Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Your sales can "crash through the heavens"

You may recognize the art on the promotion I'm going to be talking about today. I'm a huge fan of this particular Japanese show. It makes me a giant nerd, I know. But because I'm such a fan, I am really drawn to this particular promotion. And with good reason.

You see, this drawstring backpack came with my friend's DVD box set. They folded it just right to fit in the box without ruining the integrity of the embroidered logo. Not a bad gift for buying a DVD. This really simple promotion becomes a value add. Its not just schwag any more, now it's SCHwagg (capital SCH and an extra 'g'). Because when your serving a niche, your fans clamor for branded material with their favorite show, or character on it. This very affordable branded backpack now has immense value. I should know. I don't have this box set yet, but now, I am definitely going to buy it.

The backpack itself is actually very nice. It's got a zippered pocket on the inside for an mp3 player with a small hole on the outside for the headphone jack for easy listening (of the show's soundtrack no doubt). The embroidery is well done, although it's a little off center. That little quirk is not easily noticed. Since the art is subtle enough not to tell the world that I am a giant nerd, this is the type of back pack that is perfect for gym usage, and everyday errands. Well done Bandai, perfect use of a common promotional product.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

NY Jets Score Big With Promotions

I went to the NY Jets football game a couple of weeks ago when they played against the Buffalo Bills. If you saw that game, you know that they won based 100% on luck. I was leaving the stadium thinking that if they constantly relied on luck, they would never win another football game. Just then, I ran into a little bit of luck myself. On the way out of the stadium, they were giving away JETS promotional bracelets.

Not such a bad score, I've got mine hanging on one of my cube walls. If football-watching, beer drinking fanboy ruffians ever decide to wear a bracelet, I think it would be this one.

You can see more pics of the bracelet here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Holiday feedback!

Do you remember the 5th part of my holiday gift series? The one with the leather, personalized portfolio? Well, a friend of mine got a bunch of them monogrammed for her clients. I want to share with you what she shared with me:

Tom, your gift suggestion for our top clients was a real hit! Here is just some of the feedback we got on the personalized padfolios -

“Thank you so much for the lovely gift. It was really thoughtful and generous. And monogrammed? I feel like such a professional!”

“What a sweet present I just found in my mailbox. Thank you so much!!”

“What a wonderful surprise! The leather folio is tres classy and elegant (just like me!). Seriously, I love it because it is beautiful and useful and not fattening.”

“…thank you for the very thoughtful gift. It was a nice surprise.”

And we can't thank you enough for helping us let our clients know just how much they're valued!

Not bad, huh? Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Corona Promotional Follow Up

I was rummaging through my drawer of stuff in preparation for a 1950's high-society whodunnit themed party this weekend. Specifically, I was looking for a monocle as the Pièce de résistance of my costume. I already had the top-hat and the cane.

I came across a promotion that I had received in college some years back. A Bottle Opener from Corona. This time when I looked at it, I could not help but to pick it up and examine it more closely. I swear I've had this thing for years, but I noticed quirks about it this time that I've never seen before.

For one, there was this 'huge', unsightly air bubble in the middle. How strange, the construction seems pretty solid except for this. And two, the piece of metal that has opened many bottle of beer. You know, the only 'working part' of the bottle opener, was set all crooked.

Other than this, I know for a fact that the opener works, I spent the rest of the night testing it out. And it is a pretty cool looking promotion, kudos Corona, I take back all the mean things I said about your promotions in my other post.

You can see more pics of the corona bottle here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Promotional Items Just got Awesomer

I know awesomer isn't a real word, but it should be... Anyway, Tim's Blog just posted some info that relates to my previous post about CPI or Cost Per Impression. Actually, you can find all kinds of nice tidbits of information about promotional Products in these articles. There is one from Adweek, one from B2B online, one from Brandweek, one from Mediaweek, one from Newsday, and one from PROMO magazine.

If you want to view the complete study, you can find it here.

Here is a hint... The answer to my trivia question from the CPI post I mentioned above can easily be found in the above links. ...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Green Promotions (not just Pantone 354)

Lots of people are talking about getting "green" Promotional Products. At United, we offer a slew of recycled promotional items, many re-usable bags and shopping totes, and of course the recycled pen and blotter (you might remember them from our holiday showcase). These are the typical 'green' promotions, and everyone of them is great.

