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2017 Top 20 Christmas Ideas

•   SEPT 25, 2017 PROMO-ADMIN

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  It’s time to release our top 20 Christmas items of 2017.  Every year we compile a list of innovative, cool new items that we expect to be a hit with consumers and corporate buyers.  We try to hit low price points and higher price points and everything in between.  Don’t worry, if you don’t see something that works for you on here, reach out and we would be happy to put together a custom presentation in your budget!

Without further yammering, here is the list!

#1 Custom Coloured Candy in acetate boxes. Everyone loves Candy, but have you ever thought about matching candy to the colors of your business?  It brings on that little bit extra brand awareness to people when you give them an item with your logo and in your corporate colours.



#2 Brookstone vacuum wine sealers.  I usually drink the whole bottle when I open wine, but some people like to make it last.  This cool piece of technology automatically extracts the air from a partially finished bottle allowing it to be stored and keeping the wine fresh.


#3 Campster Growler/Wine Cooler.  Lots of companies like to give away liquor as a Christmas present.  This handy cooler is a great way to package that liquor so that you are not just packaging it into something that will get thrown into the garbage.  This wine cooler will stick around and get re-used over and over for years to come.


#4 Custom printed Candy Canes, they are an amazing entry level promo gift that is easy to give to everyone.  Their low price makes them appealing to just about everyone and are a great leave behind on customers Christmas trees or in larger volumes stuffed into a pen cup on the reception desk.


#5 Deluxe pour over coffee mug.  The pour over is considered by many to be the ultimate way to make coffee as can be proven by the prevalence of Chemex coffee brewers. This unique pouring system allows you to make 1 cup at a time as a pour over, great for any coffee connoisseur.


#6 Individually personalized chocolate bars.  INDIVIDUALLY….. ie. If you have a list of 50 clients we can design you a bar for your company and then custom cut each persons or companies name into the bars.  We are really taking personalization to the next level with this one and making each person on your list feel special.


#7 Casserole Cooler.  We have all been there, taking a casserole to a party and it’s hot, how do we transport it to the car to keep it hot and not burn ourselves?  This cool product will insulate your dish to keep it hot or cold on the car ride.  This is a cool new item because I think it solves a problem that we’ve all had before.


#8 Chalk Board coffee cups, these cool mugs come with chalk allowing you to draw your name or cool designs on your cup to identify it as your own.  Everyone owns lots of cups, but this one has found a unique way to stand out from the crowd (just like you!)


#9 Clearance winter jackets.  I get asked all the time if we have any deals on stuff and the answer is yes.  This year we have a deal while quantities last for this amazing winter jacket!  I was a fan of this jacket when it was near $200 each when it was released, and now is your chance to get it well under $100.  Good luck finding a deal like this after they are gone.


#10 Telescopic phone lense.  This lense will magnify your phone camera lense upto 8 times.  Great for shooting wildlife, sports, or maybe getting the perfect Instagram shot of your food.


#11 Packaging. This fluffy Christmas stocking is a great way to package lots of the other items on our list.  A mug is only a mug until you put it in a Christmas stocking, now it’s a Christmas present!  This is sure to grab the attention of your people and not let it go.


#12 Custom knit mittens.  These awesome mittens are custom knit in China in as few as 30 days! So if you do the math that means you have until Nov 23 to get your orders in, that’s later than ever before on custom knit items.  I do recommend getting your order in earlier though since you want to have time to give this stuff away.



#13 The sonosphear Bluetooth speaker is one of the most advanced promotional Bluetooth speakers I have ever seen.  It sounds amazing and has a massive imprint area on the front of the face. Great for companies with high end customers that want a gift with a higher value.


#14 Canvas Duffle with custom lining.  These awesome canvas duffels have the logo on the inside only.  They are hand made in the USA and come with a custom printed liner.  This extremely sturdy bag would be great for travelling or taking to the gym.  You can customize the colours of the zipper but you cannot print your logo on the outside.  If your customers see this bag they are guaranteed to ask “where did you get this amazing bag?”


   
#15 This portable juice blender is a great gift for the health conscious clients who are always on the go.  With an internal rechargeable battery, this blender is sure to make quick work of smoothies and blended drinks for all occasions.


#16 Not a clearance jacket.  This performance jacket from Stormtech is sure to keep you warm everywhere you go, from downhill skiing to shovelling the driveway this jacket it rugged and comfortable for all occasions.


