A Nostalgic Journey Into The Amazing World Of Spice Girls Merchandise

The Spice Girls have announced a new EP to mark next month's 25th anniversary. Yet another item to add to the merchandise collection...

Spice Girls dolls

by Grazia |

I was eight years old when Wannabe, the debut single from The Spice Girls, was released in an explosion of Girl Power on July 8th 1996, launching five young, British women into the international spotlight. A stream of perfect pop songs soon followed, along with a hit debut album. Their global takeover, in truth the product of an incredibly savvy plan laid out by the members and their management, seemed to happen overnight. Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton, Melanie Chisholm, Melanie Brown and Victoria Adams entered the A-List. They adorned magazine covers. Starred in their own film. Playgrounds were filled with children who would spend their lunch breaks performing out-of-tune renditions of Who Do You Think You Are to unwilling dinner ladies.

Kids like me threw Spice Girls birthday parties - costumes were compulsory. It was the closest thing to Beatle Mania children on the Nineties had ever seen. The band were a cultural institution. But they were also aware of the power of fandom, and the financial benefits of lending one's name to a parade of products. Merchandising was no new thing, but The Spice Girls left no stone unturned. As they hit the big time, they ensured that they had registered their name as a trademark across all product categories, from everything from automobiles to toiletries.

At the time, it seemed truly amazing that you could dedicate your whole life to a band, and show the world that you were dedicated to them. But in hindsight, it was of course a cynical marketing ploy that made many people rich while parents like mine struggled to satisfy their children's every whim. Then again, the band's breadth meant that you could buy a piece of them - their pluck, their talent, their, well, spice - at the corner shop for 30p (remember when crisps cost 30p? Those were the days.)

From cameras to body spray, lollipops to crisps, take a walk down memory lane at the most desirable - and official - Spice Girls merchandise and endorsements of the past.

The Spice Cam

This was, in essence, just a Polaroid camera with a new pink and purple casing. It also came with stickers, so that you could personalise it with images of your favourite band member. There are plenty of vintage ones available second-hand on sites like eBay but they go for in excess of £100.

Don't Call Me Barbie

What do you mean you didn't have all five dolls? Baby, Sporty, Scary, Ginger and Posh were immortalised in plastic and sold with their own accessories, meaning you could make your very own band perform to your heart's content.

The Photo Album

Perhaps inspired by the success of classic football sticker books, the group released 120 official images that could be collected in batches of foiled packs, then slid into a made-to-measure book. Highlights included a picture of Victoria on the toilet - those were the days, eh? - and the girls in full Baywatch mode.

Food, Glorious Food

We told you they left no stone unturned. At the height of their fame, The Spice Girls had their own limited edition flavour of Walkers crisps - cheese and chive, with each pack adorned with a different member of the group and some packs coming with a limited edition pin badge. They were the global faces of Pepsi, had their own Chupa Chuo lollipop sideline and a deal with Cadbury's that saw the release of classic bars of milk chocolate as well as Roses-style boxes that offered a flavour supposed to complement each woman.

That's ASDA Spice

In 1997, the girls signed a big deal with the supermarket and released a range of 40 branded items. Everything from pizza to Christmas crackers to birthday cake, and even men's ties, all with green and purple branding.

The Smell Of Success

The girls teamed up with Impulse in 1997 to launch Spice, a body spray publicised with a cheeky ad campaign that highlighted society's focus on the male gaze before turning the tables, making viewers wonder: if I'm thinking dirty thoughts, that's my issue, not theirs.

Daylight Rubbery

The girls linked with PMS Stationery to release the classic back to school items half of your class would have owned. Lunchboxes, pencil cases, pencils, rubbers, sharpeners. If the Spice Girls didn't think of it then you didn't need it.

The English Channel

Remember having only four channels? No? Well, that was the reality of the Nineties. But when Channel 5 launched they knew they needed to make a big impression. Inevitably, they shelled out the big bucks and recruited the world's most famous five some for a print and TV campaign that saw the band dress in colours reminiscent of terrestrial television's hold screen.

Does this give you a twinge of nostalgia for the old days? The band's official website has some perfectly nostalgic items to help you revisit their heyday. And they will be releasing Wannabe25, a new EP, next month.

I'll be buying it. Once a Spice Girl fan, always a Spice Girl fan.

READ MORE: Meet The Woman Behind The Spice Girls' Iconic Style

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