Earlier this month, we attended the 2018 Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) Expo. The PPAI Expo is North America’s largest promotional products trade show and was the perfect place to get a sneak peek at the 2018 trends in promotional products.
Here are four trends that caught our eye at this year’s expo:
Cork isn’t just for coasters and wine anymore, it’s seemingly everywhere these days and the promotional products industry is no different. There are the products where one would expect it to show up like drink ware, pencil pouches, journals, and pens. However, the sky is really the limit with cork. For instance, check out this tote and this baseball cap!
Heathering is the process of interweaving yarns of different shades of the same color to produce an alternate color. This creates a distinct, textured look in apparel. While this can be done with any color, gray is by far the most popular color. It’s been extremely popular in apparel for the past couple of years, but it’s now expanding into products like hats and bags. A trend within a trend that we saw at this year’s PPAI Expo was combining a heathered gray base with bright colors on the trim.
Qi wireless charging has been a feature in Samsung and LG phones for a few years now, but without Apple supporting the feature, wireless chargers hadn’t really caught on in the industry. However, with Apple’s iPhone 8 and X now supporting the feature, wireless chargers have started to become a popular item within the promotional products industry and it shows with the variety of designs.
Powder Coat Finish
A powder coat finish provides a soft matte look and unique texture on drink ware and was everywhere at this year’s PPAI Expo. The finish allows your branding to pop out more because it absorbs light instead of reflecting it like more glossy finishes. Customers love powder coating because it’s a durable finish that shows less wear and tear and can take a beating. It also provides a unique feel that can’t be found in other finishes.
More from PPAI 2018
If you’re interested in what products we loved at the PPAI Expo, check out three blogs for each day of the show:
It’s time to admit your Class of 2022!
But you’re not the only one. How do you take your admitted student packet from more than just a welcome letter to a memorable experience, making it stand out from your competition? By building an admit pack that increases your yield rate by providing a “Wow!” factor that excites and entices the accepted student to completing the enrollment process with your school.
Here are the pieces that you’ll need:
Don’t just send another boring envelope! Sending acceptance letters in three dimensional packaging stands out and leaves a memorable experience. By using BookWear custom packaging you’ll a statement before the box is even opened. Use dynamic and eye-catching images of your campus on the outside, and congratulate your newest admitted students with a sharply packaged admit kit which includes enrollment information and a fun, useful, and visible promotional product. BookWear is printed, packaged, shrink-wrapped and shipped all from one location, making it easy for you!
Include Your Enrollment Information
Save some trees! Upload all of your enrollment documents onto a flash drive instead of sending printed fliers and forms. Students can then download what they need and they’ll have a useful promotional keepsake for when they come to campus in the fall. Want to make your flash drive stand out even more? We can turn your mascot into a custom molded flash drive!
A Fun Gift
Being accepted to college is a big step (pun intended), and you want students to be excited! Adding a fun, wearable gift like custom socks adds to the experience of being accepted to your top school. When students wear (and show off) your socks, they’ll be reminded of your school and are brand ambassadors to their peers and community. Peer influence is extremely powerful and no other forms of marketing take advantage of this like promotional products.
It’s all put together. Now what?
Don’t want to handle the mailing yourself? That’s fine! Just send us your mailing list and we’ll send your admit pack to your newest class. If you want to handle the mailing yourself, we can do that too. We’ll package your Bookwear, wrap and seal it, and ship it to your school. All each box needs is a label, and you’re good to go!
Ready to build your perfect admit pack?
Contact your Account Manager today! We’ll help you build the perfect admit pack from your school. We can start with the package that was put together for Magellan University, or help you build one from scratch! We’re here to help you make your admit campaign a great success.
Pricing for the admit pack as created by Magellan Promotions. Pricing subject to change as flash drive pricing varies on a week-to-week basis. Setup and mailing charges not included. Please inquire.
An umbrella makes a great promotional gift because everyone needs one, but who really wants to go out and buy one? You can also never have too many umbrellas – keep one in the car, one at the house, one at the office, and more!
A few weeks ago Peerless Umbrella, our go-to production partner for umbrellas, stopped by our office to tell us about what’s new and trending in umbrellas.
Read on to learn more about our favorite umbrellas!
What’s New – The Rebel
The newest addition to Peerless’ line is the most unique umbrella we’ve ever seen – the Rebel.