Recently, we were asked to do another 'green' promotion for a large company. This company wanted to get people excited about their green-initiative. Instead of giving a shirt made from recycled and organic materials, we suggested that they encourage their end users to be pro-active about being green too. So now, they've decided to give out something like this:

Why not provide a home for some birds? Create some clean air and help prevent erosion? Along with the promoting the company's green initiative, this uber-green (I just coined that) promotional product encourages the end users to share their enthusiasm about being green with the advertiser.

Keep yours eyes peeled, New York, because in about 10 years, you might be seeing a bunch of Douglas Fir saplings all over the place.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cost Per Impression (Plus Trivia!)

I was fortunate enough this week to have one of my fans come up with a great topic for me to write about. It is based on his own life experience. He likes my blog so much that his daily life is consumed by it! I think the rest of you should be just as devoted!

I'll share his email with you:

"I went to a ski movie premier last night in Portsmouth. corona was
there amongst other vendors giving away free things and like all the
college aged kids, adults were scurrying around snatching up swag. I
was astonished when I returned home and dumped my trickortreat bag out
onto the floor. I got lots of cool ski stuff and was not
disappointed, but take a look at what I found.
(Bottle openers!)
What do you think people will think about corona when they compare
their bottle opener to the thick, snowboard shaped one of
significantly smaller company Putnam Sports. Seriously, it's
ridiculous. I think it's to their advantage that the print on the
corona opener is so small you can't really tell what it says.

Aren't you impressed THAT is what I was thinking when I first saw those?!
Yay UPG!"

He attached this picture.

In this example, my buddy has touched upon a couple of very important factors.

1. Promotional products are just one aspect of a marketing campaign. Putnam Sports knows, and demonstrated this by appealing to winter-sportists with an item shaped like a snowboard.

2. The Cost per impression for promotional products is one of the lowest possible. In other words, if you divide the total cost of something by the number of people who see your name/logo/message, the cost will drop to below 1 cent per impression. But if the item is trumped by a better marketing campaign, you can loose a lot of of impressions. My fan's point was that; with so little effort demonstrated by Corona, it gave him a bad impression of the company.

Here is a Question, answer in the comment section or send me an email and you will be featured on the blog and we will send you a gift!

According to ASI, what is the average cost per impression for Promotional products?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Unique Mascots and the Promotional Opportunities They Present

So, one of my favorite blogs told us all about Japanese Blood donation mascots today. I know I'm going back to Japanese culture, like in my previous post, but I was so inspired by these mascots! I mean, they are so cute and cuddly, and really make me want to donate blood (if that makes any sense)! All that I could think about were the promotional opportunities that these creative creations represent. Here are some of my fave's:

This one's name is Kenketsu-chan, her blood-drop ears grow and shrink depending on how much blood she has or doesn't have. She even has her own website! How sweet would it be getting a promotional key chain of this cute character with red liquid in her ears. I think that is so cool! Not to mention it would bring people back to donate the next time.

And check out Blood-Kun (sounds creepy, but he looks so cute!):

This guy has a backpack full of blood and his hat turns into a flashing red siren in case of "emergency". I think anyone who receives a plushy of this guy with a backpack full of red liquid that sloshed around when you moved him would be encouraged to donate everytime. Not only that, but someone's friends who saw such a promotional product would probably be inspired to donate too.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Andy 'Rusty' K. of Boston Ma. For nailing last weeks question regarding the art on my business card holder.

Due to your extensive pop-culture knowledge, you will be receiving HubDude:

He is one of our friendliest high-quality USB hubs.

Thanks for participating, keep your eyes here for more contests and more prizes!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Card Holders Can Make an Impression

I love receiving promotional products, I mean, doesn't everyone? Not only because it gives me something to write about in my blog, but because when they are effective, I can find a way to fit them into my life. And when they are not effective I get to pick apart the faults and decide how they could have been done better.

I attended a CBS event recently and received a really nice leather business card holder:

You can see that the leather was debossed (just like embossing only backwards so the words or image is below the surface instead of above it) with the CBS logo. What you can not see, is the line of text below it. Debossing leather with type that is too small can clutter the space and make your message hard to read.

I compare it with the business card holder that I use currently:

My card holder is a little smaller, made of tin, and is silk-screened. I tend to prefer it because it is less bulky, lighter, and I'm also a huge fan of the art. We have both kinds of holders, and card holders make a really nice gift.

