Food & Flip Flops: Promotional Party Favors

South Beach Wine and Food Festival

February might be the best time of the year to be in Miami. Which is why it is our month of festivals. We have a boat show, a huge arts festival, smaller arts fests, and, of course, the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. I will not have the opportunity to attend this year’s SoBe Fest, but I have been on several occasions in the past. Check out this article from our archives to see some of the fun loot I’ve picked up at the amazing events!

Like last weekend, this weekend will be a busy one in Miami because two major events are happening: the South Miami Arts Festival the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. I am going to attend both, but I am particularly excited about the Wine & Food Fest.

The Wine & Food Festival is a huge annual event produced by Food Network and sponsored by Food & Wine magazine. It is a four day event that features celebrity chefs from around the world who spend the weekend in South Florida, giving lectures, doing demonstrations, and just hanging around at the parties. There are numerous events around town, including a “tasting tent,” lessons on cooking with kids, brunches hosted by Food Network personalities. My favorites, though, are the events that take place on the sand behind the Ritz Carlton. I’m happy to say that I will be attending one of these – the Food Trucks on the Beach closing party!

A couple of years ago I went to the Amstel Light Beer & Burger Bash, which was also on South Beach’s actual sand. I was apprehensive about attending, though, because I was wearing really great shoes and I didn’t want to mess them up, but nor did I want to carry them around all night. Well, wouldn’t you know it, the Festival organizers had thought of that! They had designated “Shoe Butlers” who would check your heels for you, but they didn’t leave you barefoot – they gave all of the attendees logoed flip flops to wear at the event, which we got to keep. I must admit, I wore my flip flops well after the close of the Festival – they were comfortable and I live in Miami, so I’m a flip flop gal. The strap had a subtle imprint, so everywhere I went, I was promoting the Festival, which meant that I was also doing marketing for Food Network and Food & Wine. That kind of party favor is worth every penny: it keeps guests happy and comfortable, plus if gives your brand exposure long after the party ends. A promotional marketing win-win for me and for the South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

I can’t wait to report back about Food Trucks on the Beach! Until then, check out this YouTube video all about the Festival….mouthwatering!

My Current Favorite Promotional Products

microfiber cloths
I’m pretty adamant that, by and large, the promotional products that you give away should be useful items. That way people will utilize them and see your logo and other imprinted information regularly. That keeps your company top of mind and helps you build business. Simple! One of my favorite such promotional products right now is inexpensive, functional, and provides a great imprint area: it’s the humble microfiber cloth.

So a microfiber cloth might not sound like a life changing promotional product, and if I’m being honest it’s not. However, it is incredibly useful. I have them squirreled away in my car, various purses, and at my desk and I use them to clean my sunglasses, my car’s center display, and my phone. I probably use these cloths at least once a day, and they’re all imprinted so I am being delivered marketing messages daily.

One of my many, many microfiber cleaning cloths is actually emblemized with Gossett Marketing’s logo. We give these to our customers (and use them ourselves in a pinch), and the reaction that we have gotten has been tremendous. The recipients begin to use them and almost everyone who has gotten one has gone on to order them for their own company. Thus, we’ve customized them with the image of a beautiful pool on South Beach, a bar in Hollywood, a staid firm’s logo, multiple pineapples, and even a caveman! The businesses who have ordered these diversely-imprinted items are as disparate as their cleaning cloths: hotels, law firms, hospitals, and tech repair companies to name a few.

Microfiber cloths might not be groundbreaking, but they certainly are good promotional marketing products in that anyone and everyone can use them. And at $1.00 or less per piece, they fit even the tightest budget. So get creative and get your company’s logo on these great promo items!

Truly Mobile Advertising

photo from miamibeach411.com

photo from miamibeach411.com

Miami Beach is a busy place on a normal day. But during the peak of tourist season it is chaotic. Especially when one of the main North/South thoroughfares is undergoing massive construction, as it is now. So my move when I head over the bridge to that part of town is to park my car wherever I can and then take a taxi to my final destination. It’s less frustrating than driving to a particular restaurant or boutique and then trying to find a parking space, which usually results in driving past where I need to be, parking far away, and hoofing it back – usually in my highest heels!