We’ve all been in the situation where it’s pouring rain as you’re running to your car, and you have to make a quick decision. Do I try to get my umbrella closed as I’m in the car and risk getting my car wet, or do I just get soaked and close it before I get in? The Rebel is the solution to your problem.
With an inverted design the Rebel closes away from you, keeping you dry as you get into your car or walk into a building.
Click the image to the right to see exactly how it works!
What’s Trending – Unique Use of Color
We all have seen the basic black umbrella or the standard two-tone umbrella, but are you looking for something that can make you stand out from the crowd?
We can help you do that! From a new twist on the two-tone umbrella to a black umbrella with full-color clouds on the interior, we have just what you need to make a unique statement for your brand.
Check out our favorite to the left – the Mojo comes in black or navy blue with accented internal hardware in a variety of colors.
What’s Trending – Full Color
Do you have a logo that’s too unique for a standard single-color print? How about a picture of a new building or location that you want to show off? We’ve got the solution – a full color umbrella!
Pick from folding, fashion or golf for the handle and frame, and an interior or exterior full color print. An added bonus? On some sizes and designs we’re able to print domestically, cutting almost two full months off of production time.
It is sure to make your stand out from the crowd on a rainy day!
For More Information
Would an umbrella be the perfect fit for a project you’re working on, or would you just like more information? Just let us know what you’re looking for, and we can present some options that will be the perfect accent for your next marketing campaign. We’re here to make your brand stand out from the crowd, rain or shine!
Who wouldn’t love to receive a school’s mascot in a toy or stress reliever form? These are two custom mascot promotional ideas that we love!
Custom Toy Mascot
One of our favorite promotional items from the PPAI Expo was the custom building toy mascot, shown below as Flo from Progressive. Picture your school’s mascot as a toy figure. Wouldn’t that be awesome?!
Here is another example with the Iowa State mascot.
In just about 90 days our vendor can create the likeness of your mascot in building toy form! Custom orders require a quantity of 15,000 pieces and an up front deposit of 50% of the total project cost. If that quantity sounds a bit high, consider working across campus departments to share the supply of figures. A mascot is a long lasting, enduring symbol of your school, so buying a large quantity of a popular item is a safe marketing investment. If you’re interested in learning more, please contact us.
Stress Reliever Mascot
Similarly, a custom shaped stress reliever can be created in the shape of a mascot. Here are just a few stress reliever shapes that were showcased at one of our events.
To create your own custom stress reliever mascot, only 1000 pieces are needed to meet the minimum quantity. Once a desired size is specified, our partner can provide a quote to create the custom mold. From start to finish, the turnaround time is about four to five months.
Custom Shape Mascots
Both of these custom mascot promotional products are very cool and are bound to be hits with anyone who is lucky enough to receive them. With a little advance planning and working across departments if needed, you can create a customized and fun way to share your mascot and school with prospective students, current students, staff, and alumni.
Are you looking for ways to make your logo standout on a coffee mug, water bottle, or glass? Check out these creative imprints to make a statement!
The interior portion of a glass or clear piece can be looked at through a reverse view, as shown in the UCLA glass above. We take the logo and provide a reflective image. Both logos are on one side of the piece, so you aren’t having to cancel out logos in two different locations. The UCLA blue logo is viewed across the opposite side of the glass in the left most part of the image.
Tone on Tone Wrap Print
The wrap goes around the piece almost completely with a retail branding of a glossy finish on a matte piece. There will be a small gap, instead of it being a full 360 degree wrap. The gap allows you to place your logo vertically. In this form of design you can take an emblem/crest/part of the logo for the wrap as you can see in the LinkedIn sample. If there is something unique to the company, such as a tire tread, an arch, or just wording of what a company offers, it can be wrapped around the bottle for emphasis, as in the Yokohoma picture.
This decoration allows a shiny contrast in a two color design or highlights a logo beautifully. If you want to add a sheen to a logo for vibrancy, then glitz print will be the perfect choice. The sample above has a beautiful, glittery effect!
One of our Projects
One design client of ours loves the matte black finish on their coffee mugs. Here’s an image of one mug that we recently created:
They sell these mugs on their online store with a choice of the tone on tone imprint or white & red imprint on matte black. Now if that doesn’t make a statement, then I don’t know what does! What is your favorite imprint method?
For More Information
There are multiple water bottles, travel mugs, ceramic mugs in a variety of finish types. A few that we like include:
Need a specific idea? Just let us know what you’re looking for, and we’ll present options for you to review.
