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.



Campus Visit Essential: Mini Map

Having good directions and a reliable map are important for any road trip! When you arrive at your destination, you often rely on local city maps. This also holds true for successfully navigating a college campus. A campus map is essential to help guide visitors around your school and local area.

One of the best map options we’ve found is the Mini Map. Credit card-sized when closed, the TripBuilder MiniMaps open to reveal a fold-out map and your promotional message – both sides are fully customizable and full color, leaving a large space for your own unique design and messaging.

Some design options include:

  1. Side one: campus map, event listing, key information / websites,Side two: city map with places to eat (see UNLV sample below)
  2. Side one: campus map, Side two: credit union / ATM locator (see University of Texas sample below), include advertisements from area businesses
  3. Side one: campus map, Side two: points of interest, including directions and parking options

These design options are just the beginning.  You have complete control over the design and layout of both sides of the Minimap.

MiniMap Samples

In the UNLV sample below, it features one side that lists great places to eat. Space on either side could also feature local business advertisements, as a way to recover some – if not all – of the production cost. These maps are a wonderful way to highlight points of interest, important events, key websites, and information for your college and city.

MiniMaps by TripBuilder


Here’s one example from UNLV:

[su_custom_gallery source=”media: 1837,1833,1832″ width=”180″ height=”180″ title=”never”]

Another example from University Federal Credit Union located at the University of Texas – Austin.

[su_custom_gallery source=”media: 1834,1836,1835″ width=”180″ height=”180″ title=”never”]

Let us know what you think of the MiniMap product. Did you know? Maps can also be imprinted on tote bags! Stay tuned for more map options in future blogs posts.

Do you need help navigating map options or brainstorming promotional marketing ideas? Contact us today! We’re here to help!

Five Ways to be Green at Work

At Magellan Promotions, we strongly believe in being stewards of the environment.  The responsibility of caring for our planet can easily be transferred to our own office environment.

In honor of Earth Day, we wanted to share a few ways to be eco-friendly at work.

1. Monitor and buy energy efficient equipment – The electricity that powers our office is from 100% renewable energy!  We also use compact fluorescent lights.

2. Bring your own cup – Bringing your own cup, coffee mug, or water bottle with you daily can have a BIG environmental impact when you consider how many paper, plastic, and Styrofoam cups or bottles are tossed every day! Billions of drink containers are disposed annually MINUS THIS ONE! Be part of the solution.We designed this logo to help promote bringing your own beverage container.  Many of our clients have placed their brand on one side of the mug and our custom-designed minus one logo on the opposite side. This is powerful promotion – especially when you consider how frequently you use your favorite mug.

Two environmentally friendly drinkware products that we love are the Eco-Pint glass – made from bamboo fiber and the Coffee Cup Insulator for days when you somehow forget your travel mug! At a recent trip to the coffee shop, I was even asked if I needed a java jacket. I did at the time, though it would be very convenient to simply leave your own coffee cup insulator in your car or work bag.

3. Think before printing and RECYCLE!  – I have often seen “Think before you print this page” in email signatures, and it really does make me pause to consider if I really need a hard copy.  In many cases, the answer is NO.  You can also use printed paper that is no longer needed as scrap paper.  When its use is completely exhausted, be sure to dispose of it in the proper recycling containers.

4. Reduce your carbon footprint – consider carpooling, using public transportation, riding a bike or walking to work.  Our office is conveniently located to give our employees several “green” commuting options.

5. Buy Eco-friendly – MANY products available are now produced using environmentally friendly processes.  This trend has also reached the promotional products industry with more and more products being made with eco-friendly materials including recycled, biodegradable, bamboo or organic material.  Check out almost 200 eco-friendly products including eco-friendly pens on our online catalog.  Buying eco-friendly promotional products can help align your marketing efforts with your brand and corporate identity.  With customers becoming more eco-conscious, this may be a trend to consider following for your upcoming efforts.

How often do you bring your own beverage container?  How are you being green at work or home on Earth Day this year?

The Yowie: Where School Spirit and Fashion Meet!

Rally Towel Examples

Since the dawn of time (maybe just since the 80’s), rally towels have been used on college campuses as an effective way to show campus pride.  One downside with rally towels is that they tend to be a one-time use item that might be tossed aside and forgotten.  That’s where the Yowie comes in.

Think of the Yowie as the rally towel for the 21st century.  The Yowie is equal parts headband, facemask, bandanna, scarf, wristband, rally towel, scrunchie….you get the point.  It’s a fun and innovative way to spread pride and spirit on your college campus.  Not only is the Yowie multi-purpose, it’s also multi-use! Unlike the traditional rally towel, the Yowie can be used time and time again at a sporting event or even just around campus – and it won’t get tossed aside after the event is over.

The Yowie comes in one standard size, and can be custom imprinted in a “step and repeat” fashion with your college’s artwork or logo.  The Yowie is easily distributable, coming in a cello pack which features handy-dandy instructions on all the different ways to wear it.  So whether you plan on throwing it out to students or just handing it out – the Yowie can meet your needs!  If you are looking for a fun, easy and popular way to promote your college and show school spirit, the Yowie is exactly what you’re looking for.

Pricing for the Yowie varies, and goes as low as 99 cents!


The Vornado Water Bottle

Water bottles make great promotional products. With everyone going Green nowadays, water bottles are the perfect gift for giveaways because they are reusable, eco-friendly, and just plain handy to have. There are thousands upon thousands of different water bottles out there to choose from, so we asked our staff what water bottle they thought was best.

The 32oz Vornado Tritan was hands down one of our favorite picks!

clear royal pink orange green

The Vorando water bottle is great for many reasons. It has a sleek and modern shape that is both aesthetically pleasing as well as practical. The water bottle easily fits in the cup holder of a car, the water bottle holder on a bicycle, or can be thrown into a gym bag without hesitation. The screw on lid fits tightly and securely, which reduces the likelihood any unwated leakage.

