All posts by Sofia

Stepping outside your product comfort zone

Have you ever been suprised by a company’s promotional product offerings? I found myself pleasantly shocked yesterday when I saw the Public Radio Tattoos offered by the This American Life online store. When you think of National Public Radio and it’s offerings, I rarely think of tattoos but instead except something like the fundraiser-drives that offer CDs and tote bags. I would have never thought to offer Sailor Jerry-inspired temporary tattoos, but then again, I’m not This American Life host, Ira Glass.

According to their website, Glass suggested the idea of temporary tattoos only to have colleagues think it was a crazy idea. 70,000 temporary tattoos later, his far-fetched idea has proven a success.

So why did these custom temporary tattoos cause such a stir? Perhaps it has something to do with a survey Harris Interactive did that last year that found 1 in 5 U.S. adults sports a tattoo; being inked is now considered in vogue. With reports that radio is struggling to stay relevant, I can only imagine the drive to connect with a younger audience that may only know to tune into Top 40 stations. These promotional tattoos may seem silly but just take a look on their page to see the spectrum of age groups that have happily applied their temporary tattoo. It’s a fresh, fun idea that gives the recipients instant gratification, and even if the tattoos is left unapplied it can easily hang around a desk monitor as a constant reminder of public radio offerings. If you’d like to know more about the temporary tats, This American Life did their blog post on them here.

What do you think about stepping outside of your product comfort zone: do the rewards outweigh the risks?

When Products Become Legends

Mashable has a great article out now about a noble quest: a documentary team is leading an expedition into the New Mexico desert to see if there is any truth to the myth that video game maker Atari buried almost 4 million copies of their terrible game, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. If this is indeed what happened, it means that Atari spent millions on this failure of a game and then realized that their last alternative was to bury their shame in the New Mexico desert.

Now let’s jump to the most impressive part of this whole ordeal: Atari released this game in 1982 and, if the rumors are correct, this games were buried in 1983. It has been 30 years, an impressive lifespan for such a terrible game. In fact, according to this AP article, one of the reasons the film crew is even being allowed to do this excavation is because the town’s commissioner recalls playing the game and can vividly remember just how terrible it was.

I recently blogged about choosing promotional products that last, but what about those that take on a life of their own? What about those items that become their own versions of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket? Like the Beanie Babies that can go for thousands simply because of a speling error or Pokemon cards that are made extra rare because they are extra shiny.

What traits do both these mythical products, both the failures and successes, share? And, perhaps more importantly, how can this translate into your everyday product choices? I’m sure entire disserations can be written on the nuances, but I’ve chosen my top three traits.

1. There is an urban myth: The Atari  game is the best example of this. The story has lasted as long as it has because it has an urban myth attached to it.There have been plenty of terrible games releases since 1982 but very few have reached these levels of cult notoriety. The possibly buried games have stayed in the limelight for such a long just because their is a possibility that they exist. While you may not be able to create an urban myth immediately on an item you choose, you could always choose a product that hints at an urban myth you can relate to your event or company. After all, most people who go searching for the Loch Ness Monster come back with no proof but some awesome souvenirs.

2. There is rarity: A rare Superman comic found in the insulation of a dilapted house sold for over $100,000; there’s a reason people are willing to spend money of the first editions of old books. People love the idea of having something rare, something not easily attained or available in small quantities. On a broader scale, think of the collaborations that Target does with big name designers: their recent collaboration with Prabal Gurung sold out one day after it was released. Items that were reasonably priced in store were going for double or triple their retail value online. So think of your wording: perhaps phrases like “limited edition” will help make your item the next hot commodity; consider working with local artists to add a touch of exclusivity to your design.

3. There is a feeling that it was worth it: This last point ties closely to rarity. Imagine now that the film crew looking for the buried Atari games does come across them, I imagine there will be both a feeling of deep satisfaction and immense relief that the journey actually produced results. Back to the Target collaboration example from point two, the Prabal Gurung collection allowed people to enjoy clothing by this famous designer who under other circumstances they probably could not afford or find. The lesson here is: make it worth their while. If people stand in line at your tradeshow, give them a sense of satisfaction that it was worth the wait, make the item worth the cost.

Are there any other traits that you would add to this list? And let me know if anyone has actually played the E.T. Atari game, I’ll be waiting with baited breath to see if they do find anything in the desert!

