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Top Promotional Products of 2018

The Magellan Promotions team saw a lot of new products at the 2018 Promotional Products Association International Expo. After venturing through more than 1,200 booths and trying out all of our samples, the best of the best made our list of favorites for this year. Read on to learn more about these great products. 

Spark Tumbler

What it is:

The Spark Tumbler is a 12-ounce, double-walled, stainless steel coffee tumbler with a trendy powder-coated finish that ensures your coffee will stay warm.  

Key Feature:

Unique size and look.

Why we love it:

We love the small size! This tumbler fits under the popular Keurig brand of brewers without having to move any filters and its double-walled insulation ensures that coffee stays warm for up to eight hours. If you’re looking to give away something that’s a little more unique than a ceramic mug, and will also reduce spillage because of its lid, this is a fantastic option!

See the Spark Tumbler on our website

Braided 3-in1 Mobile Phone Charger

What it is:

This 3-in-1 charger features micro USB, Lightning, and USB-C connectors with protective covers and a braided cord. These three cords can charge mobile phones, tablets, video game controllers, laptops, and more. 

Key Feature:

Low price. 

Why we love it:

Because this conversation never happens if this product is around.

“Hey, do you have a phone charger I can borrow?”

“Sure, here you go.”

“Oh, I can’t use this kind. Do you happen to have an iPhone charger?”

“Nope, sorry. I only have stuff for Android.”

Starting as low as $3.50, this item is less expensive than other multi-chargers in the promotional product industry. One of the reasons it comes in at that price point is because the Lightning charger only charges iPhones and iPads, but doesn’t sync with your computer. That makes this charger perfect for when you’re on the go.

See the Braided 3-in-1 Mobile Phone Charger on our website

Parkside Smart Pack

What it is:

The Parkside Smart Pack is a fashion-forward backpack that allows you to get fun and creative with your ideas because it features two imprint areas, one of which is full color.

Key Feature:

No minimum orders.

Why we love it:

There are tons of unique ways to use this pack because of the customization options and the no minimum order requirement. 

Here are two creative ways that we like:

1. This bag could serve as a unique recognition award. Let the recipient proudly show off their accomplishment (and your branding) when they take the Parkside Smart Pack with them in public.

2. Whether your office has two or 200 people in it, we think that this bag make would make a perfect gift for staff members.

See the Parkside Smart Pack on our website.

Juice Box Zinc Wireless Power Bank

What it is:

Power banks have been popular in the promotional product industry for a while, but have always needed a cord. Now that Apple has joined Samsung in featuring wireless charging, it’s become the de facto industry standard. This power bank has followed suit in cutting the cord and letting phone owners charge their phone by simply resting their phone on top of it. 

Key Feature:

No-cord charging with a USB backup.

Why we love it:

We live in a world where everyone is attached to their phone and new apps and features drain batteries faster than ever before. The constant battery drain is actually starting to have some major societal ramifications. No, seriously. Nine out of 10 people panic about their battery life dipping low and 32 percent of people will literally drop whatever they’re doing to try and find a charge. We love this wireless power bank because it takes away the panic that 90 percent of society has and does so in an incredibly simple way. All you have to do is just set your phone on top of it and feel the stress and anxiety evaporate. 

It’s highly unlikely that people already have a product like this, so show you’re ahead of the curve by giving this power bank out!

See the Juice Box Zinc Wireless Power Bank on our website

Spectraflex Luggage Tag

What it is:

The Spectraflex Luggage Tag is a flexible, colorful, and durable 3-D luggage tag that is custom molded to your design.

Key Feature:

Custom die cut and PVC plastic.

Why we love it:

The Sprectraflex Luggage Tag is a unique option that will still look sharp after taking a beating in car trunks, luggage bins, and bag carousels. The custom die cut allows you to cut the tag into the shape of your company or school’s logo and reproduce even the smallest of details.

See the Spectraflex Luggage Tag on our website

Soft Fit Solid Active Wear Cap

What it is:

This performance cap features UV protection and moisture-wicking technology, but still retains a fashionable look.

Key Feature:

Performance material that doesn’t sacrifice style.

Why we love it:

Simply put, this performance cap just feels better. Unlike other performance caps that “slouch” on your head, this one has some structure to it, but remains incredibly comfortable. The cap is also stylish enough (as evidenced by it embracing the heather trendthat it can be worn in a casual setting as well

See the Soft Fit Solid Active Wear Cap on our website

Cut Maps

What it is:

Cut Maps are laser cut aerial maps of specific areas. They have stock city-specific options, but their custom process allows for a map of any area that you can bring up on Google Maps. Not only can you put the map into a frame (pictured), but they also make great ornaments.

