By Alysha Radia



Of late, liquid intake has been an issue in my life. Staying hydrated is imperative for wellness of mind, body and soul, and at the moment I’m feeling consistently parched in all areas. At my flat, we only have glasses and mugs big enough to hold a couple of gulps of water, and my mug in the studio was unceremoniously smashed by Marc for daring to exist outside the realms of the shelf. What ever happened to challenging the brief? I find myself scrounging each morning for a vessel to hold my cups and cups of teas and coffees that I drink throughout the day in order to stay appropriately caffeinated. Life is tough. 

I was discussing my first world problems with my flat mates the other day whom in the same breath were banning me from stealing pint glasses next time I was in the pub in order to solve my issue, for fear of ruining the guise of being adults *proper* that they believed the set of matching thimbles in our cupboard gave us. Whilst holding a poxy mug of matcha in my hand that I sipped down almost as soon as I had poured it, conversation moved over to the good old days of having a Sports Direct Mug™ in our kitchen back in East Fife.

The most glorious of vesicular items! Those were the days! When I’d make a mug of coffee and the remainders of it would go cold before I could finish it, even though I had been sipping away at a reasonable pace. The days when I’d have enough tea to sip through an entire episode of Mad Men – and what other mug can fit an entire tub of super market soup in it? Just so convenient. The absence of one in our new grown up flat seems to be symbolic of our transition into proper adulthood, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about either.

For many, its the ultimate symbol of comfort. A symbol of home. A physical manifestation of a hug. For others, it is ubiquitous with raucous student days – a vessel for any liquid imaginable. Water, wine, urine, dirty rain water from a leaking ceiling, you name it, its all been cradled in its cheap ceramic. However, its omnipresence across office kitchens and student digs has long remained a mystery as compelling as that of the Mona Lisa. Whilst it became a subject of many a meme a couple of years ago, I haven’t yet seen a proper explanation for why they are, indeed, so populous. I mean, I assume they were some kind of freebie with Sports Direct purchases at some point – but do THAT MANY people shop at Sports Direct? Idk. 

I’m inclined to believe that The Sports Direct Mug is part of one of the cleverest marketing moves of all time – for what other brand sits front and centre of the homes of so many of its target audience in a way thats so literally big, and so, well, direct? I wouldn’t be surprised it they were distributed around kitchens as part of an insidious and undercover move of guerrilla marketing, priming their reputation for later meme making and therefore the development of a cult status. They serve as a prime example of how communication can come in the most unexpected ways and in the most unsuspecting of places. 

If one day I can create a piece of communications as successful, as iconic, and that holds as much sentiment as The Sports Direct mug, I’ll be proud. 

Writing this scab has moved me to order one off the website for £1.99 for studio sipping, so clearly its working. 

And don’t you dare smash it Marc. 

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