Brand the Sand: A Fun Summer Item

Flip Flops

Even though it is only May, it already feels like summer here in Miami. The days are long, the sun is bright, and it is hot. So hot, in fact, that I am planning on hitting the beach this weekend- a nice dip in the ocean will refresh this overheated blogger!

A great perk to working at Gossett Marketing is the fun, branded samples that we receive. One of my favorites is a pair of rubber Havaianas-style sandals that we had made for the Orange Bowl a year or so ago. They’re black and have silver “Obie” logos. Subtle but cute! And you can bet that they will be on my feet when I hit the sand on Saturday.

While I love our Orange Bowl flip flops, I wish we had added one thing to them. If I had my way, we would have carved their logo out of the sole of each sandal. That way, when the wearer walked on the beach a logo imprint would have been imprinted in the sand. Imagine giving your customer sandals that literally branded the beach for you! If that person was on Miami Beach, then thousands of viewers could potentially see your company name. It’s a creative promotional product that is ideal for the summer – what an impression custom-soled flip flops could make! (Sorry for the bad pun, I couldn’t help myself!)

Promotional “Real Estate”

Living in South Florida, real estate is always a hot topic.  It’s hot in the promotional marketing business too, but to us the most valuable piece of property is your client’s desktop.  We want your promo piece to get there and to stay there because if that happens, then your customer will see your logo every time he or she sits down at his or her desk.

Tons of items can take up “desktop real estate” – stress relievers, letter openers, and paperweights will all do it.  But for the most impact, I always recommend something fun and unique.  My new favorite: the Ecosphere.  Originally designed by NASA, it is basically an enclosed fish bowl that houses live marine shrimp and never needs feeding or cleaning.  The shrimp tend to last for 2-3 years, but one actually lived for 10!  Your logo can be laser engraved on the Ecosphere, and I can all but guarantee that it is an item that will sit on your client’s desk and get noticed – a great real estate purchase!

Take a look at this YouTube video to see what I’m talking about!

When Promo Products Get Weird

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Professional and collegiate athletic teams give away a ton of promotional products. It’s an easy way for them to market themselves: they promote the giveaway that they are going to, well, give away, to get people excited about attending games, then once spectators leave the venue, they take their imprinted items home with them and use or display them. Therefore, they continue to see the team’s logo well after the game, and ideally that will inspire them to buy another round of tickets. Makes sense!

Teams give a variety of different promotional items. Some are pretty standard-issue marketing pieces: stress relievers, bobble heads, t-shirts, and coolers all come to mind. But some teams get pretty creative. Take, for instance, the Tampa Bay Rays, who give their fans…well…why don’t you read an article in Promo Marketing Magazine to see what one of my home state’s baseball teams hands out to its fans. Click here to read, and trust me, it’s worth it!

Slam Dunk Promotional Marketing

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Having season tickets, my husband Nick winds up going to a ton of University of Miami Men’s Basketball games. He enjoys them because the team is generally pretty good, he bumps into a lot of friends, the arena is close, and who doesn’t enjoy junky sporting event food?! While he attends many a game, Nick rarely takes any of the free promotional products that are occasionally given at games (we do not need any more promotional items or UM-themed stuff); however, the team recently honored former player Shane Larkin and he came home with the bobble head!

The somewhat-creepy likeness of this now-Knicks player wound up in my kitchen and I’m ready for him to move along, but for some reason I feel guilty throwing him away – maybe because his gently-moving head seems to shake in dismay when I go to toss him in the garbage. The thing about me is that I’m not one for dust collectors. Give me a promotional product that I can use (a shirt, a water bottle, a cap) and I’m happy to do your marketing for you by sporting it all over town, but I don’t really care for having more branded stuff just sitting around at home.

Fortunately for the ‘Canes, not everyone is like me. Very many people out there love sports memorabilia or collect bobble heads or just love Barry Larkin’s kid enough to want to have him sit on their desk for the foreseeable future. That means that they will be displaying the image of Shane Larkin in his Hurricanes uniform and hopefully inspire people to go to games!

