5 Trends in 2014 Promotional Products

We stay in touch with the latest trends by attending national and regional trade shows, meeting with industry representatives, and learning from collegiate clients and campus visits on what’s popular.  Based on these sources, we have identified five key trends in promotional products for 2014:

1. Technology Products

It’s no surprise that the segment of tech items in the promotional products industry is booming! We have seen increased activity and interest on all things tech, meaning any promotional items related to smartphones, power cords, chargers, speakers, cases and more.

images of popular technology promotional items

A sample of popular tech products

2. Vintage

As they say, what’s old is now new again. Promotional products have gone vintage in so many different ways.

One of our suppliers, Gemline has assembled a collection of promotional items that fit the Neo Retro or Midcentury Modern trend you often see in fashion, Mad Men episodes, retro sunglasses, and the resurgence of 1960′s style furniture. The Sketch Messenger Bag is an eye-catching example of this trend, as is this turquoise lunch cooler pictured below.

Retro lunch cooler

Retro Lunch Cooler

Malibu Sunglasses

Classic, retro style sunglasses

The mason jar as drinkware is a fresh take on this tried and true canning jar.   This mason jar-like BPA-free, beverage container comes in nine different colors. It’s made of acrylic, so it is more affordable and durable than a glass mason jar.

mason bottle close up

25 oz. Mason Jar Water Bottle

We also liked the variety of finishes available in mason jars, which leads to our next trend.

3. Matte Finish

Matte finishes are becoming more and more popular, as a striking backdrop for a logo imprint.  Here are some samples Michael poses by at the PPAI Expo.

Matte Finish and Stainless Steel Mason Jar Drinkware

Matte Finish and Stainless Steel Mason Jar Drinkware combine two trends

We also used a matte finish on the Contigo travel mug.  These mugs have become our daily-go-to mug for everyone in our office!

Matte Finish Contigo Travel Mug

Matte Finish Contigo Travel Mug

4. Neoprene Material

We’re seeing neoprene, an extremely durable fabric that is used for wet suits, show up in many different promotional items: coolers, can koozies, laptop and tablet cases.  Here’s an example of a beverage insulator we recently created for #EMchat.

beverage koozie for #EMchat

Photo credit: Alex Williams

5. Clear Bags 

Michael and Paige noticed a lot of clear bags in a variety of formats at PPAI: drawstring bags, totes, and backpacks.  This is a direct response to the heightened security requirements that have been adapted at schools and sporting events. Specifically the NFL updated their Stadium Bag Policy in 2013 as a way to improve stadium access.  The PGA will be adopting a similar policy as well.

clear drawstring bag

 

Have you seen these trends appear on campus or in your own personal life?  Which one is your favorite?  Let us know what you think!

2014 Top New Promotional Products for Colleges

At Magellan Collegiate Promotions, we strive to share the latest and best promotional marketing ideas with our clients.  To stay on top of what’s new and trending, Owner Michael Wolaver and Account Manager Paige Wagner attended the industry’s largest trade show, the PPAI Expo in Las Vegas.  Here are the top new promotional products for schools and colleges to incorporate into branding, marketing, and recruitment efforts.

Trend: Sustainability 

Product: T-shirt made of Recycled Material

EarthSpun Eco Friendly Tshirt

EarthSpun Apparel Eco Friendly Tshirt

 

This high-quality t-shirt is made from recycled plastic bottles blended with recycled cotton. Additional apparel items are available in this same eco-friendly material, including a zip-up sweatshirt and women’s t-shirt.

Uses: staff apparel, student contests

Trend: Drinkware and Accessories

Product: Knit Acrylic Bottle Insulator

knitted bottle insulator

Bottle sweater keeps drinks cold and hands warm!

The next generation of insulated beverage holders has been upgraded to a fun, knit sweater material.  We fondly refer to this as a “beer sweater.”

Perfect for showcasing your logo, it comes in four different yarn colors. Acrylic yarn will keep hands warm when holding onto a cool beverage.

Uses: Alumni, events, athletics

Product: H2Go Mason Bottle

Look around Pinterest or in any home goods section of a store, and you’ll see mason jars! Anything from vases, light fixtures, mugs, or wine glasses are inspired by the classic mason jar.

mason bottle close up

25 oz. Mason Jar Water Bottle

The Mason Bottle comes in many colors

So many fun colors for your school!

This mason bottle can be imprinted on the side or top of the cover with a logo. In addition to the many colors pictured above, it is also available in a stainless steel finish.  Choose from single wall (featured) or double wall insulation.

Uses: Staff, Alumni, Student Contests, Admitted Student Days

Trend: See More Clearly 

Product: Clear Drawstring Backpack

More schools and sporting events are requiring clear bags for security reasons. Specifically the NFL updated their Stadium Bag Policy in 2013 as a way to improve stadium access.  The PGA will be adopting a similar policy. This clear drawstring backpack is an ideal solution for new security measures.

Clear drawstring bag

Clear drawstring bag

Paige and Michael also saw clear totes and backpacks in this trending category.

Uses: Athlectic Events, Prospective Students

Product: Clear Glasses

Custom imprinted sunglasses have been a hit on college campuses for some time.  The latest iteration of this is the clear glasses.  Paige noticed her college age relative sporting a pair of clear glasses recently, so it is a real-live trend.

Clear lens glasses

Clear lens glasses are a new take on retro sunglasses

The glasses can be imprinted on the sides, as you can see on the purple pair pictured above. The glasses are UV blocking and have a cool, retro style that students will love.

