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.

 

 

How to Drive and Track Website Traffic

In a recent blog post, we shared our latest case study, where 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 – a more affordable option than USB drives that seamlessly directs users to a pre-programmed URL when plugged into a USB port.  Although it COULD have been passed along to another prospective student, the web key is typically only used one-time.

In jockeying for prospective student’s attention, websites are still a top resource for high school juniors and seniors, according to the Noel-Levitz E-Expectations report (here summarized with the Top 7 Most Interesting Findings for #highered at collegewebeditor.com). 90% of students have accessed a college’s website within the past month, typically on a computer, which makes a USB / web launcher promotional item useful for driving traffic. How do you know the number of impressions attained from the web key?  Besides programming a unique landing page on the web key, tracking is rather limited.

Better Tracking for Web Visitors

With additional reporting and data collection features, the all new iCue ups the ante on the webkey, making it a more effective way to drive and track website traffic.

Here are a few highlights of the iCue web launcher:

  • Better Tracking – when an iCue 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 iCue.
  • Optional one-time registration allows for collecting additional data about your target audience. From the admin panel, you can easily add and customize the desired questions. The collected data will show up in the administrator’s panel, giving information on which recipients used the product, making it very easy to schedule follow-up calls or emails with these contacts.
  •  Re-programmable: administrators can easily re-direct iCue to another website, so it can be used multiple times. Once registration was completed, a user will no longer need to input his or her information on subsequent plug-ins.
  • Included full color postcard – ideal for direct mail. Since iCue comes attached to the postcard, it can easily be handed out at events without getting lost.
Green Power paper iCue

Sample iCue 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.

Creative iCue Ideas

With new and improved features, iCue can provide effective tracking to help direct follow-up efforts and contribute to calculating return on investment (ROI). Here are a few additional ways to use iCue:

  1. Contest or Sweepstakes – give users an incentive to plug in the iCue again and again. Update content to keep your audience engaged for multiple-visits. Promote contest details and drawing dates on the included 5×7 postcard to encourage repeat 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.
  2. Event Handout for high school counselors (or students) to direct them to a website or the cloud for the latest student guidebook. Imagine how “green” this would be, not to mention cost-effective with savings on the cost of paper and printing.

Additional iCue Options

In lieu of launching a website, iCue can direct users to cloud space. The cloud is hosted by a third-party and can be password protected if desired.  Once again, iCue is still less expensive than a USB drive, so this may be an affordable way to store student guide books, college handbooks, class descriptions, schedules, financial aid information etc.

The iCue can also be made in custom shapes to make a bold statement.  This would be perfect for your school’s initials or mascot.  Check out the Aflac duck shape.

iCue custom duck shape 2 iCue custom duck shape

If you’re interested in a trackable, engaging promotional item for directing your target audience to a specific website or documents in the cloud, iCue is THE ideal solution.

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

Falling for Four Fun, New Products

We recently attended a show that highlighted the latest promotional products. We especially fell for four new products that really seem to be on-trend.

Mason Bottle

Maybe we can blame it on Pinterest because we are seeing Mason jars almost everywhere.  The first promotional item is a fun, mason jar-like BPA-free, beverage container that comes in nine different colors.  It is made of acrylic, so it is more affordable and durable than a glass mason jar.

mason bottle

25 oz. Mason Jar Bottle

Re-usable Red Solo Cup

Whenever anyone sees this product for the first time, they can’t help but pick it up and say, “Wow, that’s fun!” The all new CUP is inspired by the Red Solo Cup (and I am hearing Toby Keith’s song in my head), arguably one of the most popular cups of all time.  This cup is much more durable and greener than the disposable solo cups with a double-walled, insulated construction. It is re-usable and ideal for tailgating, picnics, or alumni celebrations! Available in nine different colors, The Cup is BPA free, USA made, and holds 16 oz. of your preferred drink.  An optional white lid is also available.

re-usable red solo cup

16 oz. The Cup – available in nine colors

Felt-tip Stylus Pen

We’ve seen other stylus pens with rubber tips, but we really like this one because it has a new and different felt-tip stylus. It is extremely easy to use, smoothly sliding across the surface of mobile devices. With the upscale look and great performance, we think this is one technology product that will be a big hit.

felt tip stylus pen

Fiber-tip Stylus Pen

Aqua Pearls Hot / Cold Pack

This is an aqua gel bead therapy pack that is both microwave- and freezer-safe for a hot or cold pack. This is a useful health and wellness item in fun new colors at an affordable price point. It would be ideal for promoting recreational sports, intramural sports, or even stress relief during finals week.

hot / cold pack

Aqua Pearls Hot / Cold Pack  7.5″ x 4.5″

What do you think of these new products? Do you have a favorite?  Contact us for more information.

Customize your own Mug for Long-lasting Promotion

How would you like a mug that can feature your brand, while leaving space for your customer’s own personalization?  We LOVE this idea for so many reasons:

1. Students are more likely to use a promotional product if it is targeted and useful. Students and coffee on campus are often synonymous, and bringing your own mug is becoming commonplace (and promotes eco-friendly behavior!).