To be a little broader on the topic, people really like bobble heads. They love to touch them and to, well, make their heads bobble. I suspect that when most receive them at, say, a college basketball game, they will keep it for a little while. They might ultimately give it away or just throw it out, but they probably let it hang around for a while. And if they ultimately become collectors, then your giveaway might stay in their display case forever. That’s a slam dunk! Easy marketing with promotional products!

Promo Products Production Times

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If you work with a promotional marketing products distributor, then you will learn that he or she can provide you with completely customized items. He or she can also probably deliver some imprinted items to you very quickly – maybe even on the day of your order! However, your distributor most likely cannot get you totally customized items at breakneck speed.

Here’s the thing. If you order a custom promotional item it takes time to create. A supplier will need to create a mold, dye fabric, tweak machinery, have quality control tests run, or take any number of other steps to start producing your customized product. Doing so could take months! And most of this is done in China or other far-flung parts of the world, so delivery adds additional time to the process.

Promotional products that can be delivered super quickly are a bit less involved than their custom counterparts. They arrive at our suppliers’ warehouses completed and when an order comes in, they’re pulled, printed, boxed, and shipped. It’s a fairly straightforward process and you can still get awesome marketing items by going this route.

If the timelines for ordering custom versus stock promotional items seems logical, it is. Clearly starting from scratch and creating something totally unique will be a lengthier process than picking out a t-shirt and silkscreening it with a 1-color logo. However, we quite often get last-minute requests for highly customized items, and I always feel bad telling my customers that we can’t do it. So if you want something really special, be sure to plan ahead and order your promotional materials early!

Promotional Products for Kids

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I often blog about the various festivals held around Miami and today is no different. This past weekend was the Chamber SOUTH South Miami Art Festival, an annual event that, while smaller than some of the other art fests in South Florida, is always very nice and well-attended. It was our first weekend of really nice weather, so the festival seemed even busier than usual this year – hopefully that brought the artist and other vendors some good sales!

I live near the site of the South Miami Art Festival so I was in and out of it quite a bit and one thing that kept catching my eye was little kids holding plus replicas of GEICO Insurance’s gecko mascot. I did not immediately spot the insurance company’s stand but when I did I spotted the mounds of stuffed toys – and I spied tons of children dragging their parents over to claim their geckos. The “dragging the parents over” aspect of that last sentence is definitely what GEICO counted on when they ordered their custom promotional marketing products. A parent was not going to turn down a free toy for their child, and when families approached the table insurance representatives pounced on them!

Now I have no idea how many parents signed up for GEICO insurance when they claimed their gecko stuffed animal with their child. However, I do know that all of the little people at the festival – and it was a lot of them – were happily walking around with a promotional product, giving the company a ton of brand exposure in the process.

Temporary Tattoos: Brand Your Customers

Temporary Tattoo

Here’s a fun promotional marketing product idea: custom temporary tattoos. They can be printed in four color process, die-cut to any shape, and they last anywhere from 3 days to a week. If someone applies a temporary tat that incorporates your company’s logo, then the wearer could do your marketing for you for 7 days – just by walking around with it on their skin!

Kids love temporary tattoos. Companies like Nickelodeon have actually had them produced with images of their characters, and they sell them. If they are willing to purchase them, you’d better believe that kids will gladly take and proudly wear a free version if your company gives them away.

The tattoos are also popular at sporting events. I cannot tell you how many University of Miami U’s I’ve seen at football tailgates – I also see them at the grocery store before games and at the gym the day after. Contrary to popular belief, adults don’t necessarily wash these items off right away – they happily sport logos until they fade away, providing excellent branding for the company that distributes them.

The best thing about temporary tattoos? They are inexpensive! You can give out thousands without breaking the bank. So when you’re on the market for your next promotional item, ask the Gossett Marketing crew about temporary tattoos.