#17 Rugged coolers have taken the world by storm and these 50 qt coolers from Pelican are sure to last forever.  While far from inexpensive, these coolers will keep your clients happy for years to come and come in a bunch of shapes and sizes.  A great gift for the person who has everything.


#18 Epicurean cutting boards are considered by many to be the Rolls Royce of cutting boards.  Their natural non slip finish and soft texture make them a dream to work with in the kitchen.  This is guaranteed to be the best cutting board that your client will own.


#19 The sweatshirt blanket it exactly what it sound like.  It’s a blanket made out of the same material as your favourite sweatshirt.  It will remind you of sitting in front of the fireplace or campfire all “hoodied up” but with the freedom to squeeze another person under there.


#20 VR glasses.  If you’ve never tried them, you are missing out.  These glasses allow you to watch 3-D interactive videos on your smart phone or Netflix in perceived theatre style settings.  The technology built into our smartphones is amplified with the addition  of these simple headsets.



LAS VEGAS PPAI EXPO 2017 TOP 20 PRODUCTS

•   JAN 23, 2017 PROMO-ADMIN

In January of every year we take off from Edmonton down to Las Vegas for the annual PPAI EXPO.  This year’s expo featured over 3100 vendor booths and more highlights than ever before.  The goal of our trip is to make deeper vendor relations, take part in industry education and find great products for specific clients.  In the education we learned about discharge printing, turning promotional items into an experience (not just a giveaway thanks to Saul Colt) and how to define client personalities and our own personalities better.  For vendor relations, there were breakfasts, lunches, dinners and parties (thanks CommonSku, Party Rotten, AlphaBroder, PromoKitchen, BamBams) and the show itself…… but I know you’re not reading this annual blog for that!  You want to know what my favorite 20 items were from PPAI EXPO 2017 so here we go…

These items are in no particular order because they are all cool promotional items for different budgets and purposes that are awesome in their own way.

#1 Ember Coffee Mug

The first item to be truthful isn’t even a promotional item yet.  It’s the Ember Coffee Mug.  I saw it at Starbucks when I was in Vegas, but they were sold out so I couldn’t buy one.  It’s basically the ultimate travel mug.  It’s designed to get your coffee down to optimal drinking temperature fast and then keep it there.  It’s powered by a battery and has built in Wi-Fi, so you can control the temperature of your coffee from your phone.  They are about $150USD and they are on backorder right now worldwide.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see knockoffs start popping up in our industry within a year.


#2 Custom Power Banks

For the last couple of years rubber moulded custom USB flash drives have been very popular, as have been power banks, but now you can put the 2 together.  With minimums as low as 100 units you can get a 3-D mold of something that represents your business or your logo done as a power bank with varying powers and sizes available.  This is a pretty awesome way to make sure that your promotional power bank stays at the forefront of your clients mind even after they’ve received a newer one.


#3 Custom Shaped Cutting Boards

Epicurean a high end name brand for cutting boards.  This year at the Vegas promo show they introduced a line of cutting boards in the shapes of different states.  This is a great promo item to represent your company based on where your company is from.  IE. They had a California shaped cutting board with the Google logo on it.  So depending on where you are from, find out if they have a state in your shape and it’s a great way to build local pride with your employees and customers.


#4 Butter Washed Clothing

  

Yes I will say it again Butter Washed Clothing.  A decorator was showing off some game changing t-shirt altering technology.  They print your t-shirt using discharge printing or water based screen printing technology and then put it in a special wash they call a butter wash (they joke that they only use Parkay, but they wouldn’t tell us the real secret).  The t-shirts come out of the wash with the softest feel you can ever imagine.  The owner of the decorator told us that the way it works is that it wears the shirt down and raises the fibers to make a cotton shirt feel softer than a triblend.  It was pretty cool and I brought a few home from the show, and they feel great!  I can’t wait to pitch my clients on this upgraded t-shirt technology!


