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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 trend) that it can be worn in a casual setting as well.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An umbrella makes a great promotional gift because everyone needs one, but who really wants to go out and buy one? You can also never have too many umbrellas – keep one in the car, one at the house, one at the office, and more!
A few weeks ago Peerless Umbrella, our go-to production partner for umbrellas, stopped by our office to tell us about what’s new and trending in umbrellas.
Read on to learn more about our favorite umbrellas!
What’s New – The Rebel
The newest addition to Peerless’ line is the most unique umbrella we’ve ever seen – the Rebel.
We’ve all been in the situation where it’s pouring rain as you’re running to your car, and you have to make a quick decision. Do I try to get my umbrella closed as I’m in the car and risk getting my car wet, or do I just get soaked and close it before I get in? The Rebel is the solution to your problem.
With an inverted design the Rebel closes away from you, keeping you dry as you get into your car or walk into a building.
Click the image to the right to see exactly how it works!
What’s Trending – Unique Use of Color
We all have seen the basic black umbrella or the standard two-tone umbrella, but are you looking for something that can make you stand out from the crowd?
We can help you do that! From a new twist on the two-tone umbrella to a black umbrella with full-color clouds on the interior, we have just what you need to make a unique statement for your brand.
Check out our favorite to the left – the Mojo comes in black or navy blue with accented internal hardware in a variety of colors.
What’s Trending – Full Color
Do you have a logo that’s too unique for a standard single-color print? How about a picture of a new building or location that you want to show off? We’ve got the solution – a full color umbrella!
Pick from folding, fashion or golf for the handle and frame, and an interior or exterior full color print. An added bonus? On some sizes and designs we’re able to print domestically, cutting almost two full months off of production time.
It is sure to make your stand out from the crowd on a rainy day!
For More Information
Would an umbrella be the perfect fit for a project you’re working on, or would you just like more information? Just let us know what you’re looking for, and we can present some options that will be the perfect accent for your next marketing campaign. We’re here to make your brand stand out from the crowd, rain or shine!
While attending the PPAI Expo in Las Vegas, some clear trends emerged after walking through the show floor. One interesting trend in drinkware (as featured in 2015 New Products for Business and photo highlights) was the growler. The increasing popularity of craft breweries and home brewing has helped the growler emerge as a popular vessel for beverages. Many brewpubs and breweries will sell growlers, which is typically a 64 oz container, or howlers, which is a half-growler or 32 ounces. It’s an ideal way to bring home fresh beer!
Recognizing this popularity, the promotional products industry displayed a wide array of insulators, carrying cases, and 32 – 64 ounce beverage containers. Here were a few images of what we saw. Click on the image for a link to product details.
Growler-related promotional items are perfect for brewpubs, breweries, restaurants or bars. Since this is a relatively new product category, customers will certainly appreciate the unique, novel appeal of these items.
Here’s a snapshot of a wide range of drinkware trends we saw this year.
For more information about trends in drinkware or other new for 2015 promotional items, give us a call at 414-831-0184.
Links to product information:
Help students picture their future at your school with creative custom frames.
This is a fun, themed promotional item that can easily be incorporated into campus yield events, direct mail, and additional marketing ideas. The custom frame helps achieve the goal of engaging students in a memorable way with a social media component. We created this custom frame for the University of Wisconsin-Madison and wrote about it in this case study. Here’s our guide for how to use a custom frame at your school.
How to use a Custom Frame – On Campus
This oversize custom is an ideal event-related photo opportunity! Here are a few pointers for using the frame:
- Pick a favorite spot on campus to have custom frames setup during a campus tour, open house, or yield event. Think of a picturesque, iconic spot on campus.
- Assign staff members or current students to have prospective students pose with the frame as part of your event or visit. If staffing is limited, place on a stand to keep it in place.
- Another staff member should take pictures with a Polaroid and / or camera phone.
- Share digital pictures via social media using the hashtag imprinted on the custom frame. Email, tag, or private message students a copy of the picture. If using a Polaroid, pictures can be shared with students on the spot and posted to a bulletin board.
Direct Mail Ideas
Remind students of their on campus experience by mailing a smaller, magnetic frame along with a thank you note. The note can include a generic picture of the magnetic frame displaying a picture taken with the large custom frame on campus, or an actual picture of the student for a more personalized touch.
Direct students to check out pictures of all admitted students on a URL that includes links to your admissions site. Bold, call to actions can promote campus overnight events, invite students to join an incoming class group on social media sites, or instructions on how to secure their place on campus.