If anyone can tell me where the art on my case is from, you will get a prize and instantly earn my friendship! Leave a comment!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Apparel for Every Season

Here in NY, the seasons are taking their sweet time to change. The internet tells me that today's high will be 61 F.

I'm not complaining, in fact, the longer it stays warm, the more opportunities I get to play Ultimate Frisbee with the local impromptu pick up team. But this slow change does not mean that you should not be prepared for cooler weather ahead.

One way to prepare; how about thinking about your logo'd hoodies, jackets, and long sleeved T's now instead of after it gets too cold. Depending on the use of your apparel, look into the quality of the piece and make sure that the durability matches the intended use. For exampe; Windbreakers are nice, but may not be appropriate for out door work in heavy elements. Or, if someone is constantly in side and out side, a nice zip up hoodie could be the perfect thing to keep one comfortable in variable conditions.

The intended use of your branded apparel is probably the most important factor in making sure that you get the most bang for your buck and that people will actually wear the pieces, giving your brand the exposure that you desire.

Now that I know the cooler weather is coming, I just might get some branded Long sleeve's for my Disc Golf team.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween from Tommy Hilfiger

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday because I consider candy to be my favorite food group. This year, Tommy Hilfiger is getting into the spirit. Go into any one of Tommy Hilfiger's retail locations today and you will be lucky enough to get a free pair of these spooky Halloween glasses.

Doug and I get the Halloween Spirit

This year, TH asked us to supply them with some funky Halloween give aways for the patrons who drop by on Halloween weekend. Healthier and more unique than candy, parents DO remember when their kid gets some special treatment, and they will love that TH is not adding to the plethora of candy that will be getting eaten until the new year.

If any one snagged a pair of the glasses, send me a pic of you wearing them and we'll post it on the blog!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Have Your Name Come Up In the Clinch

I had the very exquisite pleasure of changing my flat tire on NY's own Grand Central Parkway this morning on my way to work. While I was pulling the spare-tire out of my trunk, all I wanted to find was one of those little plastic safety triangles:

Never ever did I think I would be put in a situation where I would long for one of these simple but effective pillars of safety. I had about 2 feet of working space between my flat tire and the highway. As the cars whizzed by me at 80 mph, all I could think about was that if I had one of those triangles, I would at least feel safer.

Want to associate your company with safety, and be helpful to someone in a clinch? Check out these and these imprintable car safety kits. Most come complete with traingle-of-safety, all will lend peace of mind to the traveler in a bind.

Monday, October 27, 2008

PSDA Show in Baltimore

Just this past weekend a colleague and I went to the PSDA show in Baltimore. A great time was had by all.

Some Highlights:

-The random Japanese printers who I met on Thursday night.

"Doozo yoroshiku." It was nice to meet you guys! I was actually able to use some of the knowledge I gained in the previous post about business cards and culture.

-The Blog idea exchange discussion.

"Hi Everyone!" Thanks for the great ideas and tips!

-Breakfast with colleagues on Friday morning.

-All of the great exhibitors.

I was a sponge the whole weekend, thanks for answering my questions and teaching me so much! I hope to learn even more as I go through all of the information I obtained in the form of brochures and pamphlets.

See you next year, if not sooner!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


This week is WNYC's Fall fund raiser. As is typical with public radio fund raisers, they are offering thank you gifts to encourage listeners to donate. They have Logo'd promotional items ranging from umbrellas to coffee mugs; and don't forget the ever popular eco-tote.

Apparently, my pledge has earned me the Brian Lehrer '30 Issues in 30 Days' tote bag.

The value in this item comes from the logo on the bag more so than the bag itself. When I go to the grocery store, the bag will be an effective talking piece when I meet strangers who also listen to public radio and are environmentally conscious.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Business of cards

We are promotional product guru's here at United. But we have humble beginnings and understand the importance of the things that many take for granted. For example, the business card.

Before the internet, your card, not your website, was your sole representation to your prospective clients when you were not directly face to face with them. People see your card and associate your personality and your business with it. It is unavoidable.

It is because of this that the Japanese have a strict regimen and custom detailing the proper way to exchange business cards with someone. It is not only the Japanese , the presence of instructional videos about how to properly exchange cards tells me that others still recognize the importance of this tiny rectangular piece of paper.

(In Japan, use both hands when exchanging)

Brand integrity is huge. No one wants a sales rep in Cali with a different card than your sales rep in NY. That could mean a fight when they meet at the convention in Baltimore. So here at United, we offer our expertise in retaining your brand integrity, getting the best possible card for your money, and avoiding embarrassing confrontations when someone has seen your logo in 2 different colors or styles.