#5 Sublimated Shoes

I think some people call these types of shoes “chucks” and they are pretty popular and comfortable with the millennial crowd.  The concept behind these shoes is pretty simple, take a white polyester shoe and sublimate it.  The results are so much more because shoes are something that have been scarce in the promotional products industry since I got into it 7 years ago.  Now with these relatively inexpensive, full custom items I think you will see them pop up more and more in the near future; they also have super low minimums (i.e. You can order 12 pairs for your team to wear at their next tradeshow)


#6 Marijuana T-shirts

No they are not made of Marijuana, but they do have some hemp fiber in them… they are marijuana shirts because they are rolled in paper and wrapped in a koozie to make them look like a joint.  I personally do not smoke the stuff and the legality of it varies by region, but it appears that the wave is coming and as marijuana becomes more legal and more mainstream, I applaud this manufacturer for attempting to get ahead of it with this cool packaging for t-shirts.


#7-11 Origaudio 

Origaudio….. what can I say about these guys.  Their minimums are 1 on most of their items and they offer great customer service, and they are constantly innovating and finding cool new stuff. I wish I could pick 1 item from them, but this year they launched a tonne of new stuff so I narrowed it down to just a couple. 

The Socket2Me is a plug that converts your outlet into a plug and a USB; when I saw it I thought it was cool; then I found out that it’s a game changer.  The plug itself connects to Wi-Fi to make it a “smart plug”, you can control the plug power through an App on your phone.  So if there is a lamp in your bedroom you like to have on before bed but then hate getting up to turn it off, boom…. Socket2me, you can now turn it off using your smart phone.

Germ Buster is another great product from Origaudio.  Last year our top selling Origaudio item was the Phone Soap, this box works the same way by having a closed in area with UV lights to clean bacteria off your stuff.  This Germ Buster is just WAY bigger, you can fit your laptop, tablet or even your shoes in it!

Sonosphere is a huge metal Bluetooth speaker with a GIANT imprint area, a great way to highlight your logo or branding.  They are a little on the pricier side for Bluetooth speakers, but the weight, sound quality and overall staying power of an item like this makes it worth every penny.

Videometry is a promotional video brochure, it has a 7 inch screen and over 1GB of capacity for video storage.  Your logo is printed on a plate inside the brochure, it’s a guaranteed way to make your clients or prospects see your promotional video and have a lasting keepsake from important events or promotions.

Last but not least, they revolutionized the wireless earbud with their upcoming release of their proprietary Pionears Earbuds.  These true wireless technology earbuds come with a 4400MaH power bank charging station and have a 3 hour playback with integrated microphone.

Maybe when Origaudio see that I included 6 of their items in my top list they will send me a free sample kit, haha.


#12 Boardroom Custom Clothing

Boardroom has been a fixture of Canadian Clothing Manufacturing for years, but this year they really made a big impact on me.  They had some mind blowing custom samples at the show with custom colour blocking and full custom pieces that were really cool.  I should have taken more pictures, but with low minimums under 50 pieces, this brand is a great chance to get a custom piece of clothing to really accent your brand instead of paying to advertise for a big sports retail company.


#13 Beagle Scout Luggage Tracker


This luggage tracker works on a similar technology to the popular crowd funded project TILE.  Basically using an app on your phone you can tell how close you are to your luggage or if you are getting closer or farther away from it, so you can essentially tell when your luggage is going to arrive at the luggage carousel at the airport.


#14 Custom Belts

These guys make custom belts; I think they are sublimated rubber because they are definitely printed 4 color process throughout.  I bought a couple of samples and wore them out in Vegas one night; it was a sweet pink Dunkin’ Donuts belt.  They have relatively low minimums and the pricing is also good, so I think custom belts could be a hit this year, especially for companies with hard to re-produce logos or companies that want branding somewhere other than the left chest of their customer facing staff.


#15 Recycled Skateboard Sunglasses

These promotional sunglasses are made from recycled skateboards.  In the past few years promo sunglasses have become more and more popular, so it’s nice to see them taking a green swing and start to be made out of fun recycled products and still look pretty darn cool.


#16 Wireless Charging Pads

Most phones nowadays come with wireless charging capabilities, but I don’t know anyone that actually owns a wireless charging station… not 1.  This is a great opportunity for companies to get ahead of the curve and start giving them out before they become more popular at retail.  No more fumbling with charging cables or cords that are broken or frayed, just rest your phone on the dock and you have power.


#17 Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard That Folds Up Like A Book

This super lightweight foldable Bluetooth wireless keyboard makes working on the go even easier.  Seems to me that more and more people are starting to work off of tablets and their phones, but it’s pretty nice to have access to a full keyboard when you want one.  These have been around for a few years, but the technology is getting better and better with longer battery life, bigger imprint spaces and more connectivity.