Weekend Guide: Tunes from the Tombs, Modern Atlanta Design is Human, and More!

Hello, local readers! Hot off the press is this week’s edition of our weekend guide, filled with the best things to do in and around Atlanta this Thursday through Sunday. As always, be sure to add anything we missed in the comments section. Enjoy your weekend!!

 

 Keep reading for more information about Brew at the Zoo, the Atlanta Jazz Festival, the Atlanta Caribbean Carnival and other exciting weekend events!

Peachtree Hills Festival of the Arts

Peachtree Hills Park.  Saturday, 10 am – 6 pm. Free

Enjoy a two day outdoor local arts and crafts even this weekend near Peachtree Hills Park. Admission is free

More info and directions

Atlanta Cotillion Presents: Cirque de Nuit

The Delta Heritage Museum.  Saturday, 7:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.  Tickets: $50-250

Join the Atlanta Cotillion in celebrating their annual fashion forward soiree with donation going to AID Atlanta. Dress up in your most avant-garde cocktail outfits and prepare to dance to music provided by DJ Mike Pope and Todd Skelton. Bid on the silent auction, or try a hand at the blackjack table.

More info and directions

Modern Atlanta Design is Human

ADAC.  Saturday – Sunday 11:00 am- 4:00 PM.  Tickets: $35

This citywide festival celebrates modern creation. Take an in-depth look at the interior design, fashion, and architecture of our fine city. Check out exhibits, sit in on lecture, and enjoy the showcase of Atlanta’s design.

More info and directions

Tunes from the Tombs

Historic Oakland Cemetery.  Saturday 1:00 p.m- 8:00 PM.  Tickets: $10 in advance, $15 at the gate

Enjoy a day long music event at the Historic Oakland Cemetery. All genres will be represented on two main stages while buskers will perform on vignette stages throughout the cemetery. Pick up lunch from a local food truck, take a guided mini-tour, have your fortunes read, or enjoy a drink.

More info and directions

Air Canada Rouge and Choosing Fashion Forward Uniforms

If we’re being honest it’s easy to cringe at the idea of work uniforms isn’t it? It may conjure up memories of ill-fitting khakis and bland, itchy polos; all in colors that seemed to flatter no one. But, thankfully, times have changed and a work uniform can mimic the lastest fashions. Polyester is now breathable, with wicking capabilities. Bulky blazers can be exchanged for warm cardigans. Employees will be happy to don your uniform, and you customers will be wondering where they can snap up their own pieces.

Need a little more convincing? Then look no further than Air Canada Rouge‘s new cabin crew uniform.

They chose a light grey pant that paired nicely with their cranberry colored cardigans and vests. White polos and dress shirts serve as a neutral base for the ensemble. Everything looks comfortable, a key element for a happy crew during a long or difficult flight.  This just goes to show have far we’ve come from the days when Pan Am’s stewardesses were required to wear girdles and tight skirts. 

promotional accessories

They even paid attention to smaller details like scarves and ties. Each has been imprinted with the Air Canada Rouge logo and in complimentary colors. The trilby hat is a nice extra touch that will be sure to save many a steward and stewardess from dealing from a bad hair day. Air Canada Rouge even had the Canadian shoe company Fluevog create specific colors of their famously comfortable shoes to match.

Rouge is Air Canada’s new leisure line, and they wanted their new brand uniform to reflect the same “je ne sais quoi” that they had based Rouge on. Renee Smith-Valade, vice president of customer experience at Air Canada Rouge, has been quoted as saying that Air Canada Rouge has a personality “which is fresh and youthful” and that certainly has been well translated into their uniform selection. There is nothing overtly formal or stuffy about the look, and, as The Consumerist joked, “Flight attendants can wear them from work to a concert to picking out artisanal marshmallows at the local farmer’s market”. But with destinations such as Venice, Edinburg, and Costa Rica, would this not be the  low key vibe you wanted to present to your passengers? Rouge wants you to feel like you could jet set off with only the fabulous clothes on your back.

The uniforms have been in the limelight since they were first debuted. Bloomber Businessweek has affectionately dubbed them the “Hipster Flight Attendent” look. Design blogs have embraced the uniform as well. To do away with any naysayers who would argue that the uniforms looked better on models than actual flight attendents, Air Canada Rouge chose actual cabin crew members to model the looks, giving an honest view of what this will look like up in the skies.

