The thin blue bottom line: which other institutions might grab a slice of merch?

Spend five minutes in Oxford and you will see that every second shop sells Oxford University hoodies. This fact has not escaped the notice of London’s Metropolitan police. After consultations with branding specialists, The Point.1888, the Met is set to put its mark on clothing, cuddly toys, stationery and other trinkets. The institution is taking a lead from the New York Police Department (NYPD), which makes $500,000 (£392,000) a year selling its own branded sweaters. If that is what such a deal is worth, which other UK venerable government and quasi-governmental organisations might want to throw their merch in the ring?

Ordnance Survey art

Ordnance Survey art

Ordnance Survey

In his novel The Map and the Territory, Michel Houellebecq imagines an artist who makes millions by blowing up France’s Michelin maps. Inspired by this, the UK could profit from its cartographic design icons by producing Ordnance Survey artwork.

Merch T-shirts displaying prints of interesting locales, viewed cartographically. Ever wanted to walk into work modelling a cartographic view of Leeds Castle? Go bananas.

NHS pacemaker

Wear your heart on your heart … NHS-branded pacemakers


The irony of introducing a further profit motive into the NHS will, of course, be lost on starry-eyed NHS-lovers. Likely to cost each family in Britain more than a Bupa membership, this cash bonanza could save a service whose budget has doubled since 2000.

Merch NHS ashtrays, lighters, corkscrews, fag papers, cream cakes. We all put into the system; we all take out.

David Dimbleby

The Dimble-tee.


In our present multi-channel Babel, the public would welcome the comforting image of the top-down world before media plurality chaos. On that basis, the licensing rights to David Dimbleby alone must be worth a fortune.

Merch Apparel themed around a Dimbleby-like Big Brother figure. Slogan: The Clever Men in Broadcasting House Know Best.

H&S boilersuits

H&S boilersuits.

The Health & Safety Executive

Trade on the haters. Exploit the bogeyman image that Health and Safety already enjoys. T-shirts, mugs, placemats, all demonstrating draconian factoids under the new slogan/tagline: “Because Health & Safety”.

Merch Hi-vis branded boilersuits for ravers. And joggers. A remix of the Prodigy’s safety-sampling hit Charly.


On the record … your own personal Hansard.


Tourists love parliament: it’s the best thing about Britain on days when the Harry Potter studio tour closed. Transcribing service Hansard makes the ideal partner for a merch collaboration.

Merch The perfect memento: you could have your name read into the record by a backbench MP (on commission), and then be presented with your own volume of that day’s Hansard.


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