2. Members Gen Y and Gen Z are considered “All About Me” generations, so they would wholeheartedly embrace an opportunity to customize their mug.

3. Beverage containers are a long-lasting endorsement that students will use on a daily basis.

The EVO Tumbler

We first learned about the EVO from one of our top suppliers. In the video below, Paul Rizzo demonstrates how it works.

 

Branding options

Choose from the EVO colors below and place your logo on the outer, clear shell.  As mentioned in the video, you can also design full-color paper inserts.

the EVO available in 10 different colors

The EVO tumbler is available in so many vibrant colors!

Evo green

Here’s a green tumbler with a logo on the outer shell that is currently posted on our website.

I did a test-run in the office with a sample white EVO mug.  I visited inserts2go.com to download a template of my choice (Word, Adobe Acrobat, or Adobe Illustrator).  Each option provided comprehensive, easy to follow instructions.

EVO-parts

The EVO mug dis-assembled: clear outer shell, white core, and lid.

Using the Word template and some imagery, I created a fun, bright future design, cutting it out on the provided guidelines and easily inserting it between the clear outer shell and inner core of the mug.  Here’s my finished product:

EVO

My own EVO design

Final Recommendations
1. Print your logo on the outside of the EVO tumbler, so your brand will be promoted regardless of what is placed on the inside.

 

2. Consider pre-printing your own design inside in a larger quantity.  Imagine having a full-color scene from campus inserted in this mug.

 

3. For targeting specific students, you could print or handwrite his or her name on top of the pre-printed color image.  A dry erase marker can also be used on the outside and easily wiped off.

 

This is truly a customized and memorable promotional item that we think could be very effective.

 

Product Highlights: Tide to Go pen, Chocolate, Coaster Stones

As a follow up to Highlights of the 2013 Product Showcase post, we’ll be featuring a series of videos from the industry-leading suppliers who joined us at Dave & Buster’s for a great customer event. This will give you a chance to feel like you WERE there, as we share video and information about exciting new products.

In the first Product Highlight post, we shared a video featuring gel pens, unique custom drinkware, infuser tumblers, and a folding golf umbrella.

In the second Product Highlight post, we featured new trends in performance polo shirts that are snag-resistant and moisture-wicking, while still being more affordable than ever.

In the third Product Highlight post, we discussed the 1960’s neo retro trend in messenger bags and the Bobble Water Bottle.

In the fourth Product Highlight post, we learned more about new technology items and food storage containers.

For our final installment of the Product Highlight series, we will hear from Jack Witte, who will share more information about Tide to Go and WD-40 pens, chocolate, coaster stones, and a hooded sweatshirt with a unique imprint area.

 

New Promotional Ideas for Events
If you’re looking for a new item to give away at events, consider some of the options that Jack shared: Tide to Go pen or WD-40 pen, or the ever popular chocolate.  We were fortunate enough to receive some of Jack’s leftover chocolate covered cookies, and they did NOT last long in our office – nor would they at an event or as a small appreciation gift.

 

Promotional Item for your Car
The coaster stone fits in a cup holder and absorbs liquids, making it a unique promotional item for your staff, alumni, or students.

 

Thanks for following our Product Highlights from our Annual Product Showcase! We will continue to bring you promotional marketing tips and ideas throughout the year on our blog. For any questions regarding any of these products, please feel free to comment or contact us directly.

 

Product Highlights: New Technology Items

As a follow up to Highlights of the 2013 Product Showcase post, we’ll be featuring a series of videos from the industry-leading suppliers who joined us at Dave & Buster’s for a great customer event. This will give you a chance to feel like you WERE there, as we share video and information about exciting new products.

In the first Product Highlight post, we shared a video featuring gel pens, unique custom drinkware, infuser tumblers, and a folding golf umbrella.

In the second Product Highlight post, we featured new trends in performance polo shirts that are snag-resistant and moisture-wicking, while still being more affordable than ever.

In the third Product Highlight post, we discussed the 1960’s neo retro trend in messenger bags and the Bobble Water Bottle.

For this edition, we will hear from Craig Gengler of HIT Promotional Products, who will share information on new technology items and food storage containers.

Featured technology items include:

As the fastest growing category in the promotional marketing industry, technology items generated a lot of interest at this year’s event. Many tech products are ideal items for  students attending college fairs, campus visits, or orientation sessions. For more tech ideas, take a look at our DigiClean case study, read our top products blog post, or browse through our technology product catalog online.

Finally, Craig talked about another green trend that helps save money while being environmentally conscious: packing your lunch.  Convenient food storage containers make it easy to pack a salad with a removable dressing container and storage slot for a fork.  Pack it in an insulated lunch bag and you’re ready to dine on the go.

Stay tuned for our final product highlight installment including: Tide to Go and WD 40 pens, branded chocolate, coaster stones, and MORE! For any questions regarding any of these products, please feel free to comment or contact us directly.

Product Highlights: Trendy Messenger Bag and Bobble Water Bottle

As a follow up to Highlights of the 2013 Product Showcase post, we’ll be featuring a series of videos from the industry-leading suppliers who joined us at Dave & Buster’s for a great customer event. This will give you a chance to feel like you WERE there, as we share video and information about exciting new products.