I’d love to know what  you think about Air Canada Rouge’s new uniforms: too Brookly-hipster or a great take on a classic steward uniform? Personally, I love the uniform, especially the scarf and shoes. But would you wear this “Hipster Flight Attendent” uniform be something you’d wear?

Guide to Promotional Apparel Embroidery

So after perusing our Apparel categories or working with our sales team, you’ve found that perfect piece of apparel. Maybe you’ve chosen the softest hoodie on the market, or gone with a rugged, durable jacket. Either way you’ve committed and now you want to make it official by tying the knot, the embroidery knot that is. There will be no screen-printing  bedazzling, or debossing here. Your logo will be proudly stitched on your chosen location. But wait, what’s with all the crazy jargon? Digitizing? Tape Charge?

Relax, I know the embroidery process can sound tricky so I’ve put together this guide to make it simple. Let’s start with the first step after you’ve chosen you apparel. You’ll send us your logo and we’ll work with our art department to get it digitized. Digitization is a process that translates digital art files into stitches (magic I tell you!) and will help us determine a stitch count. Digitization’s cost is usually covered by your tape charge. Still curious about digitization? Check out this article by PowerStitch Design Studio “Embroidery Digitizing Explained for the Newbie

Once we have that stitch count, we can start getting a clearer picture of what the final product will look like. Simple, cleaner logos will have lower stitch counts while more complex logos will have higher stitch counts. Those with higher stitch counts may have some extra charges. From there we will have our art department put together a virtual sample  for you to get an idea of what the finished product will look like.

Next, our finishers (a Matrix-like term if there ever was one) will do a sew-out, a logo embroidered onto a scrap of fabric to test the quality of the logo, spacing, and any other concerns you may have. We can forward this onto you for final approval. After that your order will be run and arrive to it’s final destination where we know you’ll feel like each and every step was worth it, to get this perfectly embroidery piece of apparel into you and your customers waiting arms.

With those easy steps, you’re done! Celebrate to your hearts content! And if you have any other embroidery-related questions, get in touch with our sales team. If you’d like to learn more about promotional embroidery and the best practices used in ensuring your garmet’s embroidery is top of the line, I’d suggest reading PrintWear’s article “Prevent Pucker, Stitching tactics for even-handed embroidery“. The small attentions to detail that they mention are all vital to ensure that you receive the best embroidery possible.

So did I miss any other apparel meme jokes? I debated using “One Does Not Simply Embroider Promotional Apparel”, but, in fact, it is that simple. Let me know if you have a favorite embroidered promotional apparel piece in the comments below!

Promotional Products and Social Media

Recently we’ve received quite a few pictures from our customers of promotional products that we’ve ordered for them in action Whether is was the promotional sound activated wristbands used by a dating app or the custom corn hole board used at a sales conference, we love seeing how a promotional product can go from an idea to it’s in-use execution, and, much like proud parents, we make sure to feature them on our social media sites. This has become one of the newest trends in promotional products, tying them to social media. So for today’s blog post I am breaking down the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of the tentative bond that promotional products and social media are forging.

The Good
Between Facebook now asking us what we’re reading/listening/feeling, Instagram’s ability to document each and every meal, and YouTube fostering a new generation of “haul” videos (videos where the host takes the viewer through what all they bought that day), people have never been more willing to talk and share about their favorite brands and items. Promotional products have never had a better stage to shine on.

Ask recipients to tweet you a picture of their promotional product in use, choose a witty hashtag, and you could be well on your way to Twitter fame. Think of Taco Bell’s #doritoslocostacos campaign, they had everything from pictures of the actual tacos to images of those waiting in line or taking their first bite (more of my odd love affair with Taco Bell’s revamped advertising here). Thank them for being part of your community and always make sure to feature content from your users because it’s a good way to let users know that it’s as much about them as it is you.

Which brings me to my next point: have a little fun showing off a little. Take, for example, the custom corn hole boards I mentioned above. Posted on a social media site, this image conveys the message that even when they are trying to sell you something, this vendor still wants you to enjoy yourself. If even General Electric managed to make themselves more than enjoyable on Pinterest, then we have no excuse!

