Day 2 at the 2017 Promotional Products Expo

Day 2 of the Promotional Products Association International Expo is in the books! Our feet may hurt (we walked a lot today) but it’s definitely been worth it. We saw so many more great products to share with our clients. Read on for some of our favorites from today.

Michael with an example of custom packaging

Michael’s Favorite: Custom Packaging Options

If you’re looking for a way to take your promotional products to the next level, custom packaging is the way to go. Whether you’re doing a direct mail piece, or giving a gift to a client, giving it in a custom-designed box instantly increases the perceived value of a promotional product.

I love this option in particular because it can be done with low-minimums, even with full color printing on the interior and exterior of the box.

These boxes also allow for custom inserts, built around the products you want to feature. If you want to do just a mug, we can do that. Do you want to do a mug, coffee, and a tumbler? We can do that too, with an insert built around the specific products that you select. Plus we have multiple options to choose from, in order to fit within your budget.

If you’re looking to take your promotional products to the next level, custom packaging is the way to go!

Chuck with the universal cell phone mount

Chuck’s Favorite: 360 Degree Universal Car Phone Mount

As a sales guy, I’ve spent a lot of time in my car over the years. It’s always hard to figure out exactly what to do with my phone while I’m using my GPS as I drive. There’s just no good place to put it.

That’s why the 360 degree universal car phone mount is such a great product. The mount itself has an adhesive that you use to stick to the dashboard of your car and a magnet on the end of a rotating ball. With an adhesive magnet on your phone, your phone then snaps to the mount, and your phone is mounted right on your dashboard! You get to decorate both the mount and the magnet on your phone, allowing you to brand two items in one. Plus the magnet and mount are strong enough to hold any phone, so you don’t have to worry about your phone being too heavy.

If you have clients that spend lots of time in their car, either traveling for work or even just commuting to and from work, this product would be a great gift for you.

Julia with the pieceless puzzle

Julia’s Favorite: Pieceless Puzzle

Almost everyone has some kind of stress ball at their desk – but the round stress ball has been done, again and again. That’s why I am so excited about the pieceless puzzle, a modern way to de-stress at your desk.

The puzzle is one big, connected puzzle piece, not a huge pile of unwieldy pieces like the traditional jigsaw puzzle. You can see how it breaks down to the left, as well as a completed puzzle. It’s perfect for those days where you need a mental break at your desk and want to take a few minutes to unwind. If you don’t have the time to finish it, no worries! Just ball it up and throw it in a drawer. There are no extra pieces to have to chase after or worry about losing.

It’s the modern version of a stress ball, but way more fun.

 

We’ve got one more day to go at the Expo! Check back tomorrow for one last update from the show, and next week for our final wrap-ups!

For more information on any of the above items, contact one of our Account Managers for more information and pricing! 

 

Magellan Promotions at NACAC 2016

It’s hard to believe that summer is already over and that fall is in full swing! But as sure proof that fall has begun, the Magellan Promotions team made their annual trip to the 2016 NACAC National Conference. We had a great few days in Columbus, and we’re already planning for what we have in store for 2017.

For those of you who weren’t able to attend NACAC this year, here are a few of our favorite products that we had on display:

Keyboard Sticker

Keyboard Sticker

Custom Keyboard Sticker

We know that we have told you about our keyboard sticker before, but it has been so popular that we can’t stop talking about it!

It’s a great item, with a lot of bang for your buck. Plus, it’s easy to use across your whole campus, not just in the Admissions department. Send it as a thank you to donors, to members of your staff, to alumni who visit at homecoming and more.

You can find more information, including pricing here.

Tassel Topper

Tassel Topper

Tassel Topper

Are you looking for a great item to send to your admitted students as part of an anti-melt campaign? Then look no further than the Tassel Topper!

The Tassel Topper can be decorated on one or both sides, and comes with sticky Velcro pieces so your future students can easily attach it to their mortarboard for their high school graduation.

Your students will be proud to show off your logo as they cross the stage as part of the Class of 2017!

Drinkware

Glacier Tumbler

The Glacier

One of the most popular categories in our industry this year has been drinkware – especially non-retail versions of retail products such as the S’well and the Yeti. Our versions are the H2Go Force and the Glacier.

We love both of these items because you get the retail quality, without the retail price tag. Both are double-wall, copper insulated so they’ll keep your hot drinks hot, and your cold drinks cold.

