Wacky Promotional Products

Sports Drink Dispensers

If you’ve ever read the “Promotional Marketing Tips” section of our blog, then you probably know that I’m a big advocate of promotional products that are useful, but also those that are distinctive. For the most part, I think that giveaways should be handy because the more times a logoed promo item is utilized, the more times your logo will be exposed to new audiences. However, not every practical product is going to be used because, well, sometimes practical can be dull. Take a white t-shirt as an example: it is certainly functional, but it’s pretty boring – this might not entice its recipient to wear it, so your marketing dollars are wasted.

As you can see, the majority of the time I (like everyone at Gossett Marketing) advocate taking a unique-but-useful approach to promotional products. But every now and again I like to throw you a curveball – a totally wacky promo item that enhances your marketing because it’s a weird conversation piece, not because it’s practical at all. And boy do I have one of those for you today!

While perusing the most recent Advantages magazine, Danette stumbled across a sports themed drink tube. It’s a drink dispenser with a 100 oz. capacity that is designed to showcase a particular sport. You’ll notice that the image above has a football helmet for a base, but there are also hockey, baseball, and basketball options. Now, I’m sure that these dispensers aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but I think that they are excellent giveaways for teams. I can imagine the Miami Dolphins or Miami Marlins putting their logos on the base of the football or baseball versions, respectively, and giving them to season ticket buyers to either utilize at their tailgate parties or to simply have at home – perhaps in their “man caves” or memorabilia rooms. Whether they are taken to events or they sit on a shelf, they’re going to attract attention, which will definitely get the teams’ logos noticed by sports fans – and maybe that will motivate them to, in turn, buy their own tickets!

I truly believe that the majority of your company’s promotional marketing budget should be spent on practical but distinctive items; however, it doesn’t hurt to go a little crazy every now and again. Maybe sports-themed drink dispensers aren’t for you, but I know that, no matter what your industry, there is something fun and unique out there that can serve as a conversation piece and enhance your marketing!

Increasing Cotton Prices

Cotton

Like seemingly everything else these days, the price of cotton is on the rise. Now, this doesn’t affect most promotional products – pens, desktop items, stress relievers, etc. tend not to be made from the stuff. However, at Gossett Marketing we produce a tremendous amount of logoed apparel for our customers, so we take note when there are fluctuations in the price of cotton.

The cost of golf shirts, caps, and some bags are all on the way up, but t-shirt prices seem to be taking the hardest hit. Mainly because they are in constant demand so they are continuously produced. Due to the fact that they don’t spend very much time in storage, when you buy a t-shirt you are paying for cotton that was purchased rather recently. Thus, the price jump for the raw materials is more apparent than with the items that I mentioned previously.

Unfortunately, the cost of cotton does not look like it is going to go down anytime soon. While we do extend case quantity pricing to our customers who order t-shirts (and other apparel), it does not necessarily offset the higher prices, so my recommendation is always to buy your t’s sooner rather than later. Would the elevated cost motivate you to buy t-shirts now instead of waiting? Leave your comments below!

The Value of Logoed Apparel

photo from sanmar.com

photo from sanmar.com

I spend a hefty amount of time discussing the merits of various promotional marketing products in this section of the blog. The vast majority of my focus is on promo items that you’d give to customers – anything from a pen to an imprinted power bank to chocolates to high-end holiday gifts. I tend to talk about that vein of the industry because those giveaway items give your logo great exposure and thus enhance your marketing efforts. You know what else does that? Logoed apparel.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m not sure why I don’t talk about logoed apparel more often. I sometimes feel like I spend all day, every day quoting it for people – and I have my embroiderer and silkscreener on speed dial! And that is for good reason. Like other promotional marketing items, logoed clothing gets seen by a lot of people!

Most of the clothing that we sell is shirts with embroidered logos on the left chest. Embroidery, physically sewing a logo onto a piece of cloth, seems like it might be expensive, but it usually is not. Pricing is based on the number of stitches it takes to sew your particular image and the quantity that you order, but it generally only adds a few dollars to each item. The nice thing about it is that it lasts and continues to look crisp even after washing, so any employees wearing a decorated shirt will be sharply dressed time and time again, which always makes a good impression.