Call up and ask for a demo and we will show you how our internet business card (and stationery) solution works, and how you can retain even international brand integrity. Excellent customer service? free of charge.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Gifts Part 5/5: The Personalized Portfolio

I will conclude our 5 part gift series with a gift that can be personalized, is very useful, and very tasteful. I use mine all of the time.

Do you know someone who could use some more organization in their life? How about that friend or client of yours who is always forgetting things because they never write anything down? Do you like looking prepared and professional during meetings? Check out these portfolios. The price and style range might actually surprise you. One of my favorite styles is pictured below, it's got a metal clasp that can be laser engraved with the individual's name, and your company's imprint can go on the inside. It is made of stylish leather and is lined with a fuzzy pajama-stile fabric.

One of the best ways to make some one feel special and liked is to give them something that is only for them. A personalized portfolio is not the kind of gift that will sit on a desk, but will be incorporated into the recipients lifestyle.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Gift Showcase Photos! Thanks for Coming!

A huge 'thank you' goes out to those of you who made it to our event. It was a great success and we look forward to doing it again next year!

Check out these great action-shots, courtesy of Henry:

Gift Showcase Photos

Monday, October 6, 2008

United's Gift Event is Tomorrow!

I'm pausing from our 5 part gift series today to remind everyone about our Gift Extravaganza tomorrow! The event is from 4pm until 7pm tomorrow evening (Tues Oct 7) at the Logomark Design Center in marvelous Midtown Manhattan. If you're reading this now and really want to join us (everyone should come!), but have not let us know about your interest, hit the contact link on the right side of the page and give us a call.

Need a good reason to come (other than the drinks, food, raffles, and gifts) how about this; since the event starts at 4, you can use it as an excuse to leave work early!

Can't leave work early? No worries! We'll be rocking and/or rolling until 7 pm so stop by after dinner.

See You There!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Gifts Part 4: The Only Thing Better Than Food, is Free Food

I remember as a kid getting those giant tin things full of popcorn with the three flavors. Do you remember that? The butter and caramel flavor would be gone in a few weeks, but the cheese flavor would last until early March.

The concept is great, people love getting tasty snacks as gifts, and they will even talk about the gift in March as they sit around munching on stale cheese-flavored popcorn and wondering what to do with the giant leftover tins.

We decided that like the idea and want to push it up a notch, so today I'm highlighting our new food gift sets. I think they're gorgeous, not to mention the boxes and baskets are holiday themed and re-usable. Whats inside you ask? I'll tell you about the chocolate truffles and chocolate covered pretzels, but if you want to find out about the rest of the tasty goodies, you might just have to order one to your own office. If you give one as a gift, the food will be gone quickly, but your name will be remembered in that company for a long time.

Harriet just ate a truffle, hence the smile.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gifts Part 3: Washable Keyboards

Today we're going to take a turn back to electronics and computer peripherals. May be because I'm dropping hints to my friends and family about the type of gifts I want to receive this holiday season, or may be because these flexible waterproof keyboards are amazing!

One of my favorite co-workers had a "case of the spills"

or "the dropsies", as it is sometimes known, and had taken out her old keyboard with a nice hot cup of coffee that she was about to enjoy. The keys became sticky and gross, the whole thing was unusable except for the caps-lock key, the very important caps-lock key. It was time for a change, we needed a solution. Dropsies can be incurable so we decided that we had to change her environment.

Enter the waterproof and antimicrobial SEAL FLEX keyboard. Her dropsies persist, but now we can just toss her keyboard into the sink and wash off all of the stickness. With 2 imprintable areas, this is a nice gift for even the clumsiest of clients.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Gifts Part 2: The Size of the Dog on the Flight

If you are like me, you like to have wardrobe options when you travel. It's not that I need to change my clothes every few hours, it's more like I absolutely can't trust any weather man. And I also like to be prepared in case something requires more or less formality than I had thought. Plus, as an Eagle Scout, I had 'be prepared' drilled into me by the Boy Scouts of America so you can imagine the space I need in my suitcase for my "stranded on a deserted tropical island" survival kit.