Key Feature:

Google Maps customization. 

Why we love it:

Alumni offices are always on the lookout for gifts that can tug on the heartstrings a little and a Cut Map does just that. People spend four (or more) of their most formative years on a college campus and during those years campus becomes home. Remind your alumni of “home” with a gift that they’ve never seen before.

Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about Cut Maps.

Tumbling Tower Game

What it is:

The Tumbling Tower Game is the promotional version of of the classic family game Jenga. Players remove blocks one at a time until the tower tumbles. 

Key Feature:

Every single block can be imprinted on for no extra cost. 

Why we love it:

It’s fun! But aside from the personal enjoyment we got from it, we absolutely love the plethora of decoration options. Just imagine how creative you can get with every block. You can share your company message, core values, corporate mission, branding, and anything else you can think of. Plus, who doesn’t love receiving a fun game that you can play with your friends and family?

See the Tumbling Tower Game on our website

Knotty Tie Co. Ties and Scarves

What it is:

Knotty Tie Co. makes eco-friendly ties and scarves from recycled material in the United States. The ties and scarves are completely customizable and are sewn to specific cuts. 

Key Feature:

Social mission and eco-friendly products.

Why we love it:

Knotty Tie Co. creates employment opportunities for refugees from war-torn areas of the globe like Syria, Somalia, and Eritrea. This includes jobs like designer, seamstress, and tailor; jobs that the refugees held in their home countries. Another thing they pride themselves on is teaching skills to single mothers while paying them a good wage and giving them ample personal time off.

If you’re looking for a gift that has a powerful message behind it, this is it. You’re not just giving out a tie or a scarf, you’re helping refugees and single mothers earn a living by making outstanding products in the United States.

Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about Knotty Tie products 

Eclaire Illuminated Stylus Pen

What it is:

The Eclaire Illuminated Stylus Pen features a laser-engraved imprint that lights up whenever the stylus is pressed. The pen also features a deeply textured rubber grip and an ergonomic design to ensure comfort when in use. 

Key Feature:

Light-up logo.

Why we love it:

There are tons of ways to have a brand imprinted on a pen, but this laser-engraved light is one of the coolest we’ve seen. The laser-engraved light wouldn’t mean much if the pen wasn’t comfortable and didn’t write well, but this pen does those both exceptionally. 

See the Eclaire Illuminated Stylus Pen on our website

New Era Tri-Blend Fleece Pullover with Cowl Neck

What it is:

The New Era Tri-Blend Fleece Pullover features a trendy cowl neck while also combining style, comfort, and warmth. This cotton/polyester/rayon tri-blend includes longer length cover-stitched seams, 3-panel hood, and a heat transfer label for tag-free comfort.

Key Feature:

Cowl neck.

Why we love it:

New Era recently unveiled its line of promotional apparel and we’re big fans. The cowl neck collar on hoodies is a new style that we haven’t seen before and adds a bit of flair to an already fashionable hoodie. This comfortable hoodie is the perfect “the office is just a bit too cold in winter” apparel option.

See the New Era Tri-Blend Fleece Pullover on our website

Interested in one or more of these products for your 2018 branding plan? Contact your account manager, send us an email, give us a call at 414-831-0184, or fill out our contact form today!

2018 Trends in the Promotional Products Industry

Earlier this month, we attended the 2018 Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) Expo. The PPAI Expo is North America’s largest promotional products trade show and was the perfect place to get a sneak peek at the 2018 trends in promotional products.

Here are four trends that caught our eye at this year’s expo:

Cork

Cork isn’t just for coasters and wine anymore, it’s seemingly everywhere these days and the promotional products industry is no different. There are the products where one would expect it to show up like drink ware, pencil pouches, journals, and pens. However, the sky is really the limit with cork. For instance, check out this tote and this baseball cap!

Heather

Heathering is the process of interweaving yarns of different shades of the same color to produce an alternate color. This creates a distinct, textured look in apparel. While this can be done with any color, gray is by far the most popular color. It’s been extremely popular in apparel for the past couple of years, but it’s now expanding into products like hats and bags. A trend within a trend that we saw at this year’s PPAI Expo was combining a heathered gray base with bright colors on the trim

Wireless Charging

Qi wireless charging has been a feature in Samsung and LG phones for a few years now, but without Apple supporting the feature, wireless chargers hadn’t really caught on in the industry. However, with Apple’s iPhone 8 and X now supporting the feature, wireless chargers have started to become a popular item within the promotional products industry and it shows with the variety of designs.