Silkscreened shirts would definitely be our second most popular type of imprinted apparel. Recently we have been doing dry-fit shirts with logos front and back for many of our customers. They wear them at outdoor events, and all of the attendees see their company name again and again. It’s an easy way to create a unified look for staff members, it provides good branding, and keeps wearers cool and comfortable all day!

Long story short, when you are thinking of ways to promote your brand, consider apparel. A few shirts for each employee – whether they have an embroidered or silkscreened imprint – won’t cost you too much, and they will give your logo excellent exposure!

Why Old School Marketing Works

Running Shirt
When people ask me what my company, Gossett Marketing, does and I tell them that we are promotional products distributors who specialize in custom creative giveaways, I often get weird looks. Their faces seem to be saying, “Promotional products have been around forever, how creative can they be? And why should I use them?” Well sure, promotional marketing items are old school, but companies continue to use them because they work – here are three reasons why.

1. People are thieves. Whether they do so intentionally or not, individuals regularly walk away with other people’s writing instruments. Take restaurants as an example – how many times have you signed your bill and pocketed the pen? Well, that can work to the restaurant’s advantage if their name and contact information is imprinted on that ballpoint. The pen thief will continue to use that writing instrument, and continue to see the name of the restaurant, until he or she loses it. Then the next person to pick it up will, in turn, see the name or logo and perhaps be inspired to try a meal there. This isn’t just a “for example” story – one of our customers, the Blue Ridge Grill in Atlanta, has told us about getting a phone call from New Jersey because someone found their pen! People are thieves and it can help gain your brand unexpected exposure.
2. Promos make your customers walking billboards. If you’ve ever read our blog, then chances are you know that I’m a runner. Whenever I enter a race I receive a technical shirt that wicks moisture and has flat seams to prevent chaffing – they are ideal running shirts, so I wear them frequently. These shirts also happen to be emblemized with the name of the race and its sponsors’ logos, meaning that everyone who sees me jog by is also seeing all of those different imprints. In fact, whenever anyone receives promotional t-shirt, bag, or cap and subsequently uses that item, they are marketing your company to perfect strangers – they are voluntarily serving as your walking billboards.
3. Promotional products are rewarding. If a member of your team has had an exceptional sales quarter, why not give her a brand name promotional product as a reward? For instance, Orrefors makes gorgeous crystal stemware that can now be etched with a subtle logo. A pair of such wine glasses would be a lovely gift to give your top salesperson, perhaps with a fine bottle of wine. When that employee toasts with her crystal flutes, she will always remember her accomplishment, plus she will think of your company long after she’s moved on. That’s a fabulous reward that will provide the company with discreet marketing that lasts.

I recognize that with the advent of online marketing, the idea of utilizing promotional products can seem antiquated. However, as you can see from the three examples above, items that potentially allow your customers, employees, and total strangers see your logo 24 hours a day work – so embrace “old school” marketing and start giving away promotional products.

And just because I find it funny, here is a YouTube clip from the movie Old School!

The Importance of Staying Current

Ice Cream This is a post from our archives, but I still happen to love this place and the way they stay fresh…

I have a sweet tooth. A major sweet tooth. So it’s fortunate that I live very close to what I consider to be Miami’s best ice cream shop – Whip N Dip. It’s a little shop on a busy road with so-so parking, yet they’ve managed to stay around for 25 years because they do such a great job of keeping things fresh. Yes, their homemade ice cream is fresh, but that’s not what I’m referring to. What I mean is, they really know how to stay on top of trends.

I’ve been a Whip N Dip fan for years, and they’ve always adopted what’s “new” out there. When frozen yogurt became a trend, they brought in their “lite cream” machines. And they give Starbucks a run for its money with their delicious blended coffee drinks. They also stay on top of what is going on around town. A recent flavor was “White Hot Chocolate” in honor of the Miami Heat. Or they might make a batch of seasonal ice cream – I love to have their pumpkin in the fall.