The Bad
And now comes the fine print. Creating content, making connections, building loyalty – these things take work. Personally, I find the challenge a fun one but like the old mottos go, nothing worth having is ever easy. Luckily for you, our sales team can help you find the perfect promotional product, but you have to figure out the QR code or hashtag.

Sure, there will always be internet trolls and naysayers but you can curtail most of those by choosing a promotional product that lasts and quickly addressing any issues that come up via social media instead of deleting or ranting in response. And even if your online campaign gets sidetracked, hopefully it will be as hilarious as when the internet banded together to send popular rapper to a remote part of Alaska. This particular campaign was a winner on all counts: not only did Listerene Fresh Strips get tons of exposure, the rapper PitBull was able to show himself as a personable artist who is true to his word, and the town of Kodiak Alaska got to have a lot fun.

So, as long as you cover all your bases and prove yourself gracious in the face of the unexpected, the bad can end up being good.

The Ugly
Sometimes, things can go from bad to ugly. If customers are very unhappy with a product, they may take to social media to blast away, and if not handled delicately, the whole ordeal can turn into a social media scandal. To avoid reaching “the ugly” stage, make sure your product and campaign doesn’t cross the line of outrageously funny to outrageously offensive.

The Conclusion
While promotional products may be one of the older forms of advertising, social media is still considered the new contender. With a well planned campaign it can be easy to stand out among the crowd and shine with your chosen promotional product. Have you seen any promotional product/social media campaigns that you considered successful or have you seen ones that crashed and burned? Let us know in the comments. Have you considered showing off your promotional products on your social media sites or starting a campaign based on them?  Are you a fan of hashtag campaigns or QR codes?  I lean towards hashtags myself but have heard many a compelling argument fot the QR code.

As always, I love seeing promotional products in action so please send us some pictures or drop a link in the comments section!

Sofia
Merchandising Assistant

 

Choosing Promotional Products That Last

I found an older article in the New York Times entitled “The Surprising Power of Promotional Products” in which the author found the promotional letter opener his grandfather had used at his medical practice for many, many years and then carefully stored among his possessions after retiring. The writer was stunned at how the letter opener had stayed with his grandfather for so many years and how it was still a perfectly functional product. There is one line in particular that struck me from the article, “Promotional products are, some say, the oldest form of advertising”.

Advertising is made up of trends and passing fads: billboard ads may be big one year or a flop the next, radio advertising is not lauded as it once was, and, eventually, we all throw away print magazine and papers no matter how artfully crafted the ads were. The right promotional product, given at the correct time, can be spared that fate. It can become the daily tool we go to without second thought, the one that stays snugly at the bottom of our trade show tote long after it’s brethren have been bartered or gifted away.

 

So what promotional products do you choose if you want your investment to have a long shelf life? Look for quality and step away from gimmicks. While there will always be a time for gimmicy promotions, it’s best to choose something that will outlast. Items like the Americana Leather Wrapped Journal possibly packaged with a promotional compu-tote like the Kenneth Cole Women’s Etched In Time Compu-Tote, are ones that will develop history with time. For either personal or business use, people tend to keep journal around for years whether to reflect on old times or see how business meeting went months ago. A name brand leather tote will be kept and proudly displayed for years, so while costly it is a worthy investment for years of brand exposure and loyalty.

 

Consider also items that will be useful in your recipients home. A simple, but fun, corkscrew like the Donkey Flower Corkscrew will stand out among other bar accessories and become a fast favorite. While it is an everyday item, its unique shape and sturdy build will make sure it survives many a wine tasting night.

These three products are but a glance at what options you have for a promotional product that lasts. Consider investing in a beautiful executive pen or a set of carefully imprinted glassware. If you need more ideas check out our website or give us a call at 877.300.2007, our team can help you find the perfect promotional product. Also, let us know what promotional products have lasted for you. Have you found any promotional items or apparel at a grandparent or parent’s house?

 

Sofia
Merchandising Assistant

Promotional Products for National Dance Like a Chicken Day

I grew up in a town that, much to my young-cosmpolitan horror, proudly billed itself as the Chicken Capital of the World. There is, no lie, a statue that I have dubbed the Monument of the Forgotten Chicken. I can’t even start to make this stuff up. I quickly learned two things when I moved there: when exactly you needed to plug your nose in case you were driving by the chicken plants, and how to do a flawless chicken dance. So today is a day that I have long been prepped to face. It’s National Dance Like A Chicken Day!