A community event is an opportunity to connect with an audience in a fun and exciting way. Having staff wear branded apparel and handing out a promotional item is a way to make your school memorable both during AND after the event.
At events promotional item can:
- Help drive people to your display and activities
- Serve as a reminder of the experience with your school after the event ends
- Promote word of mouth marketing, whenever anyone sees your swag
- Increase brand recall and recognition to support your school
- Tie-in with social media accounts to increase your brand’s reach beyond the event
For these reasons, we highly recommend using your brand colors and logo across multiple items. As in the photo collage above, a tote bag is a visible canvas for your logo throughout the event. While we created that bag for the Tosa Farmer’s Market, a similar idea could be applied to any school’s presence. Whenever you’re giving people handouts, a tote bag, drawstring bag, or plastic bag with your logo on it provides a convenient, useful take-away.
Another example of a school that we support for community events is the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. The sunglasses and paw print fans pictured in the collage above were used for the Wisconsin State Fair. Temporary tattoos, visors in school colors, and yellow t-shirts were also used for their presence.
Social Media Tie-In Ideas
One strategy to bring the event to a wider audience is imprinting a hashtag or Twitter handle onto promotional items, just as UWM did one their t-shirt imprint last year.
To create buzz and excitement on Twitter, The University of Wisconsin – Madison used the custom #FutureBadger frame at campus visit days and UW-Homecoming. Such frames, school mascots or fun backdrops create an eye-catching photo-opp for event attendees. Photos are then often shared on social media to increase your exposure. Photo-opp attractions are an excellent way to create an interactive display and draw a crowd!
More Event Ideas
For more inspiration and ideas, see UWM’s promotional items in use at the fair the links below:
- 2014 UWM Day at State Fair Pictures
- UWM Paw Print Fan Case Study
- General Event Product Ideas
- How to Integrate Promotional Items into Events for Colleges features this UWM video:
Since promotional items serve as a reminder of a brand experience, it’s important to select items that reflect your brand identity. We recommend advance planning with an experienced promotional consultant, who can discover the right ideas and share examples from other colleges and universities. We are here to support your summer event planning needs – simply contact us to get started. Happy event planning and have a great summer!
Help students picture their future at your school with creative custom frames.
This is a fun, themed promotional item that can easily be incorporated into campus yield events, direct mail, and additional marketing ideas. The custom frame helps achieve the goal of engaging students in a memorable way with a social media component. We created this custom frame for the University of Wisconsin-Madison and wrote about it in this case study. Here’s our guide for how to use a custom frame at your school.
How to use a Custom Frame – On Campus
This oversize custom is an ideal event-related photo opportunity! Here are a few pointers for using the frame:
- Pick a favorite spot on campus to have custom frames setup during a campus tour, open house, or yield event. Think of a picturesque, iconic spot on campus.
- Assign staff members or current students to have prospective students pose with the frame as part of your event or visit. If staffing is limited, place on a stand to keep it in place.
- Another staff member should take pictures with a Polaroid and / or camera phone.
- Share digital pictures via social media using the hashtag imprinted on the custom frame. Email, tag, or private message students a copy of the picture. If using a Polaroid, pictures can be shared with students on the spot and posted to a bulletin board.
Direct Mail Ideas
Remind students of their on campus experience by mailing a smaller, magnetic frame along with a thank you note. The note can include a generic picture of the magnetic frame displaying a picture taken with the large custom frame on campus, or an actual picture of the student for a more personalized touch.
Direct students to check out pictures of all admitted students on a URL that includes links to your admissions site. Bold, call to actions can promote campus overnight events, invite students to join an incoming class group on social media sites, or instructions on how to secure their place on campus.
For UW-Madison, we created smaller magnetic frames and had them inserted them into envelopes that were imprinted to help streamline mailing of their admitted student packets.
Other Marketing Ideas
“Picture your Future here” themes can easily be integrated into existing marketing. Whether printed or electronic, all communications to students can include custom frame imagery. Emails, posters, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat could feature similar imagery.
Admissions counselors could travel with custom frames to bring to high school visits or events and share pictures via social media.
The custom frame is an ideal product for engaging prospective students, tying in social media, and taking advantage of the #selfie photo sharing trend. To view additional information on the custom frame, visit our admitted student showroom or read our case study.
- Large Custom Frame – 31″ x 42″
- Medium Custom Frame – 23.5″ x 35.25″
- Magnetic Frame for direct mail – 5″ x 7.375
How would you use this campaign on your campus?