When I was traveling this weekend, I had to learn the hard way about airline luggage weight limits and how much they can cost. I got slapped with a $50 fee for having too many wardrobe options. If I had this luggage scale, I may have been able to save some dollars. This one also has a tape measure so you can leave the guess work out of choosing the size of your carry-on. With a nice imprintable storage bag, this little baby is perfect for the traveling sales person on your team, or any frequent flier.

Paying $50 does stink when you're not ready for it, but at least I was not as bad as the guy next to me who took his unmentionables out of his suitcase and put them into his carry-on to avoid the fee.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My favorite Gifts Part 1

Today begins what will probably be a five part series about some of my favorite gift items. With our Annual Holiday Showcase coming up, I thought it would be a good idea to talk about the interesting, cool and unique gifts that I have come across.

The first item that I want to talk about is so freaking cool that I get excited every time I see one. Its called a Mogo Mouse and it is a slim mouse for traveling professionals (or traveling gamers) who are tired of using that clumsy laptop touch pad, or that inaccurate (and annoying) little red nipple.

Right now, there are a few different versions available including the presenter mouse which you can use to manage powerpoint slides and comes complete with built-in laser pointer. And there is also the media center version which works with media players including iTunes and has buttons for playing, pausing, changing tracks, and adjusting volume.

Here is the kicker, not only is this mouse convinient for travel, but it's completely wireless! The mouse works on bluetooth technology which means you can change slides in you presentation from about 30 feet away. Not only that, but the mogo mouse stores and charges in your laptop's express card slot. I love this part. This should have happened sooner. A high quality mouse that stores and charges in your laptop, it just makes a ton of sense.

This gift is great for a high end consulting company as a thank you to clients. When your client is on an airplane next to another professional and s/he pulls out their mogo mouse, their neighbor will ask right away about where they got it from. Your imprint will surely make an impact as the professional uses the gift over and over.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Saving the Planet, 1 Bag at at Time

There is talk about saving the environment everywhere. I see ads in the subway, ads on TV, and even articles in newspapers are touting the dangers of us humans interfering with the environment.

One of the issues that I find interesting is that of plastic bags being overused and choking the environment. This has become such a large problem that Ireland has even issued what they call a "PlasTax" where shoppers must pay an extra 15 cents for every plastic bag they use. So far, it has been very successful in cutting down the use of plastic bags and raising funds for the governments' environmental projects.

You might be thinking "I don't wanna pay no Plastax, but I do want to save the environment. What can I do?" Well, some of the more 'green-minded' companies are promoting the use of logo'd Re-Usable Bags. Talk about a great 'green' promotion, not only will the end user see your imprint, but since they are encouraged to use the bags over and over, your imprint will be seen by other shoppers on every grocery-store trip that person makes. Check out our re-usable and eco-friendly bags when you think about your next 'green promotion'

Now it's our turn to walk-the-walk. Here is some interesting info that we can use to make small changes that will make our everyday lives a little greener;

- Idling your car for more than 30 seconds gets you 0 miles per gallon. Which can seriously hurt your MPG average, and your wallet.

-A professional car wash uses 10 times less water than you doing it by hand and hose in your driveway. Which is great seeing that I just learned about a $5 carwash on my commute home.

-Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs use one third of the energy that regular light bulbs do, but burn just as bright and last 10 times longer.

-Under inflated tires can cost you some major gas mileage. Check your tire pressure regularly, especially before a long road trip.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Your Key to A Successful Holiday Season

Mark your calenders! United has just sent out the "Save The Date" notice for our upcoming holiday gift showcase! There will be some finger food and drinks, but the real attraction will be the spread of corporate gifts that will be on display. We have all styles and types, all price ranges, there will be plenty of great eco-friendly gifts available for the company who is conscious about the environment, or for the company who wants to be.

I checked out the venue last week, it is quite slick. If you would like more info, or if you would like to attend, toss me an email, or leave a comment. More info to come!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fashion Week Loves United Print Group

It is fashion week here in NYC, and just this past Wednesday The Budget Fashionista threw a bash to celebrate her 5 years as a successful blogger. Congratulations!

United didn't have an official invite, but we were there in our own way. The theme for this year's Fashion week is "Frugal Is The New Black". And in the typical glamorous, yet fiscally conscious style of the Budget Fashionista, we were asked to produce the T-shirts that would represent the theme.

The shirts were on mannequins, and humans alike. They popped, they were memorable, they looked good (they better, this is fashion week), and they kept the theme of fashion week on everyone's minds.

We think this makes us famous and fashionable...

Watch a video about the event here

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