Unique Promotional Products, Volume 1

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By and large when our customers approach us looking for promotional marketing items, they want something pretty simple and straightforward: pens, notepads, water bottles, stress relievers. I think those requests are great because those products are things that their target audience will use, and because they are imprinted with my customer’s name, it helps boost their brand’s exposure. But, to be perfectly honest with you, sometimes it gets a little old putting together presentations with the same old stuff, which is why I love it when my customers hit me with oddball ideas. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Rubik’s Cubes: although I’ve never been able to solve one, I can certainly get you custom-printed Rubik’s Cubes. If you give them to your customer, I guarantee that he will test his wits against it!
  • Dog Collars: we had a customer who was doing a dog walk for charity, so she asked for dog collars. Fortunately, we have suppliers who will print them, making Fido and Rex your brand ambassadors. Too cute.
  • Mugs: mugs don’t sound like very exciting promotional products, but when they are in a custom shape they are. We’ve done them in the shape of an airplane and explored several other options (pineapples and University of Miami’s “U”- shaped handles come to mind).
  • USBs: like mugs, USBs don’t sound particularly groundbreaking, but they’re pretty neat when they are in the shape of, say, a cruise ship. We’ve done custom USBs for various cruise lines down here depicting both their ships and their logos, and they look great! Plus, they are a little more fun than the usual thumb drive.
  • Snow Globes: if you have enough time and need enough pieces, then snow globes are a fun route. They can depict your building, your logo, something about your industry…really, your imagination is the only limit.
  • Costumes: does your company have a mascot? Or do you produce a particular type of item? Then why not make a costume to represent that? We have a fruit distributor who wanted to send its employees to trade shows dressed as bananas, and we were actually able to source those outfits for them.

Now that my coworker and I are brainstorming, we’ve come up with tons and tons of different/fun/strange items that our customers have requested of us. I’ll leave you with these six, and maybe they will get your creative juices flowing! Stay tuned for more volumes of unique and different promotional products.

On a different note, can you solve a Rubik’s Cube? Check out this YouTube video and see people who definitely can:

Unique, Handy Promotional Products

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I recently went out of town for a wedding – it was in Austin, Texas, and if you’ve never been you should go. It’s a blast! But that’s not the point of this post. Whenever I travel I realize that airports are a hotbed of promotional products. You see people carrying imprinted duffel bags, working on tablets with logoed cases, wearing embroidered polos and caps, and even toting custom stone crab carriers (only in Miami!). Aside from that, the gift shops are loaded with promotional souvenirs.

During my trip back from Austin, I wound up getting to the airport really early, so my girlfriend and I dawdled around our terminal. She pointed out a funny little promo item and today I’m kicking myself for not taking a picture to share with my readers. It was a can of Coke that was wearing a “hoodie” for insulation. So basically, rather than a regular koozie, the Coke looked as if it was dressed in a sweatshirt. And of course it said “Coke” across the “chest,” so that if you put a Pepsi product or a beer in there, you’d still be advertising for the Coca-Cola Company.

I tried a Google image search to see if I could locate a picture of the item, but I came up short. However, I did come across lots of different promotional products that serve the same purpose. Some look like tires, some are large enough for a 2 liter bottle, I spied camouflaged ones with the Duck Commander logo, and one even looks like a fish swallowing the drink. They’re useful, inexpensive marketing items that can be customized in a variety of ways – including looking like a hoodie sweatshirt!

When I started this post I hadn’t intended to praise the humble can insulator, but they certainly are handy and can be awfully unique. And if that isn’t a great combination of attributes for a promotional item, then I don’t know what is!

Why Calendars are Always Timely Giveaways

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I went to my first Miami Marlins game of the season recently and the free giveaway that the organization was handing out to attendees was a wall calendar featuring players’ images. A lot of my fellow fans thought this was an odd item to give out – it is, after all, already the second quarter of the year. But I have to say that I think a calendar is a good promotional marketing product any time!

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why people found a calendar to be a strange giveaway. If you are a wall calendar kind of person, then you probably buy yours every late December/early January, in time for the start of a new year. Makes sense! But if you think about it, the Marlins gave out their calendar at the start of baseball season – it’s their new year.

The team was smart about their calendar too. In addition to customizing the images, they also included the Marlins schedule, and the calendar runs from April 2014-March 2015, so they did not waste three months at the beginning of this year.

I happen to like calendars as giveaways any time of year. They are so customizable that your organization, like the Miami Marlins, can certainly find a way to tailor them to your product or service. And if your customers use them, then they will see your logo and information about your organization for the entire year to come. That’s darn good promotional marketing!


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