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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!

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!

Back to School Promotional Items – Inspired by REI

I recently received this Back to Campus Survival Guide from REI. While no one in my family is in the target demographic for incoming college freshmen, we are outdoor enthusiasts and supporters of our local Milwaukee REI store.  The marketer in me is attracted by eye-catching direct mail as well, so I eagerly paged through the flyer. Reading through the guide, I could relate to some of the phrases and lifestyle imagery of young, fit co-eds camping, riding bikes, and pulling pranks on campus.  They are certainly speaking to the unforgettable experience of college, targeting the Millenial generation with:

“Tip No. 1. You never know what’s going to happen. Be prepared for the unexpected.” “Tip No. 2. It’s about the memories you make as well as the classes you take.”

Creatively woven with these tips are product listings. On the online flyer, the pictures include tags that when clicked, reveal product details and pricing. It’s very user-friendly, and kind of fun! It even makes ME want to be one of those college students again – if only for a brief while! REI is clearly targeting their marketing to college students.  Given the success of their organization, we will imitate them with a similar promotional product listing that can be custom branded for your school. After all, imitation IS the highest form of flattery, right?! REI Back to School Inspired Promotional Products

“Tip No. 9. Studying outside beats slacking inside. Opt for camp chairs over desk chairs.”

stadium cushion

Stadium Cushion

 

Foldable Outdoor Mat

Foldable 43″ x 54″ Outdoor Mat

Folding Chair with Carrying Bag

Folding Chair with Carrying Bag

 

Malibu Sunglasses

Malibu Sunglasses

Our Tip. Don’t forget to stay hydrated with cool drinkware.

Color changing cup

16 oz. Color Changing Cup

Red Aluminum Water Bottle with College Mascot

Aluminum Water Bottle

The Aluminum Water Bottle is also featured in this Case Study

 “Tip No. 11 Phones end up in odd places Always have protection.

Waterproof media pouch

Waterproof media pouch 6-1/2″ x 4-3/8″

“Tip No. 13 Update your status from anywhere.”

Cord Keeper

Cord Keeper

 

Media Lounger for electronics

Media Lounger

Digi Clean

Digi Clean keeps mobile device screens clean

Digi Clean – our most popular tech product – is also featured in a Case Study.

What do you think of the REI Back to School Survival Guide?  What products on our list do you think students would like the most?  Let us know if you’re interested in learning more about any of these items, or if you need help brainstorming ideas for your promotional marketing needs.

 

Product Highlights: New Technology Items

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

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

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

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

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

Featured technology items include:

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

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

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