Powder Coat Finish

A powder coat finish provides a soft matte look and unique texture on drink ware and was everywhere at this year’s PPAI Expo. The finish allows your branding to pop out more because it absorbs light instead of reflecting it like more glossy finishes. Customers love powder coating because it’s a durable finish that shows less wear and tear and can take a beating. It also provides a unique feel that can’t be found in other finishes. 

Want to know how you can capitalize on one, or all, of these trends? Contact your account manager, send us an email, give us a call at 414-831-0184, or fill out our contact form today!

More from PPAI 2018

If you’re interested in what products we loved at the PPAI Expo, check out three blogs for each day of the show:

We’re at the PPAI expo!

The Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) yearly expo begins today in Las Vegas and we’re there! The PPAI Expo is North America’s largest promotional products trade show and features more than 1,200 exhibitors showcasing more than a quarter million products over six miles of show floor. Later this week we’ll report back with what we loved and, more importantly, what we think you’ll love.

Want us to look for something in particular for you? Just let us know! Email an Account Manager, and we’ll keep our eyes peeled while we’re walking the show floor.

While you’re waiting to see what we find this year, check out what we loved last year!

2016 PPAI Expo

2016 PPAI Expo 

ppaishow

The Magellan Promotions team just came back from this year’s annual PPAI Expo!  Michael, Danielle, and Katie came back with a ton of great, innovative, and unique ideas for our clients and we look forward to sharing them with you!

The 2016 PPAI Expo kicked off last week with over 11,000 distributors in attendance. This was PPAI’s 14th year hosting at the nearly one million square foot Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. With 1,300 exhibiting companies and over 3,000 booths it’s clear to see why the show now occupies the convention center’s new $66 million 2 hall expansion.

It was a massive show and the team here at Magellan Promotions made it our goal, as it is every year, to see every single booth on the floor  to ensure we had fresh ideas for our clients as 2016 unfolds!

We truly returned with a ton of great, innovative, and unique ideas and trends for our clients this year and we can’t wait to share them with you!

 

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.

2015 Magellan Product Showcase

The 8th Annual Magellan Product Showcase was our BEST event yet! We welcomed a record number of customers and industry partners to our lunchtime event at The Hamilton on Milwaukee’s east side. It was the perfect venue and day to celebrate being in business for ten years with our customers. Everyone enjoyed getting together and checking out new promotional items for their marketing efforts.

Magellan Promotions Staff with 10 year Anniversary Cake

Magellan Staff (Cathy, Elise, Michael, Rachel and Julia) celebrating 10 years at the Magellan Product Showcase.

Ten industry-leading suppliers displayed a wide variety of promotional products. From tech and drinkware, to pens and umbrellas, the event highlighted promotional items for any budget range.  Each attendee received several product samples, which may have included:

  • Kor Vida bottle
  • Charge it Up Power Bank
  • Webkey
  • Mood Magnet
  • Hustle Sports Bag
  • eGrips
  • Consuelo Pen
  • Revolution Umbrella
  • Rope Disc

For links to highlighted products, including the raffle items, please visit our Product Showcase Showroom.  If you have any questions on these products, please let us know.

highlighted promo products

Some of the highlighted products attendees received.

Favorite Products

Based on attendee feedback, several promotional products stood out as guest favorites:

  1. Camelbak water bottles
  2. Infuser water bottles
  3. Web keys
  4. Charging devices
  5. Extended Arm Umbrella

Can you find these products in the pictures below?

wide variety of promo products

So many cool promo products.

Top trends include matte finish on drinkware and pens, growler related items, pet products, technology items, and blender bottles.

Here are a few images taken during the event.

MPS-2015-views-of-guests-and-partners

MPS-2015-views-of-the-crowdMPS-view-of-Michael-speaking-and-guests

Thank you to all attendees and industry partners for making it a fun, memorable event! It is a pleasure to work with such wonderful people. We can’t wait to host another great Product Showcase next year!