In addition to keeping their creamy concoctions current, Whip N Dip has also embraced what’s new in marketing. They’re starting to use social media to promote themselves. Their facebook page lists their new flavors, promotes the contests and events, and even has pictures of happy employees and customers. Now I think that they should call our fabulous Social Media Coach, Cynthia K. Seymour at Seymour Results to learn how to really promote themselves.

So they keep their customers happy with their tantalizing new creations, and they’re gaining more of a following by hopping on the social media bandwagon. I’d say that staying on top of trends is working for my favorite ice cream store – must be why they’ve been around for so long.

Wow, reading over this post shows me that my love of Whip N Dip is pretty obsessive. I guess I’ll have to get one of their t-shirts to advertise my adoration!

I’m not their only fan – a music video was actually filmed at Whip N Dip. Check it out on YouTube!

T-Shirts People Want to Wear

Boccalone T-Shirt

We live in Miami, but my husband is a California native so we end up in San Francisco a lot. Whenever we are out there, I make a point of going to the Ferry Building, which is where they have a fabulous farmer’s market as well as unique shops and delicious cafes. It’s all great, but I must admit that I do have a favorite – Boccalone.

Boccalone is salumi store selling wonderful, small-batch cured meats. Everything that they make is absolutely scrumptious and I’m so happy that I discovered the store because, to be honest, I almost didn’t. You see, I have a huge sweet tooth so on our first trip to the Ferry Building, I was dragging my husband toward a beautiful chocolate shop. That’s when I first saw Boccalone and, with my sights set on truffles, I didn’t give the meat store a second thought until I saw their tagline – “Tasty Salted Pig Parts.” That was it! I had to see what Boccalone was all about!

During my visit, I swooned over scrumptious nduja, bought plenty of salami for our family, and then made my favorite purchase – I got a Tasty Salted Pig Parts t-shirt! To this day I wear the shirt at least twice a week, and whenever anyone sees me in it (generally at the grocery store – I try to look a little bit better most of the time), they always chuckle and ask about Boccalone. Essentially, I paid them $25 to do their advertising for them! Plus, I have several friends who have requested their own shirts for Christmas – we’re spreading the word in a big way!

Like mine from Boccalone, t-shirts give your brand excellent exposure, but only if they’re something that an individual wants to wear. If you are considering giving out or selling T’s, make sure you give the end user a reason to actually put it on – a clever saying, a beautiful silkscreened image, or performance fabric could all be motivators. After all, you can’t promote your brand with a shirt that sits in a drawer.

World Cup Promos

photo from travelblog.org

photo from travelblog.org

Although I’ve never been a soccer fan, I’ve found it to be unavoidable during this World Cup. For instance, I was actively trying to not watch it yesterday so I went to the mall. I walked in through the Macy’s men’s department and the very first thing that I saw was a display of Havaianas flip flops with World Cup-themed designs. Beyond that there were racks of t-shirts celebrating seemingly every team, and there were even World Cup posters in the cosmetics area. Like I said: unavoidable!

As the old saying goes, “if you can’t beat them join them,” which is what I’ve now learned to do with this World Cup. So rather than trying to avoid it, I’ve actually begun watching soccer. While I’m still not sold on the sport, I have to say that watching the crowds is a blast. Those fans are crazy! I love to see their team spirit and – you knew this was coming – the promotional products that they’ve either bought or made to show their support. I’ve spotted woven scarves that people are using as signs. Wigs in various team colors. Temporary tattoos. Countless t-shirts. Capes. Flags (by the way, I think it’s neat that the players exchange flags before the game). Silicone bracelets. Drinkware. Soccer balls. The aforementioned flip flops. Various hats. Necklaces. I could go on and on and on, but I will stop there.

The cool thing about this World Cup “swag” is that people are wearing it now as they root for their countries, but they will also wear them after the event. That will help drive excitement for the next cup, as well as show their loyalty to their own country. If nothing else, it will just look cool!