You’ll definitely catch people’s attention with either of these pieces as a gift!

 

These were just a few of our favorite items from NACAC. If you want to see what else we had on display, check out our NACAC Showroom. For quotes on any of these items, click here or reach out to one of our Account Managers.

We look forward to seeing you at NACAC 2017!

The Keyboard Sticker

Keyboard Sticker Blog Post

I bet many (if not all) of your incoming freshmen applied to your school through your website – most likely sitting at a computer. During the next four years of their lives, your students will spend countless hours on their computers – writing and researching papers, completing homework assignments and more. And that’s just the incoming class of 2020. Think about all the ways that your constituents use their computers – students writing papers, alumni making donations and faculty advising their students, just to name a few.

Since computers and technology are such an integral part of life today for your current and prospective students, alumni, faculty and more, what better way to keep your brand right in front of them than by using their own computers as a promotional item?

UW Keyboard Sticker

University of Wisconsin’s Keyboard Sticker

Our exclusively designed keyboard sticker is an inexpensive, engaging and unique way to do just that. You can customize any computer key with a ½” sticker, quickly making a keyboard the hard-to-miss advertisement for your institution.

These keyboard stickers have been a hit with many of our clients and they are the perfect way for you to reach out to current and perspective students, donors, alumni and more.

Many schools have used the same template, but do you want to switch it up? We can do that! Add more keys, make a bigger card, or even turn the keyboard sticker into a postcard. If you can design it, we can do it.

Email your Account Manager to discuss how the keyboard sticker could be the next great addition to your marketing platform.

Custom Mascot Promotional Ideas

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?!

LEGO mascot sample

LEGO figure – a really fun promotional idea for a school mascot

Here is another example with the Iowa State mascot.

Iowa State Sample LEGO

Cy the Cardinal, looking rather cute.

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.

stress balls in custom shapes

Custom shaped stress relievers include Vice President Biden and President Obama in the upper right corner.

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.

Creative Imprints Make a Statement

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!

UCLA crest imprint on glass

Sample of a Mirror Imprint

Mirror Imprint

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 with LinkedIn Logo

Tone on Tone Wrap Print with LinkedIn Logo

Matte / Glossy Tone on Tone Wrap Print Example

Matte / Glossy Tone on Tone Wrap Print Example

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.

Glitz Print Decoration Method

Glitz Print Decoration Method

Glitz Print

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:

Tone on tone glossy imprint on matte black

Tone on tone glossy imprint on matte black

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.

Related Links

Promotional Version of the S’well Bottle

New Promo Products of 2015 Photo Highlights, including Drinkware

Case Study: Western Racquet Club

 

 

“Awh Cute” Promotional Products

Sometimes you see something so cute that it just makes you say, “Awh cute.”

Plain and simple.

We have a few promotional items that fall under the “awh cute” category! Look at these pictures and see if you agree:

stuffed gray wolf for Loyola First Year Experience

We partnered with Loyola First Year Experience to create this adorable gray wolf.  Additional animals are available. You can dress your school’s little critter with either a bandanna or a t-shirt.

Hank puppy MSOE

For Milwaukee School of Engineering’s baseball themed promotional items last year, we created a Hank-inspired puppy for its Housing Department (the stray dog that the Brewers found at Spring Training).  Interestingly enough, Hank also won Dog of the Year!

Both the Loyola wolf and MSOE puppy are two examples of cute, fun promotional products that recipients are sure to love.

To search for more stuffed animal options, view this product search, or contact us for more details!

Ideas for Digital Viewbooks

In an increasingly digital world, many traditional brochures and multi-page books are being adapted for an online format. Many colleges are following this trend and taking their viewbooks online. There are many benefits to digital viewbooks, including:

  1. Reduce overall print costs
  2. Cost savings on postage for both domestic and international students
  3. Easier to correct online publications with updates

Cost reduction and ease of updates are certainly appealing to many schools.  However, one question often remains before schools make the transition to digital viewbooks:

How will students find the online viewbook?

Beyond simple links throughout the website, many schools are looking for a tangible item that can replace a hard copy viewbook or large printed catalog. One promotional product solution that is ideal for driving web traffic to a specific URL is an item called the webkey.

Webkey in your school colors

Find a webkey in your school color to direct students to an online viewbook.