#18 1TB External Hard Drive

I remember when Napster had gigabytes of music across it’s whole network, and now you can buy a promotional 1 Terabyte external hard drive to use as a giveaway.  How the times they are a changing.  This gift is one of security and assuredness.  I don’t think my work computer has a terabyte of hard drive space, so now I have the ability to back the whole thing up thanks to that supplier that truly values my business.


#19 Custom Ceramic Mugs

There were 2 different manufacturers of custom ceramic mugs at PPAI this year.  I had seen them in passing over the past years but never seen one in person.  People are always asking for cool and new products, and there is nothing cooler in my opinion than making something full custom. I saw a Death Star mug and a CAT bucket mug, both of which I would be proud to drink out of.  Now I just have to convince Daryl Katz to make a Rogers Place shaped mug.


#20 Custom Monopoly

This item has super high minimums at around 1000 boards per order, but for larger companies it’s a relatively small investment to tie their brand to a pop culture iconic brand like Monopoly.  We also saw custom Jenga and Rubix cubes and other games, but for some reason the Monopoly always jumps out at me. 

As you can see this list only just scratches the surface of the range of products that we did see, but we try to pick a few highlights.  If you don’t see what you are looking for here, just call us or take a look at some of our top lists from the last few years.  I hope we inspired you to find a way to help us Make Great Promo! #PROMOYEG





TOP 15 CHRISTMAS IDEAS

•   OCT 12, 2016 PROMO-ADMIN

 

Every year we like to put together a list of our favourite products and create our Top Christmas Ideas!
Here is the 2016 Top 15 list!

1. KEYCHAIN SIZED POWER BANK
The S.O.S. power bank is ready to give you a boost when you need it most. You won't be sending out any distress signals with its integrated 2-in-1 adapter, ready to re-charge most smartphones and android devices on the go. 
Min. Qty. 50

2. SNOW GLOBE PHOTO FRAME
Holds a 4” x 6” vertical or horizontal photo. The clear plastic frame contains water, white snow, and silver glitter snowflakes that move around when shaken.
Min. Qty. 36

3. BURGER PRESS & BEER OPENER
Form the perfect sized patties every time then crack open a cold brew with this two piece gift set. Includes meat press, bottle opener, and 1-piece gift box
Min. Qty. 72

4. CHRISTMAS T-SHIRT
Custom Designed Christmas patterns to make your own ugly Christmas t-shirt. An inexpensive way to raise the festive spirit around the office and give a gift that will last for years.
Min. Qty. 24


5. CUSTOM SOCKS
Custom socks for your company, business or organization! Your colours on the design of your choice. Step up your company's sock cred and show your business has a unique style
Min. Qty. 100

6. ROCKET BOTTLE
Stainless Steel 500mL bottle. Keep your beverages cold for up to 24 hours with inner Copper insulated liner. Double walled vacuum insulation helps prevent condensation from hot or cold beverages. Matching coloured screw on Stainless Steel leak proof lid helps avoid spills and leaks. BPA free and FDA compliant
Min. Qty. 25

7. STADIUM SCARF
Keep warm during those brisk fall and winter games while supporting your team in style with this knitted stadium scarf. 100% knitted acrylic.
Min. Qty. 100

8. ZIPPO COPPER INSULATED FLASK
Double-wall vacuum construction. High gloss polish accent on lid and bottom part. Stainless steel lid with wire handle attached. Inner wall is plated with copper for ultimate conductivity to keep drinks hot for 12 hours and cold for 48 hours. 30oz.
Min. Qty. 48

 

9. WIRELESS CHARGING POWER BANK
The 4,000 mAh Grade A Lithium Polymer power bank integrates a Qi wireless charging transmitter and rechargeable battery which could works as a Qi charging pad or a regular power bank on the go.
Min. Qty. 12

10. COFFEE DRIP SYSTEM
Designed for manual, pour-over style of brewing. Ceramic retains heat to ensure constant temperature during brewing cycle. Brews 1 to 2 cups of coffee, fits most coffee filters.
Min. Qty. 36

11. WATERPROOF BOULDER SPEAKER
Enjoy your favorite music regardless of your location. Take the Boulder outdoor speaker with you to the pool, on your hike, or to your next house party. The 6 Watt output and Digital Sound Processor is capable of filling any location with quality sound.
Min. Qty. 12