White Hot Miami Heat Branding is Powerful

White Hot Heat Billboard

It’s official: South Florida is in a frenzy because the Miami Heat are in the postseason and they’re doing really well. I know that the Heat have been pegged as the villains of the NBA, but love us or hate us, you have to admit that they’re doing a great job of promoting their playoff run.

You see, the playoffs are being promoted as “White Hot,” thus we’re currently the “White Hot Heat.” If you’ve seen a home game on TV or in person, you’ll see that they’re really taking this slogan seriously. The seats in the American Airlines Arena are normally orangey, but they’re currently all garbed in white seat covers. Fans are asked to come dressed in white, plus everyone gets a white, logoed Heat t-shirt to wear during and/or after the game. It’s really interesting to see – the whole arena is white!

Not only that, but in the week leading up to the playoffs, anyone could show up at the arena and have a “White Hot Heat” decal adhered to their car’s back windshield. I am amazed by how many of these huge white stickers I see when I drive around the city.

The Heat are using these methods and several others to spread the word that they’re “White Hot,” and right now in Miami, there is no escaping that brand!

Do you like the “White Hot” promotion? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Wicked Marketing

Wicked

I recently saw the musical Wicked at the Broward Center for Performing Arts, and it was fabulous! For those of you who don’t know, “Wicked” tells the story of the Wicked Witch of the West – how she became, well, wicked!

The musical has some very devoted fans, and I saw more than one sporting a clever Wicked t-shirt (they really were funny, one had “defying gravity” written across the bust….get it?). Aside from those sporting their t-shirts, I saw many more audience members with shopping bags, so I went to investigate and discovered that the theater had no fewer than 5 kiosks selling promotional merchandise!

There were the aforementioned t-shirts, witch hats, flying monkey plush toys, umbrellas, posters, bags, and everything else under the sun. The Wicked logo was used every which way and was on every single item that they were selling – and boy were they selling! The funny thing is, I had never noticed their logo before, but now that I’ve seen it, I’m still seeing it everywhere. I passed someone wearing a Wicked button at a restaurant the other day! It just goes to show that your raving fans are your best means of advertising.

The Power of Promotional Products

photo from funscrape.com

photo from funscrape.com

I have been writing this blog for the past handful of years and upon reviewing the archives I’m always amazed by how much time I spend discussing sports and food. Sports are a hot topic because I often find myself watching various events with my husband and friends, and whether we are at the game or watching it on TV, there are always tons of promotional products present – blog topics abound! As far as writing about food frequently, I just really like to eat so food and restaurants are often top of mind!

If you decide to explore the archives and read the many, many posts that center around food you’ll notice something: none of the tasty restaurants about which I blog are healthy. I’ve extolled the virtues of Shake Shack, analyzed my husband’s undying love of the Original Tommy’s Hamburgers, mentioned my penchant for Cuban breakfasts, and celebrated the chicken wings at Sports Grill. But somehow I’ve failed to write about my all-time favorite unhealthy food establishment – In-N-Out Burger. Today that changes.

I love In-N-Out. I crave the “Animal Style” burger from their secret menu. When my husband and I visit his family in California we stop for a meal immediately upon leaving the airport. And I am the proud owner of an In-N-Out t-shirt that I wear with alarming frequency. I was actually wearing it as I ran errands recently and the cashiers at both Whole Foods and CVS mentioned their undying love for the burger chain! Then, in both instances, the people behind me in line asked what we were talking about and we told them all about the secret menu, the fresh ingredients, and the allure of In-N-Out. And during both of these conversations the cashiers and I encouraged the other person in line to seek out the restaurant the next time they are on the west coast. We were so enthusiastic about our In-N-Out love that I actually think those people will visit one whenever they are able to do so!

Now, I don’t think I’m driving droves of hungry patrons to In-N-Out Burger just because I wear their t-shirt too much. But I do think that my doing so – and the inevitable conversations that the shirt starts – will lead a few people to burger nirvana. Once again: the power of promotional products!

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