Uses: event giveaway, campus tours

Trend: Good Looking Table Cover

Product: Full Color Spandex Table Throw

Traditional table covering can easily be folded, stuffed in a bag, and setup at the next event.  While ironing a table cover is not always possible, it’s common to see traditional throw or drape style covers look a little wrinkly.  Say good bye to wrinkles with this fitted, spandex material table throw.

Fitted Spandex Table Throw

Fitted Spandex Table Throw Features Full Color Wrap Imprint. Available in 4’, 6’, or 8’

The form-fitted design supplies an excellent canvas for a full color design on all sides. The back of the table covering can be open for easy access to materials stored under the table. It’s available in four, six, or eight feet lengths.

Uses: Campus events, college fairs, trade shows

Trend: Mail-friendly Items

Product: Custom Postcard Decal

Direct mail is alive and well! We often work on stickers, decals, or clings for our collegiate clients.

Custom Postcard Decal can be a cling or sticker

Custom Postcard Decal can be a cling or sticker

The custom postcard decal features a postcard on one side and decals on the other. Stickers are available in white or clear with an adhesive or static cling option. The featured size is 3-5.8″ x 6″ though other sizes are available.

Uses: Mailings through Admissions, Alumni Organization, Individual Schools (i.e. School of Business, College of Engineering)

Trend: Technology 

The segment of tech items in the promotional products industry is booming! Anything related to smartphones, power cords, chargers, speakers, and so on were prominently displayed across the show floor in Las Vegas.  Here are our five top tech picks for 2014:

Product: Microgrip Screen Cleaner

Similar to one of our most popular products, the DigiClean, the Microgrip Screen Cleaner also adheres to a phone and can be used again and again for screen cleaning. One new feature that differentiates it from the DigiClean is an outward facing sticky grip section to hold a phone in place.

Half grip, half screen cleaner for your phone

Half grip, half screen cleaner for your phone

Pictured above you can see that the design has two halves: 1/2 logo and 1/2 grip texture. It’s a new twist on a wildly popular phone screen cleaner!  A similar product that was recently introduced is the DigiGrip Screen Cleaner and Mobile Grip.

DigiGrips is another mobile phone grip and screen cleaner in one.

DigiGrips is another mobile phone grip and screen cleaner in one.  It comes pre-affixed to a postcard or marketing card for a larger messaging space and easy storage.

Uses: Events, campus tours, mailings

Product: Juice Box 2200

The Juice Box is a very trendy item that charges devices on the go. Such chargers are already available at retail.

 

Easily charge a tablet or phone from 0 – 100% battery power. Just plug in a device cable and charge away. Available in four colors.

 

Uses: Incentives, contests, scholarship recognition

Juice Box charges devices on the go

Juice Box charges devices on the go

 Product: Phone Wallet

This phone wallet has easily become one of Michael’s favorite new items.  He’s been using it for several months as his wallet on his iPhone.

Phone wallet keeps cards and ids snugly in place

Phone wallet keeps cards and ids snugly in place

It’s designed to work specifically with iPhones, but would easily adhere to other phones as well. Using a strong, 3M adhesive, the phone wallet is securely attached to the phone and snugly holds cards in place.  This could be used to replace a wallet or purse entirely, or simply lighten the amount of things carried in an existing wallet.

Uses: contests, mailing, event giveaway, campus tours

Product: Powerline Adapter Cable

No more carrying multiple cords with this 3 in 1 adapter power cord.  This useful item covers approximately 90% of all devices.

Useful 3 in 1 adapter power cord

Useful 3 in 1 adapter power cord

At one end is a standard USB connector that can be plugged into any AC or DC USB power adapter – or even your computer’s USB port providing 5 volts of recharging power. On the charging end of the cable you’ll find a nice large imprint area with three different connectors. Included: Apple 30pin connector (iPhone 3, 4, iPad 1,2, iPod), Apple Lightning connector (iPhone 5, iPad Mini, iPad 4), and the universal microUSB connector.

Uses: Alumni, speaker gift, School of Business, Computer Science, Engineering (etc.) promotional item

Product: Mini Bluetooth Speaker

MyMusic Mini Bluetooth Speaker

Enjoy the convenience of listening to music from your phone without any cords.

Paige and Michael liked this small Bluetooth speaker, as it has excellent sound quality, and it’s convenient to listen to music without cables through your phone.

Uses: Speaker gift, contest

That wraps up an overview of our favorite new products for 2014.   Last year we also highlighted Top 10 Collegiate Promotional Products, and many of those products continue to be popular even today.  Which items were your favorites?  Do you have other preferred promotional products? Let us know!

For any questions or samples of these products, please feel free to contact us.

 

 

Integrating Social Media into Campus Tours – NEW Case Study

Integration.

It’s a key component of any and every marketing plan to make your school more memorable.  A common message woven through print, online, social media, TV radio, direct mail and promotional items can effectively increase exposure and the likelihood of recall.

Lately there’s been a lot of social media integration with promotional products.  Here are a few examples:

This custom frame with the hashtag #FutureBadgers was created for the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Admissions Office.  It was used to integrate social media into campus tours, allowing prospective students show their excitement and actively endorse UW Madison to their own social networks.

Future Badgers Custom Frame

Learn more about the marketing goals, product details, application and results of the custom #FutureBadgers frame by visiting our case study library.

How has your school integrated promotional items into social media or other elements of the marketing mix?