The last time I was on South Beach I stuck to my plan and parked right away, but instead of catching a taxi I was lucky enough to get a ride in the Swoop Car! It’s a free car service that will take you wherever you need to go on the Beach. Swoop is not only convenient, but it’s also fun. They drive you around in Earth-friendly electric cars and when we used the service, the windows were all open so we got to get an up-close look at the crazies that live on and visit the Beach.

So how does Swoop do it? How can a taxi service operate for free? Well, for one thing the drivers work for tips, and we were certainly generous with ours. I’m guessing that other riders are too because our driver was hustling to make sure that he got to all of his potential patrons. That’s not enough to keep cars, electric or otherwise, driving around Miami Beach, though. However, advertising is! Our Swoop-mobile was covered from top to bottom with ads for Zico coconut water. That is great exposure for the brand because my friends and I called it the Coconut Car as we discussed the benefits of Zico’s product. Not only that, but everyone who we passed (many of whom really took notice of our odd-looking ride) were also exposed to the brand name. It’s a billboard on wheels!

It looks to me like Swoop is a Miami-only phenomenon, but hopefully it will catch on in other parts of the country. It is a fabulous service, plus it is outstanding advertising.

Delicious Food & Unique Promotional Items

photo from bizbash.com

photo from bizbash.com

Some friends and I recently attended the Amstel Light Burger Bash, part of the annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival. It was a blast! Held under an enormous tent right on the sand, the event featured chefs from all over the country cooking their best hamburgers. There were normal burgers, others topped with unusual things like Nutella, some in unique buns (Ramen noodles, pizza crusts, and even tostones), and others that were just too decadent to describe! Amstel Light flowed freely, and there was tasty wine everywhere. The band was great, we ran into tons of people we knew, and it was just a fun evening!

The Burger Bash was all about the food and drinks, but that doesn’t mean that promotional products were left out of the mix. Actually, the event had some of the more interesting promos that I’ve seen. The first items that I noticed were cotton tote bags that seemingly everyone was carrying: they were imprinted with various designs, along with the Groupon logo. The neat thing about them was that Groupon had a large booth wedged between two burger stands where they actually had people silkscreening them on the spot. You just walked up to their booth, indicated which design you liked, and they added the imprint right there. It was a fun concept and it allowed recipients to select a bag that they would actually use, rather than just handing out something that might get tossed later.

Another snazzy promotional item was the “smart” bracelets that Esurance distributed at the Bash. Dubbed the SavorBand, these bracelets were made from white silicon and embellished with the company’s simple “e” logo and they were designed to help attendees remember what they ate and loved. You see, each booth at the Burger Bash had a little computer terminal in front of it. If you ate a burger that you liked, you could then tap your SavorBand to that terminal and information about the tasty bite would then be saved to your bracelet. You might get the recipe, tips from the chef, or both, which you could later download to your home computer. It was a great way for recipients to bring the festival home with them!

I love the South Beach Wine & Food Festival in general and the Amstel Light Burger Bash in particular. It’s a hotbed of great food, tasty beverages, and the neatest promotional products! Hopefully all of you will be able to attend one day – it’s a great time!

Check out this YouTube video about the Esurance SavorBands – such a cool promotional marketing product!

Tourism and Networking…Sort of Relate?

photo from miami-hotel-reservation.info

photo from miami-hotel-reservation.info

Like I said in yesterday’s blog post, I recently vacationed on the Caribbean island of St. John. There are only about 4,000 or so human inhabitants on the island – there must be twice the number of deer to people there – but the population swells daily because of the huge number of tourists that visit. Tourists who clog the sidewalks, drive on the wrong side of the road, and generally leave chaos in their wake. But you know what? Every single native islander that I met during my time there was nice and accommodating when we interacted.

Clearly you just read that first paragraph and you’re thinking, “Lillian, obviously they were nice to you and all of the other tourists – they rely on the money that vacationers bring in.” I get that, I really do. But I am also someone who has lived her whole life in Miami, a major tourist destination, and I have to tell you that I do not necessarily always behave as warmly towards our tourists as the locals on St. John did towards me. What can I say? My hometown is flooded with so-called “Snowbirds” during the winter months and traffic becomes a nightmare. Walking around South Beach during the season? Forget it – too many people on the sidewalks. And if you think you can snag a dinner reservation anywhere good, then you’re wrong. Too many tourists!