12. LAGUIOLE BLACK SHEESE SET
Slate serving board is accompanied by a set of three cheese knives. Each knife is accented with the Laguiole® bee, a symbol of superior quality in honor of the centuries-old tradition of craftsmanship made famous by Laguiole® knife makers. Includes wood case for convenient presentation and storage.
Min. Qty. 12

  

13. SLEEPING BAG
Fill Weight: 4 lb. Hollow Fiber - Outer Material: 190T P olyester - Inside Lining: Microfiber Polyester - Stuff Sack Material: 190T Polyester Outer Color: Royal Blue/Dark Grey Liner Color: Dark Grey Size: 80” x 36” Stuff Sack Size: 16” x 8.5” Temp Rating: -3 degrees.
Min. Qty. 12

14. PHONE SOAP
Did you know your phone has 18 times more bacteria than a public restroom? Phonesoap is the first of its kind as it sanitizies your phone while it charges.
Min. Qty. 1

15. LAZY BEAR CHAIR
Fully padded seating including a convenient insulated drink holder. One size fits all, rated to 350 lbs. - Durable ribbed 600D polyester - Sturdy 3/4” black tube frame - Stabilizer feet - Padded arm rests - Insulated drink holder - Carry bag included.
Min. Qty. 6



FOOD FLAVOURED LIP BALM

•   JUL 07, 2016 PROMO-ADMIN

 

Working in the promotional products industry as a salesperson I get asked all the time “What is the coolest, newest, craziest, wackiest, best idea you have”. In my experience these cool ideas are rarely purchased, because for every amazing new item I sell, I likely sell about 100 ‘normal’ items. However, when you do convince a client to go wild and get a new/crazy/cool item, sometimes you can knock it out of the park and have a profound impact on their business.

One of my strategies for overcoming the question of finding a cool new item is to talk about custom products. When you can make a product for a client that is completely their own, then unless they hate their brand, they are going to think it’s cool. The old stand-by product for me is the 3-D molded rubber flash drive. I’ve made transit busses, garbage trucks and more, each time recreating a key part of my clients business to truly personalize it. In every instance the project has been a huge hit.

Recently I was tasked to help out a client to find a full custom product that works in the food industry. They have tried turning their product into a 3-D flash drive before and it just didn’t look right… so put to task I came up with the idea of putting the flavour of their food into a custom flavoured lip balm. With minimums for custom flavours in the 2500 range, we came up with the idea for 2 different blends of lip balm that would emulate their products in delicious lip balm format. We wanted something that would be fun and create chatter at a consumer trade show floor.

After consulting with a custom lip balm maker we moved forward with spec samples of 2 different formulations at a cost of $50 each. When they arrived at my offices, I excitedly delivered them to the client and we walked around the office letting people try them out. We got responses of “why on earth would anyone use this” to “Gross!” and “this is disgusting”. I think the best response we got was “this is interesting”. We went back to the purchaser’s office, pulled the plug on the project and began brainstorming a more ‘normal’ tradeshow giveaway.

I love working on fun and innovative projects, there is nothing more satisfying to me than blowing away a customer with the coolest idea for their industry. However it is also important to realize when you are off the mark; make sure to run your ideas by people not affiliated with the project so that you’re not stuck with 2500 lip balms that are not good. Even though this project was eventually cancelled, I can’t say it was a total failure, because I had the chance to work on a fun project with the client and demonstrate that I am willing to cut the chord on a bad idea.



MADE IN CANADA

•   MAR 16, 2016 PROMO-ADMIN

I live in Alberta, so the economy has slowed down because of the price of Oil.  People are buying less and it seems that competition is heating up.  The last thing I want to do is raise my customers prices.  However, the Canadian dollar is not leaving me much choice.  Most promotional products that are warehoused in North America come from the USA….. even if they are from Canadian suppliers like Starline, Taylor and Grant or Bulletline, they are still printed in the USA and then brought into Canada.  Last year quite a few suppliers had to send out notices that the catalogue pricing they had sent out was no longer valid because they had to put out emergency price increases.  I propose that part of the problem is our reliance on American suppliers.  I wanted to write this post to bring attention to a couple of top notch Canadian suppliers that make their products in Canada.  These products have seen very little price fluctuation, despite the CDN dollar dropping as much as it has.  If you want to see our economy recover, I believe it has to start with buying more locally made products like the following.

