IMC Trend Report: From Pop Culture to Promotional Products

You don’t need to be a professional trend spotter to notice when a pop culture phenomenon has taken hold of the public’s attention. Rather than watching the craze from afar, savvy marketers become active participants in these phenomena.

Infusing your logo into a pop culture powerhouse is like an instant facelift for the brand. What brand can’t benefit from a jolt of on-trend freshness?

It’s a marketing no-brainer: When the market experiences a hot new pop culture trend, the public’s demand for the product has already been demonstrated. All a company has to do is introduce a well-conceived promotional product at the right time, through the right avenues and aimed at the right customers.

83% of people in the U.S indicated they can identify the advertiser on a promotional product they own, and 41% say their opinon of an advertiser is more favorable after receiving a promotional product.

Translating popular trends into unique advertising specialties is far from a new idea. Pop culture products have been successfully permeating the promotional marketing space for decades, and the industry’s getting better at it with every new craze.

Here are just a few examples of items with pop culture presence and promotional power:

1997 – Beanie Babies

1999Mardi Gras Beads

2009Molded Silicone Bandz

2011Ionic Sports Accessories

The best pop culture/promotional product crossovers don’t just grab attention; they make an indelible impression. When it comes to consumer recall rate, research shows that promotional products tower over TV, print and online advertising.

Promotional products generate a 15-50% higher consumer recall rate than TV, print and online advertising.

The key to success lies in recognizing an up-and-coming trend and knowing how to infuse your brand to maximize potential and resonate with the public. Find a skilled partner who has been through the process before and knows how to capitalize on a trend.

Why shouldn’t your brand be part of the next big trend?


[i] Visnevsky, Jennifer “Promo Products Rule ROI” Advantages February, 2011 [http://advantages-digital.com/publication/?i=58573&p=109]

[ii] PPAI research via http://www.ppai.org/research and http://www.youtube.com/user/PPAIHeadquarters#p/u/29/8yjZF0d1Wny


The High Cost of Low Price Promotional Products

If there’s a more ubiquitous buzzword than branding, we don’t know it. There’s a good reason for this: Customers know you through your promotional products.

Visibility is a key component of a brand. But what about when a brand is being represented on the glasses at a bar in Austin, or the backpacks at a baseball game in Boston? Brand integrity hinges not just on exposure, but also on quality and consistency.

You can’t be everywhere your brand is, nor should you be. What can you do? You can take steps to ensure that your company’s brand integrity is both protected and enhanced by each impression from Boston to Austin — and everywhere in between.

Simply put, best price does not always equate to best choice. Here are some drawbacks of cut-rate deals when it comes to promotional products:

Quality Issues

Poor design. Cheap construction. Ineffective placement. Promotional products with any of those drawbacks have less staying power and therefore are less visible. Instead of a positive impression, you may create a negative impression, and those have notorious staying power.

On the production side, cut-rate equates to materials substitution, assembly shortcuts, and production delays. Profitability is a concern for everyone – including the factories. Increases in materials and labor continue to drive up cost and negatively impact margin. Something has to give in the equation. Quality at some level is sacrificed.

Production Issues

The reality is that manufacturing is based on a repeatable process. Substitution or short-cuts outside of the normal process can create a variety of issues. These include things like skipping quality control steps, use of untried and proven materials or delays and errors in retraining the line.

The road to hell is paved with the best of intentions. This old adage proves itself true when it comes to cutting price to the bone. Attempting to get a “deal” can lead to the worst of outcomes when price is king. Watch your assets. Protect yourself and your brand’s bottom-line. In the end, if your brand is represented on an inferior product, it doesn’t matter if you scored a cheap deal. You will end up holding the bill for damages which is far greater than what you may have saved up front.


Vector Art: What the heck is it and why does everyone ask for it?

This just in: Size does matter. How many times have you tried to “blow up” an image file, only to find that the end result is grainy and blurry?



It’s a problem that has plagued the marketing and promotional industry for ages. If you suffer from BIS (Blurry Image Syndrome), it’s high time you met vector. With vector art, you never have to decide between the ideal size of an image and the ideal clarity of the image.

Why can vector offer the best of both worlds? First, you have to understand why vector is different. Standard image compositions are composed using pixels. When a pixilated image is expanded, the individual pixels become more visually prominent. The result? Blurry images and frustrated customers.



Vector art, on the other hand, is composed of continuous lines and shapes. It’s made using mathematical equations – but don’t worry, you don’t need to be a math whiz to see the clear difference.

Vector images remain sharp and clear regardless of the image scale. This means that one image file can be incredibly flexible in its application, from beverage holders to billboards.

A vector image is different right down to its core. That’s why you cannot simply convert a non-vector image into vector. So when you’re counting on your logo to look its best regardless of size, start with a vector image file. Once you’re armed with vector, size no longer matters.


Famous Groundhog Reports Spring Early – Late Mardi Gras

Famous Groundhogs concur that 2011 will see an early spring but a later than usual Mardi Gras Season.

Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday falls on March 8th of 2011. In the United States we see Mardi Gras celebrated with lots of colorful beads – thrown from fantastical floats by costumed revellers.

One Groundhog (who asked to remain anonymous,) seen flaunting his throw beads was quoted saying ” Laissez les bons temps rouler!”  Let the good times roll . . .