There has not been a merchandising machine quite like The Spice Girls.

In the twelve months that made up 1997 (you know the ones: March and September and that), the Spice Girls made over £300 million worldwide through merchandise.

That’s over half a billion Australian dollars when you convert it, and that figure does not include the $100 million AUD made from box office receipts from the Spice World movie, which also came out that same year.

Apropos of nothing, we have decided to compile our favourite pieces of Spice Girls merch: from the weird to the wonderful to the utterly useless.

But first, a song…

THE SPICE MIRROR

Practice your dance routines in the official Spice Girls mirror, but don’t pay too much attention to Mel B’s anguished look – it’s not about your moves, we promise.


Although, it may have other uses, as the Girls recently reminded us.

THE SPICE GIRLS NOT-BARBIES

With slightly more realistic figures than Barbie (who, famously, would topple over if she was a real woman with those proportions), these dolls even kinda look like the girls when you squint. Except for Emma – not sure what’s going on there. Posh Spice has a bit of Sandra Bullock going on in the face, too.

THE SPICE GIRLS SOUND STAGE

So you’ve bought the dolls, but they simply aren’t getting along with Barbie in the Beach House, plus Geri keeps hitting on Ken even though his sweater set screams ‘not interested, honey’.

Well, whack them in the recording studio, where they can ‘rock’ and ‘jam’, although we guarantee no Spice Girls studio session ever contained either of these elements. It’s nice to see Emma getting into engineering work, too.

Dolls not included. Probably.

THE JIGSAW PUZZLE

This real puzzle here is why does this look like it’s from a Baywatch crossover episode that never existed? Also, 500 pieces is too many pieces.

FINE PORCELAIN PLATE

I’m going to go ahead and call this a marketing mismatch. The Spice Girls do not belong on fine porcelain, that’s more of a Princess Diana thing. Although if you are going to use it, we suggest eating…

THE SPICE GIRLS PIZZA

Fun fact: Victoria’s mum found one of these deep in her freezer a few years ago when defrosting, why is why this delightful photo exists. The idea of five separately-flavoured mini-pizzas in one pack is still a solid one, which I’m surprised didn’t spread further.

They don’t look the best, though…

THE SPICE GIRLS WATCH

This would retail for $149 on the south end of King St. today, and it would be snapped up within hours, non-ironically. Well, maybe a little ironically.

THE SPICE GIRLS TECH AUDIO EQUIPMENT

I think the first few Wavves albums were recorded on this gear.

SPICEWORLD: THE MOVIE: THE BUS

If there was a Venn diagram of people who loved The Spice Girls and people who collect die-cast vehicles, well you wouldn’t fit the circles on the same billboard.

SPICE GIRLS PEPSI (WITH BONUS CD!)

From memory, Spice Girls Pepsi didn’t taste any different from regular Pepsi (or Coke or Australia’s Choice or Home Brand Cola, for that matter) but you got a free CD with a can of drink! That’s devaluing music, surely. Luckily the trend didn’t catch on. (Also, how did they fit the CD in the can?)

Okay, so here are some seriously impressive stats about this CD.

  • The song itself was a left-over cut that didn’t make their debut album, and it’s still pretty good.
  • The giveaway was a redemption deal, and Pepsi produced 92 million cans, sold a little over 60 million, and roughly 600,000 CDs were redeemed, which means one in ten people who drank Spice Pepsi (now with coriander!) bothered to redeem for the CD.
  • This uptake saw Pepsi’s market share rise from 15.1% to 19.6% in less than a month – its highest of the ’90s.
  • The font wasn’t the best, though.

SPICE GIRLS CHOCOLATE

When you’re feeling sad and low.

THE SPICE GIRLS PLAYSTATION GAME

If you can’t dance, if you can’t dance, well, you can live vicariously through the PSone game, released as a tie-in with Spiceworld, and perfectly timed to ride the wave of unlikely dance-based button-combo PSone hit PaRappa The Rapper.

Ginger made the hottest CGI Spice Girl in my opinion.

See.

SPICE GIRLS POLAROID

Now we’re talking. A regular, adult Polaroid camera, these things would be worth a bundle these days, although the process might be confusing for some, much like the fact the ‘phone call’ button on iPhones still has a picture of an old-school handset.

THE SPICE GIRLS MOBILE PHONE

Not a real mobile phone — they were perhaps a half-decade too early to cash in on that particular trend in a tweeny-affordable way, although this one featured personalised greetings from each of the Girls. And by ‘personalised’ I mean figuratively and literally phoned in.

My sisters had this, and I can still remember the exact vocal inflections of each message.

IMPULSE SPICE

I gotta tell you, if you are a guy within a certain age range and inclination, this scent will shoot you back Proust-style to those days when every girl you had mad crushes on wore this scent. Impulse was a very apt name.

There’s a type of Victoria’s Secret perfume out now that has a similar scent, and if I happen to pass someone wearing it, BAM! CRUSH.

SPICE GIRLS HAIR CARE SET

Strictly only for use with the Official Spice Girls mirror.

SPICE SNEAKERS

Holy shit, these things are great. I’m sure they were only accidentally unisex, and that the air-socket doesn’t contain actual air, but boy do I wanna strap on a pair of these bad gals!

SPICE GIRLS TATTOO GRAPHIX

I’m calling it: this was the gateway drug to the rush of women who got tattoos in the early ’00s.

Luckily they shelved the Spice Girls Self-Injection and Tourniquet Set, hey?

For more up-to-the-minute Spice Girls news, check 1997.