 

New Promo Products of 2015 – Photo Highlights

Michael Wolaver and Pat Conley descended upon Las Vegas earlier this month to attend the PPAI Expo.  While we compile and organize a few top 10 lists of new promotional products we love, we wanted to share some photo highlights from their trip.

bright colors, office and kitchen swag

Bright colors, office & kitchen items

From top left:

  • Fun, new shimmer ink imprint on cloth bags.
  • Bright colored trucker hats
  • Reflective safety bands
  • Fluorescent desk accessories
  • Trivet or Growler coaster
  • Collapsible measuring cups
  • Pizza cutter and server
So many drinkware options

So many drinkware options

From top left:

  • Extra large fruit basket infuser
  • Stainless steel and matte black travel mug
  • Snacker – holds a snack on top of your drink
  • Colorful tumblers
  • A way to “spritz” yourself to cool off
  • Growler insulator / cooler
  • Juicer bottle
  • Mugs with flocked imprint
Technology related items

Technology related items

From top left:

  • Tech Tattoos – decals
  • LokSak Waterproof bag for your phone
  • Tablet stand and holder that rotates landscape to letter orietation
  • Full color phone holders
  • Bluetooth headphones
  • Device chargers
  • Elastik phone cases
  • Cell Mate phone wallet and stand
  • Cleaning kit
Team spirit ideas

Team spirit ideas, Pat Conley showing off #1 Hand

From top left:

  • Fun spirit socks
  • Chrome domes large signs
  • Techno Skinz Decals for laptops and other devices
  • Poms with imprinted handle
  • #1 Ultimate Hand

Which pictures and products stand out most? Here was our top new promo products post from 2014.  Stay tuned for the 2015 lists!

Easy to Love – New Promotional Products

Account Managers Paige and Elise recently attended a new product showcase, where they discovered some new and fun promotional items. Here’s what caught their eye:

Color Engraved Titanium Items

These are beautifully designed, durable promotional items. A laser printing process delivers brilliant, shimmering colors on either stock or custom shapes.  Personalization is also available, making this an ideal gift item. All products are USA Made.

Suggested Uses:

  • Handout at events
  • Recognize volunteers
color-titanium-gifts-sample-guitar-and-car

Sample Guitar and Car Titanium Promotional Items

Check out the wide range of items and options!

Color Titanium gifts design samples

More sample Color Titanium Items

Shimmering colors on Titanium Promo Item

Look at the cool, reflective imprint

Full Color Imprint Phone Stand

Although it has a restaurant theme imprint, the options are endless for this full color phone stand.  It is made of a rigid styrene material with a securely attached plastic kickstand that folds flat. Custom shapes are available, so you could really get creative with this item!

Suggested uses:

  •  Students or Alumni
    • Imprint an athletic schedule
    • Imprint a campus mascot or scene from campus
    • Fold down the kickstand to include in a mailing
  • High School Counselors / Referral Sources
    • Imprint important dates, contact information
full color imprint phone stand

Ideal for any desk or table top surface

Collegiate Mascot on Phone Stand

The Cal Mascot looks sharp on this phone stand sample.

Silly Band Type Bracelets

Silly Bands, or Squiggles are perfect for any event that includes children and families.  Six rubber bands come packaged in a poly-bag with a full color marketing card. Kids love collecting and trading these bands!

Choose from six themes or ask about creating your own custom shape.

  • Dinosaurs
  • Music
  • Sports
  • Sea Creatures
  • Transportation
  • Insects
  • Dental
  • Fruit
  • Animals

Suggested uses:

  • State Fair or expo booth promotional item
  • Family-friendly company picnic
  • Customer appreciation event
Silly Bands

Kids will love these silly band shapes.

Cold Weather Ideas

As summer turns to fall, we are all starting to bundle up more. This new Microboa Sherpa Blanket would be an appreciated gift for staying warm and cozy! It includes a carrying bag.  Decorate with your logo to promote your brand.

Suggested uses:

  • Employee Appreciation
  • Gift for speakers at a conference or event
Warm Microboa Sherpa Blanket

Customer will gladly cozy up with this Microboa Sherpa Blanket

From this same partner comes these custom imprinted sweatshirt blankets.  We have run these for collegiate clients, and they were very well received.  The packaging and presentation is especially nice, rolled and wrapped up with a label that includes an image of the blanket’s design.  This means you won’t have recipients immediately unrolling the blanket to see what’s imprinted.  Available in 28 different colors.

sweatshirt blanket rolled and labeled

Attractive presentation means it’s easy to handout or mail these sweatshirt blankets right away!

Custom Shaped Post-it Notes

Last but not least, custom shaped Post-it Notes grabbed Elise’s attention.  Who wouldn’t love a state shaped or mascot shaped note pad?  They are fun and useful promotional items.

fun custom shaped post it notes

Make your own custom shaped Post-it!

Which new items do you love most? Let us know what you think in the comments below, or give us a call for more information at 414-831-0184.

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.