We’ve all busted out an ill-advised chicken dance at a prom or wedding. The simple act of flapping your arms and forgoing all embarrassment unites us on a dance floor. Suddenly strangers are friends and you can’t help but laugh. It’s with these unique holidays that you can really plan for some fun promotional products.

I can’t help but smile every time I look at this Chicken Stress Reliever. Imagine breaking up a monotonous Tuesday by placing one of these on an employee’s desk and thanking them for a job well done. If you’d like to blare the chicken song through your company speakers, and start a chicken dance conga line, then I will request you send us the video! Aside from workplace fun, this holiday and it’s promotional products are great for the food industry! Give them away as the adult equivalent to a Happy Meal prize, and have a contest with some giveaways for whoever has the best judged chicken dance. Show your customers that your brand can be relaxed, your company can proudly sashay onto the metaphorical dance floor and really let loose with the rest of us.

Since National Dance Like a Chicken Day is already upon us, you’ll have to make plans to order your items early next year. But if you are still in the market for obscure celebrations, perhaps I could interest you in July’s International Joke Day, National Junk Food Day, or Book Lover’s Day in August? Truly the possibilites are endless.

Sofia
Merchandising Assistant

Take a Gulp and Relax

A new month means a whole new set of Monthly Specials here at Pinnacle Promotions. I know 2013 was the year I pledged to create a budget and be a little wiser with the things I decided to spend money on, so if you and your company are anything like me, this is a great category for you to check out. Today we even revealed our new Deal of the Month! So if you’ve been looking for a great spring/summer item to add to your promotional line up for the year, kick back and relax while I introduce you to the 24 oz. Gulp.

So why the Gulp? Well now that the warm weather is back, you’ll find that every weekend is filled with outdoor festivals, concerts, races, and sporting events. It will get hotter and hotter and people will start reaching for water bottles and tumblers. With this in mind, wouldn’t it be great to offer them a double wall tumbler with a sturdy lid and matching straw? Available in 9 different colors, the Gulp is sure to seamlessly fit with your logo or event. Perhaps you are a food truck vendor that wants to give away a earth-friendly alternative with each meal purchased, maybe you are an outdoor concert coordinator who wants to minimize the amount of waste and cleanup post-concert, maybe you’re a day camp promoting health and fitness: no matter what you have going on the Gulp can help promote your brand.

Best of all, the promotion won’t be a victim of Summer Lovin‘, that’s easily forgotten at the end of the season. Since it is a double wall tumbler and you can remove the straw and drink out of the lid, it can easily transition to all the pumpkin spice lattes and peppermint mochas enjoyed during the cooler part of the year. With it’s extra low price point, the Gulp is a great investment piece that will be enjoyed long past it’s Deal of the Moth status.

Sofia
Merchandising Assistnat

Keep cool with Can Coolers, research agrees

Can coolers and Koozie’s® are big in the promotional product world. They are colorful, can be collapsible, and tend to have huge imprint areas. And most importantly, they keep drinks cold. But if you ever happened to question if they really do keep your beverages frosty, Lifehacker recently featured an article about research done at the University of Washington that proves once what most all tailgaters know.

So now we can rejoice! Whether you are a fan of collapsible can coolers, zip up bottle ones, or ones shaped like jerseys, you’ll know you are giving something that actually works. In the end, like I’ve said many times before, the best promotional products are the ones that serve a purpose and get bonus points if they fulfill a need that may not have been glaringly obvious. We’ve all had a drink that goes warm in our hands, or an ice-cold brew that’s almost uncomfortable to hold. With a can cooler, you’ll always be front and center at any outdoor events. Think of all the picnic, tailgating, and outdoor adventures where tons of thirsty people will be holding onto a beverage that is cradled by your logo-ed can cooler.

With so many promotional products that can be loud and showy, the eye-catchers that will always mean a line at the latest tradeshow, simple items like can coolers can be overlooked or be considered expendable. But upon closer inspection, the pros will always outweigh the cons. After all, with a low price point, ability to be easily and lightly packed, and a myriad of creative imprint options, the can cooler is a great simple object that you can give your own unique spin to.

Sofia
Merchandising Assistant

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