Digimates! A long time favorite product of mine.  It is made in Montreal Quebec by Vispak Inc. They make most of their products, which can be found at www.insaneproducts.com .  The digimate is a really cool product that sticks to the back of your phone without leaving a sticky residue and then can be used to clean the screen of your phone.  I have had digimates from brands like Bell, Kijiji, Telus and many more trusted brands.  This product has been seen by many people, but very few people know that it is locally made and has not had a price increase since Feb 2014.

Jerico Clothing. Can be found at www.jerico.ca and they make their clothing in Toronto, Ontario.  They have a custom clothing program available that allows you to select the color of different features on the clothing, so if you have brand colors that are red and black like mine, you could do a hoody with red sleeves, a black body and a red hood…. Pretty cool to have this stuff made in Canada and be customizable.  This stuff is not just sewn in Canada, it is knit, dyed, cut and sewn right here on Canadian soil.

Picquic Screwdrivers. Finally a west coast company! Picquic started in Canada in 1988 and is now the leading Canadian manufacturer of custom screwdrivers.  They have over 7 different models that come in seemingly endless color options; this screwdriver is widely recognized and reliable in every way.  Since my introduction to Picquic, I have sold literally thousands of them, and have never had 1 single complaint; people just love them. Learn more at http://www.picquic.com/

Custom Wood Products, made in Edmonton. The largest promotional products supplier in Edmonton is www.kalvanna.com they do all sorts of drinkware printing here in Edmonton; however what a lot of people don’t know is that they also manufacture promotional items.  They can do custom glass pieces and custom boxes; but my favorite item is their custom wood pieces.  They can do cutting boards, or crib boards to order… pretty cool, especially since it doesn’t get more local than your home town.

Tattoos and Stickers! www.Premiums-Plus.com has been a trusted supplier of tattoos and stickers and other printed promotional items, printed right here in Canada since 1961 (dare I say before our industry even really existed).  According to their website, they have printed over 147 million pieces over the years (I know I personally did a single order for 100,000 magnets through them once).  In my opinion their claim to fame is they have what I believe to be the best waterless tattoo on the market.

So the next time you are on the market for a promotional item, make the effort to buy Canadian made products.  There are lots of great products to choose from, and you will be supporting local businesses that make their products in your own back yard.

LAS VEGAS TOP PROMOTIONAL ITEMS AT PPAI EXPO 2016

•   JAN 29, 2016 RUSSELLBIRD

Every year I head down south to sunny Las Vegas to take in the PPAI Expo (Promotional Products Association International), where they have over 3800 vendors displaying all the latest and greatest items in the promotional industry.  When I go I always bring a list of items that clients are specifically looking for as well as trying to keep my eye out for buzz worthy or exciting items.

This year the hashtag was #PPAIEXPO or #BESTEXPOEVER, so if you want to see some items that other distributors found, check that hashtag on twitter, Instagram or Facebook. I like twitter and you can follow me at www.twitter.com/promoyeg

But enough self promotion, here is my list of the top items from PPAI Expo 2016.

#1: Custom Light Bulb

Origaudio released a line of LED light bulbs. The bulbs are a set of interlocking panels with 3 LED bulbs each.  The bulb is printed 4 color process on every panel, so the branding options are endless.  The bulb is said to last 28 years and consumes less power than a regular bulb. They are also dimmable without needing a dimmer switch (cool right!?); all you need to install it is a standard light socket. This product was so cool that I even bought a sample at the show.

#2: Super High End Candies

Sugar Fina is a candy company that makes what I am going to call Super High End Candy. The names that stood out to me the most were Champagne Gummy Bears made with Vintage Dom Perignon Champagne, Single Malt Scotch Cordials. They offer custom candy sets or their collections like the Bento Box or Vice Collection.  I got to try a couple of these candies at the show, and they were a real standout. You may pay more than what you would at a Candy Store, but they’ve truly managed to elevate corner store candy to be something so much more.

#3: Custom Knit Gloves for the Masses

Custom Knit gloves, Toques and Scarves. These items have been around for a few years, but the minimums used to be in the thousands, which made them unreachable for most brands. This year however you can order a fully custom knit scarf with a minimum 100 piece order. This makes a truly custom piece within reach for just about everyone.  The neat thing about this product is that you can make it as awesome as you want by using up to 7 yarn colors for 1 flat fee and using new “HD” knitting the images can be more complex and vibrant than your traditional soccer scarf.