Similar to the look of a USB drive, a webkey is pre-programmed with a URL that automatically takes users to your viewbook (or whatever site you specify) when plugged into a USB port. While a USB drive could also store many e-publications, a webkey is a more affordable solution with a longer shelf-life than a USB port because the programmed URL can simply be updated with the latest viewbook. To make it easier to handout or mail, a webkey can come pre-attached to a full color postcard, which can provide instructions on how to use it.

More Tracking Options

Want to track opens, and add in survey questions? There’s an upgraded webkey called the iCue that can do that. Since it’s often difficult to track the effectiveness of a printed viewbook, a webkey powered viewbook can provide detailed tracking through an administrators page.

Here are a few highlights of the iCue:

  • Better Tracking – when the webkey is plugged into a computer, data will be sent to the administrator’s page.  This will provide data on the number of impressions or view rate as a result of your webkey.
  • Optional one-time registration allows for collecting additional data about your target audience. From the admin page, you can easily add and customize the desired questions. The collected data will show up in the admin page, giving information on which recipients used the product, making it very easy to schedule follow-up calls or emails with these contacts.
  • Easy Contest Administration – using the admin panel, you can track who opened and registered on your site, which makes it easy to hold a drawing for a prize incentive. Promote the drawing on an included 5×7 postcard to encourage visits. Incentives for students include: coupon to your university book store, waive or reduce the application fee, voucher for athletic events, or branded promotional items.
Green Power paper iCue

Sample webkey with 5×7 full color postcard – promote an incentive on this card to help drive traffic to your school’s website. Ideal for direct mail or handing out at events.

 

Webkey Case Study

msoe-web-key

Drive site traffic with a WebKey

One case study describes how Milwaukee School of Engineering used web keys to successfully promote and drive traffic to a new admissions website.  Web keys were the ideal solution for MSOE – seamlessly directing users their new Bridge site.  Read more about how MSOE Admissions used the webkey here.

If you’re interested in a trackable, engaging promotional item for directing your target audience to an online viewbook, a webkey is THE ideal solution. View the links below for more product information, or contact us to further discuss your online marketing strategies.

Links for More Information

Want more ideas on ways to engage prospective students?  Visit our ways to increase engagement page as part of our admissions resources.

Summer Event Ideas

Summertime is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the many community events!
Many colleges participate in state or county fairs to promote their schools to the greater community. We commonly support schools in such efforts. Here is a photo collage of summer event ideas that we’ve created for clients:

promotional ideas for events

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.

UWM State Fair shirt design

UWM State Fair t-shirt Imprint tied in with social media.

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:

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!

 

Attention Grabbing 3D Direct Mail Ideas

For direct mail that really stands out in the mail pile and grabs attention consider adding dimension, eye-catching colors, and a promotional item. According to industry research, investing in direct mail will help deliver a bigger bang for your buck.  Consider the following stats:

  • 4.4% is the average response rate of standard mail (Direct Marketing Association).
  • 3D mailings receive a 250% better response rate than standard mail (Direct Marketing Association)
  • A direct mail piece that includes a promotional item can increase response rates by 50% (Silver Marketing Group Study).

While a color imprint, unique shape or bright sticker may help draw more eyeballs to standard flat mail, 3D packaging provides a larger canvas for imprinting artwork and messaging. Here are a few 3D direct mail ideas that can enhance your next mail campaign:

Imprinted Mailing Pack

One sample that exemplifies this is the Poly Pak.

Poly Pak imprinted packaging

Full color promotional mailing packet gives you more messaging space for your brand.

Imprint in full color on both sides of the packaging to showcase your company.  This would be one way to spruce up mailing envelopes used for sending literature.

The Greeting Cube

For smaller packages with more durability, the Greeting Cube is an ideal option. Saint Louis University used this packaging to mail USB drives to prospective students for the John Cook School of Business. Imagine what your school, business or organization could create for each of the panels by looking at the Saint Louis University images below:

Greeting Cube assembled

The Greeting Cube is 2 3/8″ – a very cute package!

Pricing includes the cube assembly, product insertion, and shrink-wrapping. Additional personalization is available through variable printing, so individual names could be imprinted for an additional charge.

Outer side of the Greeting Cube

Flat outside of the Greeting Cube includes assembly instructions and pre-affixed adhesive.

