Stand Out as Students Step Forward

High school graduation is an exciting time. This milestone in life is filled with recognition, celebrations, and photos with friends and family. And in addition to celebrating the past four years, there is usually a lot of discussion about the years that lie ahead, as many of these students will begin an exciting new phase in their lives, college.

But a lot can happen during this three-month transition and some students never show up to the college they planned on attending. While there are many reasons for this summer “melt”, the fact is that the excitement and enthusiasm can wane from June to September.

The Challenge: Maintaining Excitement with Deposited Students

In order to sustain the excitement of starting this new chapter, colleges are finding ways to become part of the high school graduation experience. In addition to making incoming students feel welcomed, giving promotional products to graduating seniors provides a mechanism to express both confidence and pride in their college selection. It also helps integrate the college into the high school graduation celebration in a memorable, fun and highly visible experience.

“This initiative helped reinforce students’ decisions to attend NDSU and provide energy and visibility for NDSU.”

Meredith Sherlin, North Dakota State University

Providing collegiate products to integrate into the high school graduations also helps colleges increase their brand exposure through social media activity. The social media aspect is what caught the attention of Gus DiStefano, Executive Director of Admissions at University of the Sciences, and was one of the reasons they used the welcome packs for their incoming 2018 class, and plan to use them moving forward.

To promote social media activity, students were encouraged to decorate their caps and post hashtagged photos, allowing them to extend their celebration and pride to family and friends.

In addition to online activity, the products proved to be great conversation starters for high school seniors and their peers. As they think about their future, high school students face a wide range of education and career choices, and peer influence plays a big part in their decision making. A single student choosing to attend a particular college can influence how others view it. By letting your incoming students showcase their school of choice, they build awareness and sentiment for your brand.

Smart Design for a Smart Generation

One popular product that colleges send to students is the Tassel Topper. The Tassel Topper attaches to the mortar board with velcro on three corners. The adhesive used is safe and will not mar the cap. This design allows the tassel to be moved from right to left during the graduation ceremony.

Even though some high schools don’t allow students to decorate their caps for graduation ceremonies, the Tassel Topper remains a viable option. The Tassel Topper can be attached for family photos prior to graduation, easily removed for the formal ceremony, and reattached or displayed afterward.

Looking Good While Looking Forward

The Tassel Topper is a cost-effective way to differentiate your college with your incoming students and build excitement, reduce summer melt, and increase social media and peer awareness with high school students and their families.

“We wanted to send a gift to committed students, but not one that everyone else was doing. Working with Magellan (Promotions) was an easy process and the quality of product was high. We are very happy with it and will do this again.”

Rory Dew, University of the Incarnate Word

Magellan Promotions provides a number of different options and mailing solutions to send to students. If you’re ready to find ways to connect with incoming students during their high school graduation, let us know.

Show-Stopping Promotional Marketing Ideas

A trade show is an opportunity to connect with an audience in a fun and exciting way. Handing out a promotional item is a way to make your company memorable both during AND after the show.

A show-stopping promotional item can:

  • Create enticing pre-show promotion by advertising your booth activities and swag
  • Help drive traffic to your booth at the show
  • Serve as a reminder of the experience with your company after the show ends
  • Promote word of mouth marketing, whenever anyone sees your swag
  • Increase brand recall and recognition to support your business

For these reasons and many more, a trade show is one of the top uses for promotional products. You’ll find some swag at EVERY booth.

This certainly was the case when Michael attended the Milwaukee BizTimes Expo last week.  In walking the show floor, Michael spotted our clients using the promotional items that we helped create.  Here are a few highlights in what he saw:

Promotional Marketing for UWM at BizTimes Expo

The Airplane Stress Toy promotes the UWM Masters in Management program through the School of Business. The literature includes the tagline, “Your future is about to take off.” This has been a very successful campaign!

Promotional Products at work at BizTimes Expo 2014

There were a wide range of products at every table, though pens remained a staple item throughout the show. MSOE also used tire pressure gauges; Innovative Signs used bottle openers and combination pen/highlighters. Mount Mary had a lot of interest in their branded coffee packets as something that is both unique and appreciated. We also love how striking their pennants turned out.

Cultivate Communications Brain Stress Toy

Here is a close-up of the bright orange brain stress toy that our client Cultivate Communications used. Since they are a creative marketing agency, the brain is a fun and engaging way to help tell their story.

Miss Southern Wisconsin and Michael

Miss Southern Wisconsin, Tyra McFarland, spotted Michael’s logo’ed polo shirt, and said, “Hey I work with you.” She was right (and another great reason to have company apparel)! Account Manager Paige Wagner worked with Tyra on creating frisbees to promote the UW-Milwaukee Student Startup Challenge.

UWM Student Startup Challenge Frisbee

Artwork for the UWM Student Startup Challenge Frisbee for our client, Tyra McFarland, also Miss Southern Wisconsin.

What are your favorite show-stopping promotional items? We’ve also heard about sending teasers pre-show to drive booth traffic, such as sending ½ of a pen and then handing out the other ½ at the booth. In addition, we like the idea of holding a drawing for a higher value promotional item, and having higher-value items for VIP’s (or hot prospects) who stop by your booth. There are so many ways to effectively integrate promotional items into your events!

For more event ideas, see our blog posts:

How to Guide: Integrating Promotional Products into College Events

Much More than Tchotchkes

For help discovering the right promotional idea for your events, please contact us.


Ripon College Class of 2017 Water Bottle Photo Contest

After researching, presenting, and helping our clients select the best promotional items for their projects, we really enjoy receiving feedback on the item and the results of our client’s overall program.  It is truly rewarding to know that we have played a part in an organization’s efforts to meet their goals.  This positive feedback is what makes our jobs fun and exciting each and every day!

Side view of Ripon College water bottle with mascotSide view of Ripon College water bottle

When we reconnected with our friends at Ripon College, we were thrilled to hear about their Class of 2017 Water Bottle Photo Contest program.  This was the first time they incorporated promotional items in their strategy to encourage newly admitted and deposited students to interact with the Class of 2017 Facebook page.  They mailed students a stainless steel water bottle packaged in a red mailing tube, so it would definitely stand out.

This contest was successful in creating engagement with the new class, leading to new interactions and conversations in the social media space.

water bottle mailing tube


Want to learn more about the contest and featured water bottle?  Click on our link below to read our case study:

Ripon College Class of 2017 Water Bottle Photo Contest


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!

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: 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!