In the first Product Highlight post, we shared a video featuring gel pens, unique custom drinkware, infuser tumblers, and a folding golf umbrella.

In the second Product Highlight post, we featured new trends in performance polo shirts that are snag-resistant and moisture-wicking, while still being more affordable than ever.

For this post, we would like to present Lori Dobrez from Gemline to talk about trends in messenger bags and the Bobble water bottle.

 

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 trendy messenger bag, as is this turquoise lunch cooler.

 

Retro lunch cooler
Reusable Water Bottle
The Bobble Water Bottle is a great way to promote your brand with a high quality, re-usable filtered water bottle.  As Lori mentioned in the video, replacement filters are readily available at a lot of retail stores.

 

We talked about bringing your own water bottle or mug in 5 Ways to be Green at Work   since it’s one small way to reduce the billions of cups that are thrown away each year. Be part of the solution and promote being green with branded re-usable drinkware.

 

Billions of drink containers are disposed annually MINUS THIS ONE! Be part of the solution.

 

Stay tuned for more product highlights including: multi-purpose car charger, iPad accessories, coaster stones, and MORE! For any questions regarding any of these products, please feel free to comment or contact us directly.

 

Product Highlights: New Polo Shirts

As a follow up to Highlights of the 2013 Product Showcase post, we’ll be featuring a series of videos from the industry-leading suppliers who joined us at Dave & Buster’s for a great customer event. This will give you a chance to feel like you WERE there, as we share video and information about exciting new products.

In our first Product Highlight post, we shared a video featuring gel pens, unique custom drinkware, infuser tumblers, and a folding golf umbrella.

For our second installment in our Product Highlight Series, Chuck Cayo from Sanmar will talk about trends in apparel including a new snag resistant 100% polyester polo shirt that comes in 16 colors and bright and bold Nike Dri-FIT Golf shirts.

In a recent post about New Products, Michael discussed the increasing popularity of the 100% polyester, moisture wicking polo shirts.  They have risen in popularity because they are lightweight, comfortable, easy care, and breathable.  Recently prices have dropped, so a good quality performance polo shirt is more affordable than ever.

New Polo Shirts
Two performance polo shirts we frequently recommend are:
  1. Core 365 Performance polo shirt

These comfortable polo shirts are ideal for both student workers and professional employees – especially during warmer weather outdoor events.  Campus tour guides, golf outing participants, or outdoor sports fans can stay cool and stylish in these performance polos. Consider using them for gift-giving, fundraisers, or alumni programs to keep promoting your collegiate brand with a shirt that will be worn again and again.

See for yourself how spectacular these polo shirts are!  Contact us to learn more and request a sample.

Product Highlights: Cool Drinkware and Folding Golf Umbrella

As a follow up to Highlights of the 2013 Product Showcase post, we’ll be featuring a series of videos from the industry-leading suppliers who joined us at Dave & Buster’s for a great customer event. This will give you a chance to feel like you WERE there, as we share video and information about exciting new products.

Michael Wolaver’s Welcome to the 2013 Product Showcase

Paul Rizzo talks about three different product lines in his video:

  1. Pentel Energel pen
  2. Evo Drinkware – where you can brand the outer shell AND inside, or allow your customer to personalize the inside. Paul even talks about some cool imprint ideas using dry erase markers.
  3. Rainkist MVP Folding Golf Umbrella –

Another popular drinkware item at this year’s showcase were the infusers: a 20 oz acrylic double wall tumbler with fruit infuser. It includes a threaded lid and matching straw and can be used for either hot or cold beverages.  Wouldn’t this be perfect for a strawberry lemonade on a hot day?!

 

20 oz infuser tumbler

Stay tuned for more product highlights including: Bobble water bottle, neo retro trend messenger bag, multi-purpose car charger, iPad accessories, new performance shirts, Nike Golf polo shirts, coaster stones, and MORE!

Highlights from the 2013 Magellan Product Showcase

We recently held our sixth annual Magellan Product Showcase on Tuesday, April 16th at Dave & Buster’s in Wauwatosa.  A wonderful group of our favorite people – who also happen to be our customers – had a chance to interact with the Magellan Promotions team and six industry leading suppliers to learn about the latest trends and new products for 2013.  We shared ideas to help support promotional marketing projects over a fun and relaxing lunch time event.

For more pictures, visit our Google+ photo album or “like us” on Facebook.

Check out our Video of Highlights.

Click here for Video Highlights

From event tents, tablecloths, and small giveaways, to eco-friendly drinkware, tablet holders, and moisture-wicking perforance polo shirts, we featured THOUSANDS of products at this event! Technology items: holders, chargers, USB drives, laptop sleeves and other electronics seemed to generate a lot of interest this year.  Customers also enjoyed checking out options for shirts, bags, coolers, water bottles, mugs, coasters, pens, and natural products.  We were asked about cow bells, leather wine bottle holders, and wine aerators.  Our answer was, “Yes! We can help you with that.”

Each attendee received the following free samples:

Stay tuned for more videos and featured products from participating suppliers. Thank you to everyone who attended! We look forward to seeing you at next year’s event!