications. Kirby hosts a weekly Web show called Delivering Marketing Joy where he interviews business leaders from around the country. Kirby has published four books. His most recent is “Fan of Happy.” His book, called "Delivering Marketing Joy" is about doing “promo right” and is perfect for people in the industry and customers. He also wrote “Think Big For Small Business” and “Give Your Way to Success. All are available on Amazon.