OPINION: The Power of Promotional Products – Trip to the Dark Side

Promotional Products Blog

In the advertising specialties business we talk a lot about the influence and power of promotional products. We have lots of data supporting the fact that people really like getting free stuff. Not only do they like the promotional beads, buttons, bags and pens they receive – they place high value on them. According to a recent ASI Advertising Specialties Impressions Study reported that people use them regularly (81% considered them useful) and keep them for a very long time. More than 75% kept their promotional products for more than six months. This is destined to make brands very happy because they are getting all sorts of incremental impressions long after the campaign is over.

For example, IMC did this crazy student section wig for a stadium sponsor and it is still showing up on game day three years later. I can open up my kitchen cabinet and pick out 3-4 mugs, koosies, and other assorted drinkware that is at least that old or older myself. All collected by the way, before I came into this industry. The new stuff lives in my office. Don’t even ask about the closet of promotional tees, golf shirts, and jackets my family has collected over the years.

But what happens when the free stuff runs out?

Or someone gets passed over because of an unintentional error? I used to think that while disappointed, folks would just say “oh well” and move on or contact the company to see if they might have an extra lying around the office. That was until the day before yesterday. I read a post that blew my mind.

Apparently someone got passed over for the free stuff and got really upset. They got so upset they threatened an officer of the company with blackmail. The weapon a choice – a blog. Apparently the pen is still considered mightier than the sword. But blackmail? Seriously? Over a promotional giveaway item? Apparently the value propositon is greater than studies have led us to believe.

I would like to believe that this reaction was an isolated incident, although I cannot provide you with any statistical data to support that theory. The blogger in me is disgusted that someone would use the space in that way. The self-interested marketer in me hopes that it will give brands pause and they will order more robustly in the future. The realist in me knows this is wishful thinking.

Thanks to George Smith Jr. for the most unlikely blog fodder I have come across related to the promotional marketingLink to the “blackmail” post http://bit.ly/IUWmP

The study used for this post is a great tool to illustrate consumer behavior and interaction with promotional productsand the ROI potential. Released at the ASI Power Summit November 10, 2008, the “Advertising Specialties Impressions Study” is made available through the Advertising Specialties Institute (ASI) at http://www.asicentral.com

 Submitted by Linda Whitteaker-Hanson


2009 IMC Big Stone Mini Golf Classic

IMC held it’s annual mini golf tournament at Big Stone Mini Golf again this year. A good time was has by all! Check out one of Minnesota’s (and perhaps the country’s) most unusual mini golf course and Team IMC overcoming bizzare obstacles like the pumpkin patch and the dreaded Titanic holes.

Check out some video clips from the event!

 Shotgun Start


 One of the more challenging holes on the course . . .


A new perspective on boating . . .

It takes a professional . . .

Blog Author: Linda Whitteaker-Hanson (aka imcmarketer)