#4: Drones!

Drones, Drones, Drones. They said that Drones were one of the most popular gifts at Christmas this year, and right before Christmas Leeds brought out a mini drone that I think was one of the first in the promo marketplace.  However at the PPAI expo, you could see what was coming; there were drones of every shape and size, professional drones, miniature drones for kids, drones with cameras and drones that could do backflips with the push of a button. More and more my industry is chasing/aligning itself with retail and this trend is something that is going to take over a lot of market share in our industry this year.

#5: Wearable Technology

Wearable technology is a product I am really torn on. The retail market is dominated by Apple, Samsung and Fit Bit. Branding those items can be really expensive and doesn’t leave much room for a distributor to make any money.  Last year I didn’t see any fitness trackers at the show, but this year there were a bunch.  Many of them were Fitbit knock offs or apple watch look a like’s, but they do have an appeal in this market. There was lot of room for great branding on items like the MOVO.

#6: Chipolo

The Chipolo came from a trusted industry partner and it was very talked about at this year’s CES and PPAI shows. It seems like TILE 2.0 in my opinion.  It’s a small chip that helps you find lost stuff. They are relatively inexpensive and a great way to get people to carry your brand with them on their keys. The biggest benefit to Chipolo is that it’s battery is replaceable, so you don’t have to buy a new one every year.

#7: Hand Warmers

Galvani: Alberta Based Product was very popular at the show and could be really popular with oil and gas or construction workers that have to work outside. This product is made by a company whose offices are in Calgary.  It is an electric hand warmer that is worn around your waist.  You often see this type of product being worn by NFL quarter backs, but now it’s available and safe to use in industry. I tried one on at the show and would love to have this for the next time I’m shovelling my driveway on a blustery day. This is a must have for companies with employees that work outside in Alberta winters.

#8: The Rag Bag

At first I was a little confused by this product because it offers to much green potential! It is made with recycled t-shirts and it is made in the USA, plus it is designed to be reused after being a bag as a rag! They say one bag is 8 times more absorbent than a traditional paper towel and can be washed and reused over and over like a regular dish rag. So the bag can be reused over and over or it can be re-purposed into a rag.  A pretty cool product.  I grabbed a sample from the show and put it immediately into my sink to test its durability.

 

Special mention:

Raining Rose, one of my favourite lip balm suppliers based in the USA released a line of Ibuprofen.  I can’t sell it to Canadian customers because of Health Canada laws, but it’s pretty amazing that promo companies in the USA can sell over the counter drugs as a promotional item!



CROWD FUNDING AND HOW THEY USE PROMOTIONAL ITEMS

•   MAR 26, 2015 RUSSELLBIRD

In Case you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past 2 days, this next blog post is to tell you a little more about indie go go promotions, crowd funding and how promotional items play a key role in their success.

2 days ago the team behind the movie Super Troopers (Broken Lizard) started an indie gogo campaign to raise money for their sequel.  They asked their fans to help raise $2 million.  They did in just over a day….. how you ask?  Well it helps to have a crazy following of former college students that are now 10 years out of college and have disposable income, but more importantly, they offered their fans limited edition promotional items to promote their fandom and the movie at the same time.

$55 for a t-shirt? No problem, they have sold over 3400 in just over a day.  $75 for a promotional super trooper badge? 3490 sold so far.  $100 for a poster? Yep, 2134 sold so far.

There are tonnes of other options on there, but that’s $187,000 worth of t-shirts, $261,000 for promotional police badges and $210,400 for posters.  All great promotional items!  Fans will love these items long ater the movie comes out and feel like they were a part of the production.  Some fans are paying more to actually be part of the production, but that’s a whole other blog post.

There are tonnes of indie go go campaigns that use promotional items to reward fans for their support, it’s an amazing way to thank you fans using inexpensive but long lasting products that will allow you to devote most of the money to your cause of campaign.  Because while $55 for a shirt might seem crazy, the fans who are buying them should expect a $5 shirt and then an amazing movie.  Nobody wants an amazing shirt promoting a terrible movie, so lets hope broken lizard puts the money to good use and blows up a couple of cars and chugs a lot of syrup right MEOW.

Go check out the campaign here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/super-troopers-2

      


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