I’m sure that many, many of the people who greeted me warmly as we passed on the sidewalks of St. John found my presence just as annoying as I do Miami’s tourists. But they sure fooled me. I’ll bet they’d be great at networking events – able to put a smile on their faces and make a stranger feel welcome and willing to do business with them. I know it’s a stretch to relate the kindness of the people of St. John to networking, but I’m going with it! And aside from that, their excellent attitudes (real or fake) are a great example for the people of Miami. Rather than feel annoyed by our own tourists, we at least act happy to have them here. I know that I am going to take a cue from the people I met during my Caribbean vacation and try to be a friendlier Miamian – and a jollier networker to boot!

Your Promos are a Reflection of Your Company

Swarovski Pen
If you’ve read this blog for a while, then you know about our company, Gossett Marketing. We are a promotional products distributorship located in Miami, Florida. We provide our customers with the imprinted marketing items that they need for their events, office use, employee recognition programs, and the like. We also develop company stores featuring carefully-selected items so that the various departments in large, decentralized organizations all order approved merchandise that enhances their brand. Basically, we work very closely with our customers to make sure that the items they buy reflect their organizations’ principles and values.

If you’re not in our business, then you might not really think about the fact that promotional marketing products are a physical representation of the company that is giving them away. But it’s true – you are what you give, even if what you are giving is a $1.00 pen at a career fair. Let’s say you work at a law firm and you are charged with ordering new pens for the office – would you go for the Swarovski crystal encrusted ones with violet ink? I hope not! Rather, you’re going to go with something more subdued and serious: think brushed aluminum with a subtle, engraved logo. But if you worked at a hotel on South Beach, then the aforementioned sparkly purple pen might project the fun vibe that you’re going for!

It should probably go without saying that the promotional products that you give away should echo your company’s core values, but you would be amazed by the requests that we get on a daily basis! When you order your own promo products, just remember who you work for and try to convey your organization’s tone through the items that you buy and distribute.

Driving on Water is Great Marketing

photo from fiatusa.com

photo from fiatusa.com

Have you seen the Fiat commercial where several of their 500 model cars are driving along the Italian coast, when they suddenly veer into the water only to surface in the United States? I think it’s an adorable ad, although it is chock full of “do not attempt” disclaimers, which always make me laugh because who is going to drive their car into the ocean in an attempt to cross it? Well, Fiat might need to add more warnings because recently in Miami, it went against its own advice and drove 500’s in the water!

To be more accurate, the Fiat 500’s floated and must have been affixed to some sort of boat because they were actually cruising atop the water off of Miami Beach. It happened in late June and it sure was good viral marketing for the automaker – I know that several of my friends who live on the Beach posted photos and videos to Facebook and Twitter, which brought the stunt to my attention even before The Miami Herald. At first I assumed that the videos were fake, but really Fiat had just converted the cars so that they would appear to drive across the bay: talk about a neat promotional product!

Apparently local rapper Pitbull has a new song out and its corresponding music video also features these Fiats cruising off of South Beach. Probably-not-coincidentally, Pitbull happened to be performing in Miami while the cars cruised our coast, so their presence was also excellent marketing for him and his new album.

Miami is a town full of huge, lumbering SUV’s so anything that a company who makes tiny cars can do to get attention to this audience is a great idea. Driving Fiat 500’s through Miami’s waters is a great tie-in to their TV spots, it’s a smart way to get some viral buzz, and it helps our native son Pitbull to boot. Overall, I’d say that Fiat did well to bring its flotilla of cars to Miami!

Check out the Fiats zipping through the water by clicking on the YouTube video below:

How to Give Promos that Stand Out

Virgin Atlantic Mug, University of Miami Stress Reliever, Sunglasses

Virgin Atlantic Mug, University of Miami Stress Reliever, Sunglasses

When you hear the term “promotional marketing products,” you probably envision imprinted pens, paperweights, t-shirts, and the like. It’s that old “trinkets and trash” mentality – people think that promo products can only be X,Y, or Z and that those categories have been beaten to death. Well, I’m here to tell you that those people are wrong (which is fortunate for me – I would be bored to death if I had to talk about pens all day). The options for promotional products are endless, and given enough time, the Gossett Marketing team can have pretty much anything you want or need imprinted with your company’s logo. Here are just a few examples of custom promos to get your creative juices flowing:

UHealth Stress Reliever

U-Shaped Stress Reliever – we did these for the University of Miami Health System in the shape of their logo. Trust me, the “U” is ubiquitous down here, so they are immediately recognizable and they’re a great reminder that UM has a hospital.

