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Promotional merchandise; why low-tech thrives in a high-tech world

Posted by Jack Valentine on Thu, Oct 8, 2009 @ 21:59 PM

Promotional merchandise

Print advertising is dead, they say. Conde Nast is closing magazines because of plummeting ad pages. Newspapers are shrinking into pamphlets, and quite frankly, it's a miracle there's even a physical phone book with Yellow Pages ads anymore.

Those mediums are genuinely struggling in an Internet World. But to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of print are greatly exaggerated.

People still LOVE freebies and promotional merchandise that you can give away to your clients, employees or customers is still one of the most effective ways to make your brand identity "sticky."

Check out the tattered antique Colgate calendar booklet pictured above. The toothpaste company, which arguably has one of the most recognizable consumer brands on the planet, found value in distributing advertising calendars back in 1902! Not only did the original owner hang on to this freebie (and be reminded of the Colgate name daily), but it survived 107 years to wind up on eBay!

Promotional merchandise

Same idea with this vintage matchbook cover advertising cough drops. Never mind that smokers would have no need to soothe their throats or freshen their breath as often if they simply gave up tobacco.  The point is that these matches were ultimately meant to be used and thrown away.  But the time between the first flame and the last was wisely regarded as precious advertising time.

In effect, each cigarette break was "sponsored" by this cough drop company -- because it had the captive audience of the individual smoker.

These matches illustrate the most important principle in selecting which promotional item is best for your companyPromotional giveaways must be practical. They must be something that people will naturally want to keep AND use.

An Orlando hotel recently packaged their hotel key cards in a mini pocket folder that doubled as a colorful advertisement for the new Simpsons amusement park ride at Universal Studios.  What a creative way to take advantage of a captive audience, sell advertising space on the promotional merchandise that is handed to every hotel guest.  Many companies also take advantage of their captive audience by offering discount coupons for other services that can increase their revenue.

Think pragmatically.  Who is NOT going to want to keep a promotional custom USB flash drive?  If you are in the software industry or any e-commerce business, your most prized clients likely live in front of the computer screen and will think of you whenever they back up their files.

Even more pedestrian items, such as document folders, can become exciting giveaways if they fulfill a customer's needs.  We've found that our attractive expandable accordion files are kept long after the original use. They're durable, practical and serve the evergreen purpose of organizing life's endless stream of paperwork.

Your company's promotional merchandise likely won't be an antique collectible on eBay in 50 years, but you'll be capturing those valuable eyeballs now.

And now is when you need them! 

Topics: Pocket folders, promotional merchandise, Document folders, presentation folders, promotional calendars, printed folders, Simpsons ride, matchbook collecting