Inside of the Greeting Cube

Inside design of Saint Louis University’s Greeting Cube

BookWear

Another 3D packaging mailing option is BookWear, a shrink wrapped book-shaped package that contains a promotional item. As indicated in the recruiting college students information, BookWear has a high open rate and conversion rate due to its novel appeal. Here is one collegiate sample of a compressed t-shirt inside of BookWear:

 

Front cover of BookWear

Front cover of BookWear – shrink wrapped to enclose neatly folded, compressed t-shirt

BookWear Back cover

Artwork wraps around back cover and binding.

The standard print area for BookWear is 9 inches wide by 4.5 inches high, though custom sizes are available. See our BookWear Showroom for more details. You can also view this YouTube video to see other samples of BookWear items.

 

3D Direct Mail Case Study

Last but not least, we recently helped law firm DeWitt Ross & Stevens with a 3D mailing that included an imprinted phone stand promotional item and informational insert. This was a very creative and successful branding initiative for the firm. Learn more about how we helped recommend the right promotional item and more specific details of their prospecting mail campaign in our 3D Direct Mail Case Study.

3D direct mail case study images

Imprinted box, phone holder with card inserted

3D or lumpy mail is a worthwhile investment for helping increase response rates and overall effectiveness of your direct mail campaigns.  For more ideas, peruse our direct mail showroom, or contact us for more information.

2015 Top Admissions Promotional Items

One thing that is true of the promotional products industry is there are literally THOUSANDS of products! It’s easy to search and search for the perfect idea with so many choices, which can get a bit overwhelming.

That’s where we come in.  We sort through the latest ideas for 2015 and organize them into categories to make it easier for you to find what applies to your school and organization.  We did just this with our notes and pictures from the PPAI Expo to highlight several trends and top promotional ideas for admissions departments.

New Ideas for Admissions

2015 promo ideas for admissions departments

New products for college admissions.

Starting at the top left, we’ll discuss how each promotional idea relates to admissions marketing.

  1. Custom Imprinted Box – 3D direct mail really makes a statement.  We’ve seen some creative admissions acceptance mailings, and we think a custom imprinted box would be a fun way to say, “You’re IN!”  For a smaller sized mailing, we especially like the Greeting Cube, which can be imprinted on both the inside and outside of the box. A higher value mailing could also be used to target specific student populations at various stages of the enrollment funnel.  According to the Direct Marketing Association, 3D mailings receive a 250% better response rate than standard mail, so it’s a great way to keep prospective students engaged with your school. For more direct mail ideas, see our Direct Mail Showroom.
  2. Mini Polaroid Camera – as we talked about in Help Students Picture Their Future at your School, a Polaroid camera would be a fun way to instantly provide a picture to a prospective student visiting campus.
  3. Tech Tattoos – These ultra removable decals are an inexpensive, safe and easy way to personalize electronic gadgets. The stickers are designed for laptops, tablets, e-readers, cell phones, music players, game consoles, and more. People love to show school spirit on their devices, making these tech tattoos ideal for prospective students (either in a direct mail piece with information or an event handout).  We also would recommend custom sticker sheets, such as the ones Wartburg College created with us.
    design your own sticker sheet

    A custom sticker sheet is another direct-mail friendly and new product for prospective students

  4. Luggage Tag – These high quality, embroidered luggage tags are a favorite idea for admitted students. It could easily be used in a get ready to “pack your bags” and come to our school themed event or mailing.
  5. Custom Pen Holder – Do you have a landmark on campus that would make a fun, custom pen holder?  This is a unique idea for high school couselors. There are so many options – check out the catalog here. Desk items are a gold standard among promotional products, meaning your brand gains more exposure when its displayed on a desk.
  6. DigiClean Mailer – We’ve written about the DigiClean many times (NACAC Top Products, DigiClean Testimonials, as one of our most popular tech screen cleaning promotional items.  DigiClean products come affixed to a direct mail card, so additional school information can be promoted on a larger space than the DigiClean itself. DigiClean and DigiGrip are items that literally “stick around” and resonate with tech-savvy prospective students. Click here for a link to the DigiClean Showroom.

Which items are you most interested in for your school or college? Let us know if you’ve seen any unique promotional products that colleges are using in the comments below.

Looking for more product ideas? See our Top New Promotional Products for Colleges blog post.