 

 

 

Children's Sunglasses

Children’s Sunglasses – these specially-sized Wayfarer-knockoffs were distributed at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival this year. The allover pineapple imprint was a huge hit with recipients and we saw thousands of little kids protecting their eyes with these fun, lime-green shades.

 

Virgin Atlantic Teacup

 

Jumbo Jet Tea Cups – the tea cups that we produced for Virgin Atlantic combined the British passion for tea with the shape of the jets that the UK-based airline operates. These whimsical promos were adored by their recipients, many of whom begged for more!

 

 

Sure, you can get plain old promotional stress relievers, sunglasses, or tea cups, but those are not nearly as memorable as the three custom pieces that I just mentioned. So be sure to stand out in your customers’ minds by getting creative with your promotional marketing.

5 Things That Have Made Me Smile This Week

Happy Kitten
I know that this blog is a part of Gossett Marketing – a promotional product distributorship in Coconut Grove, Florida – and that’s why I try to keep it all business (specifically of the promotional marketing nature). But this portion of the blog is called “Everyday Life Vignettes” and I’m using it for just that this time. That’s why I’m going to list the 5 things that have made me smile this week. I hope they make you smile too!

  1. The prancing kitten photo above. It’s from Reddit and it just made my day when a friend sent it my way. It’s pure bliss in a picture!
  2. I learned how to make a really good brownie/cookie hybrid, which made me flash a chocolate-toothed grin when I sampled them! Leave a comment if you want the super-simple recipe – they’re worth the calories!
  3. When it dawned on me on Monday that it’s February (yes, I know that Monday was the 4th and that I was a bit behind). February is a great month in Miami: we have two big Arts Festivals, a Boat Show, and the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. February = Fun!
  4. Hearing “I’m going to Disney World!” ads on the radio. I was rooting for the Ravens, so I’m happy that Joe Flacco is the one yelling this after winning the Super Bowl, but I would have smiled even if it was a 49er. I love that that ad campaign lives on!
  5. Speaking of the Super Bowl, I loved Beyonce’s halftime show and I’ve been cracking up as I try to emulate her dance moves all week! Didn’t see it? You can watch the YouTube video at the end of the post.

I’ve smiled more than 5 times this week, but those are some of my favorite reasons for doing so. Has anything memorable made you smile or laugh this week? Please share in the comments below!

And, last but not least, here’s the Beyonce video that I mentioned above:

Any Event is a Promotional Marketing Opportunity

dachshund
The 11th annual South Beach Dachshund Winterfest was recently held on Miami Beach, and although I did not attend, the pictures are just about some of the cutest things that I have ever seen! The festival, touted as “A social gathering for Dachshunds and their people,” is a fun event in which owners get to meet fellow enthusiasts and learn more about the breed, wiener dogs play with one another, show their skills in a talent show, and maybe even win a raffle prize. Winterfest benefits Dachshund Rescue South Florida, so not only is it surely a blast, but it’s for a good cause, which explains its popularity.

Dachshund Winterfest is a pretty specialized event – it’s not even geared towards dog people, it is specifically for doxie-lovers – but it’s still a great marketing opportunity for the right person. For example, these low-slung pups are known to have back problems, so it might behoove a veterinarian to have a table at the festival: that way concerned canine parents would have someone to talk to about potential health issues. That same vet would be smart to give away Dachshund calendars with his clinic’s logo and contact information because anyone who cares enough to go to an even celebrating the breed would definitely want a year’s worth of cute sausage dog photos, thus giving him 12 months of exposure.

The event is held as a benefit for Dachshund Rescue South Florida, meaning that that organization is very visible during the festivities, but what about after? Well, I’d suggest that the rescue society give cute, imprinted t-shirts to any wiener dog that visits its booth during Winterfest. Owners seem to love dressing up these pups, so I’m willing to bet that they’d adorn their canine companions with those t’s at a later date. What a cute way for Dachshund Rescue to get their logo out and about!

Something like the South Beach Dachshund Winterfest is a highly specific event, but it still provides a great opportunity to distribute promotional marketing materials. Keep an eye out for similar opportunities near you – even underwater basket weavers need marketing!

Did you know that the Dachshund has its own song? Appropriately called the “DachSong,” you can click on this YouTube video to hear it:

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