For UW-Madison, we created smaller magnetic frames and had them inserted them into envelopes that were imprinted to help streamline mailing of their admitted student packets.
Other Marketing Ideas
“Picture your Future here” themes can easily be integrated into existing marketing. Whether printed or electronic, all communications to students can include custom frame imagery. Emails, posters, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat could feature similar imagery.
Admissions counselors could travel with custom frames to bring to high school visits or events and share pictures via social media.
The custom frame is an ideal product for engaging prospective students, tying in social media, and taking advantage of the #selfie photo sharing trend. To view additional information on the custom frame, visit our admitted student showroom or read our case study.
- Large Custom Frame – 31″ x 42″
- Medium Custom Frame – 23.5″ x 35.25″
- Magnetic Frame for direct mail – 5″ x 7.375
How would you use this campaign on your campus?
As we reflect on the year, we discussed the 5 best promotional products of 2014 with our team. These items were most popular among our clients, personalized and imprinted with their brand for connecting with target audiences. Without further ado, we present the list of trending items for the year:
- Phone Wallet: This phone wallet became one of Michael’s favorite new items early in 2014. He’s used it for several months as his wallet on his iPhone. Our clients agreed with Michael, ordering the phone wallet for promoting their brand. 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.
- Charge it Up Power Bank: On the go chargers have been a big hit in 2014! We recently wrote a case study about how University of Minnesota Student Unions & Activities used the Charge it Up Power Bank as a prize to encourage student involvement. This is part of the ever-popular, fast growing tech category of promotional items, which is a clear winner with tech savvy students, staff, and clients.
- Texting Gloves: As winter is upon us, we have run numerous orders for texting gloves. These are a very useful winter accessory that could be worn daily to brave the cold. What an excellent way to showcase your logo!
- Winter Hats: A warm hat is an essential for cold winters! This is one of our favorite, USA made knit hats because of its retro look with the knit-in lettering. Poms are also a fun, trendy feature.
- Spandex Table Cover: This is a new take on an event and college fair essential. The fitted spandex table cover provides a large canvas for full-color wrap imprinting that is bound to stand out at any show. To view the fitted spandex table cover and additional table cover options, visit our event support showroom.
Which of the 5 promo items did you like best? Let us know if there is any SWAG you’d add to our Best of 2014 list!
Contact us with any questions or for additional promotional product 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:
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:
For help discovering the right promotional idea for your events, please contact us.
We recently held our seventh annual Magellan Product Showcase on Tuesday, April 8th at The Hamilton, located on Milwaukee’s east side. A wonderful group of 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 promotional products for 2014. We shared ideas to help support promotional marketing projects over a fun and relaxing lunch time event.
For more pictures, visit our photo album on Facebook.
From event counters, table throws, and small giveaways, to mason-jar inspired drinkware, tablet holders, and wireless speakers, we featured THOUSANDS of products at this event! Technology items: holders, chargers, USB drives, laptop sleeves and other electronics continue to generate a lot of interest, similar to last year. Customers also enjoyed checking out options for tote bags, apparel, water bottles, mugs, pens, and natural products.
Each attendee received the following free samples:
- Gemline Muse Convention Tote
- The Player Cup
- Ambassador Journal
- Aqua Pearls Hot / Cold Pack
- Stylus Pen
Most Popular Products
The results are in! Our clients voted on their favorite products featured at the Showcase and the top five products were:
1. Bullet Vibration Speaker – Simply place mobile phone on the flat surface and listen as the sound from the internal speaker is amplified. Easy to use. No wireless settings or cables needed.
2. Aqua Pearls Hot / Cold Pack – Reusable pack is both microwave and freezer safe. Available in six fun colors.
3. North End jacket / shirts – modern apparel available in men’s and women’s sizes
4. Isaac Mizrahi Tote / Gemline Tote Bags – trend conscious bags
5. Hat with integrated LED Lights – ideal for runners, the LED lights on the brim enhance visibility.
It was fun learning about what promotional products really stood out for attendees. Please contact us if you have any questions about these items or if you are interested in receiving a sample.
Thank you to everyone who attended the 2014 Magellan Product Showcase! We look forward to seeing you at next year’s event!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
Product: T-shirt made of Recycled Material
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Direct mail is alive and well! We often work on stickers, decals, or clings for our collegiate clients.
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)
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.
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.
Uses: Events, campus tours, mailings
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
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.
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.
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
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.