The Vornado is 100% BPA free and is made from new Tritan copolyester (the same material that Nalgene’s are made of!). They are available in nine fun colors: apple, aqua, blue, clear, fuchsia, graphite, purple, red, and tangerine. This water bottle also boasts a large imprint area that will showcase any artwork as a bold statement.

Our Account Manager, Jackie Marcello, is a huge fan of the Vornado Tritan water bottle! She loves its modern look and talks about how people often comment on its design when they see it. Check out what she has to say in our Products We Love Video Showcase!

For more information about this product or to request a sample contact us at 414-831-0184 or by email.

Back To School!

It is a well known fact that college students love anything that is free (and we mean love!). Students will flock to basically any event that offers them a chance to either eat free food or get free stuff.  And the back to school season is one of the prime times in which they go out hunting for these items.  Thus, their innate love of free things is the perfect way for you to promote your school, department, club, etc.!

Although there are thousands of different products on our website that would be great for any giveaway, we have compiled a list of five fun, useful, and inexpensive promotional products that college students are sure to love for this back to school season.

1. The Frisbee

Red and Blue Star FrisbeeBecause the back to school season starts late August/early September for most schools, the weather is still warm and enjoyable for outside activities. Frisbee’s are a great item that students will love to use outside during the rest of the fall months!  The Ultimate Flyer frisbee starts at only $0.93 and is a professional style flyer that weighs 117 grams. It is perfect to toss around at a beach, park, or even in your backyard!

2. Lip Balm

Chilis and FedEx Branded Lip Balm Samples

Lip balm is great for the active student on-the-go. Starting at only $0.77, the SPF 15 lip balm in a clear tube has a  2 5/8″ x 5/8″ diameter and is a handy accessory that will protect you from getting sunburnt lips!

3. Sunglasses

Sunglass Color Samples

As we have mentioned in a previous blog, the throwback shades are back! And they are perfect for the back to school season! Sunglasses are the ultimate college student accessory. Available in a variety of different funky colors and starting at $0.99, you cannot go wrong with these shades.

4. The Water Bottle

Dietary Services Water Bottle Sample

Everyone needs to stay hydrated, but not all college kids are willing to go out and buy themselves a nice water bottle.  The 28 ounce transparent water bottle is great for students and is molded from a food-safe, BPA free material. This product starts at only $1.40 and custom colors are available!

5. T-shirts

Model in Ash Grey TshirtAlthough t-shirts are a very common and obvious promotional gift, we are reccomending them because they are just so popular with college students! Kids just love any type of free clothing. The Gliden Ultra Blend t-shirt is a 50/50 cotton/poly blend and is available in a wide variety of colors. Sizes range from S-3XL.

To learn more about this product call 414.831.0184 or contact us via email.

Please feel free to contact us with any further questions or inquires about the products listed on this blog.

Top Five Bookbags For Under Five Dollars

Summer is nearly half over and the school year is approaching quickly!  With the influx of incoming freshman and all of the returning students on the horizon, we know that bookbags are a hot go-to promotional item right now. Not only are bookbags perfect to give to your school’s incoming freshman, they also make a great welcome back gift for a department’s returning students,  as well as a fun, yet practical gift for all of those hard working Teaching Assistants.  But with all of the different types, styles and brands of bookbags out there, how do you choose which bag is best?

Well, we have the solution.

We have selected the top five bookbags, for under five dollars.  So whether you are looking for those handy little drawstring backpacks, the stylish sling bags, or those functional messenger bags with lots of pockets, we have the best styles and deals for you to choose from.

The Small Hit Sports Pack

Exposed Salon Sample Sports Pack

A typical, yet durable drawstring backpack, perfect for all of those incoming freshman.  Made of 210 denier nylon, this backpack is a small, but functional.  Available in a wide range of colors and starts at only $1.23.

To learn more about this product call 414.831.0184 contact us via email.

The Poncho Cinchpack Kit

Reid Park Zoo Poncho Cinchpack

This bag is not your typical, run-of-the-mill drawstring backpack! The Ponch Cinchpack is made of non-woven material and offers a large front pocket with a Velcro closure, as well as a handy key loop on top, and mesh siding. The bag also includes a bonus rain poncho, tucked away in a pocket on its back panel! Available in different colors and starts at $3.98.

To learn more about this product call 414.831.0184 contact us via email.

The Wave Mono Pack

Young Womens Alliance Wave Mono Pack

A great sling pack for everyday use! Comes equipped with two zippered compartments, an adjustable shoulder strap, pen loop on the front side of the bag, and a mesh water bottle pocket on the side. Made of 300d polyester and is 11.5”x16”x5”. The Monopack is available in different colors and starts at $4.07.

To learn more about this product call 414.831.0184 contact us via email.

The Accent Messenger Bag

Sample Accent Messenger Bag

Starting at only $2.55, this multi-purpose bag is great for those dedicated teaching assistants or graduate students. Made of durable non-woven material and available in different colors, this bag features a large main compartment (big enough for a 14” laptop), a multi-function organizer, and a mesh water bottle pocket on front.

To learn more about this product call 414.831.0184 contact us via email.

Attune Messenger Bag II

C-Span Radio Attune Messenger Bag

A sporty yet professional messenger bag. This more spacious bag comes equipped with both an adjustable shoulder strap and a top grab handle. Made of plastic materials and has an interior multi-function organizer with a front flap velcro closure. Available in different colors and starts at $4.47.

To learn more about this product call 414.831.0184 contact us via email.

Please feel free to contact us with any further questions and inquiries about the products listed in this blog.