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July 30, 2005

http://FarFromBoring.com

FarFromBoring Promotions launched their new site to help end your search for promotional products. We will be updating the site on a daily basis with new promotional products, unique promotional products, and promotional product specials.

Be sure to check http://FarFromBoring.com for all of your promotional needs and also our Promotionl Product Blog for articles on promotional prodcuts, specials on promotional products, the hottest promotional products, promotional products for your industry and whats gong on at
http://FarFromBoring.com.

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If you need a cool logo for your company to put on your promotional products visit our partner at www.logomagic.com

Posted by farfromboring at 03:07 PM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2005

Promotional products help bring out the best in employees

"Employee motivation is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses today," wrote John Correll on his Web site, www. correllconcepts.com. Correll, founder of Correll Consulting, a Michigan-based company that provides strategic planning and consulting services to businesses, continued, "The fundamental question is, how exactly do we motivate employees to do their jobs the way they're supposed to be done, while enjoying it?"

In an effort to answer the question, several manufacturers provided case histories on various products that have proven effective in getting employees moving.

Audra Dahlgren, marketing director at St. Paul, Minnesota-based Crystal D, said that the company has provided products to various industries that have helped them achieve this goal. One such product is Crystal D's Superstar paperweight. It was used by a bank to increase the number of services customers used by 20 percent.

To kick off the three-month program, Dahlgren said, tellers were given the paperweight as a reminder to sell extra services. Sales increases made by each teller were monitored electronically to determine the top performers. At the end of the program, the branch employee with the highest increase in sales received the small Royal Star Award, and the top-selling teller was given the large Royal Star Award. "The tellers sold a record number of services, and the number of new accounts rose by 10 percent," Dahlgren said. "Management deemed the pilot program a success, and it is now a standard part of internal operations."

A slightly different challenge was presented to Howard Miller, a high-end clock manufacturer based in Zeeland, Mich. According to Michele Jennrich, sales representative, a leading insurance company was looking for a creative way to motivate its sales force. The theme "Time for Home Owners" was used in the campaign.

Jennrich explained that three different levels could be achieved by selling a specific number of homeowner policies. Sales representatives that qualified in each level received one of a variety of clocks. And, at the end of the campaign, the top performers were awarded a Chateau, Ashley or Jonathan grandfather clock. The total value of the promotion surpassed $90,000.

For companies that want a relatively easy but effective way to motivate employees, gift catalogs are worth considering, according to Scott Sodikoff, director of marketing and business development at Certif-A-Gift, Arlington Heights, Ill. His company was presented with the challenge of helping a bank grow incremental deposits, particularly business checking and savings deposits, by $150 million.

Teams of financial center managers, business bankers and commercial account managers participated in the campaign, titled "What's the Big Deal?" Each team was assigned a specific deposit goal, which included the normal balance growth for a similar period and their piece of the incremental growth required for the campaign. Team members who achieved their goals were awarded a gift catalog valued at either $150 or $250. Approximately 60 percent of team members received catalogs.

To further motivate its employees, Sodikoff said, the bank implemented an end-of-campaign drawing for teams that achieved their deposit goal, as well as check card penetration of 70 percent. Six teams were drawn, and each member received an additional gift catalog valued at $1,000 for the deposit goal, as well as a $250 gift catalog for check card penetration. Sodikoff said that the campaign was successful—achieving 122 percent of its goal. "The catalogs have proven to be very effective in generating the enthusiasm required for a successful campaign," he said.

The Road to Success


Correll also wrote, "Employee motivation is the vital ingredient to overcoming business problems, achieving business progress and realizing business goals."

And, to assist distributors with helping their clients do just that, Dahlgren offered a three-point selling system. "Distributors must first ask the recognition planner why the person or team is worthy of recognition," she recommended. "Understanding the purpose behind a recognition event will help distributors suggest products that will be symbolic to the recipients."

Dahlgren also encouraged distributors to ask the recognition planner for some basic information about the recipients. "Find out how recipients prefer to be recognized," she advised. "Going the extra mile to personalize the event to recipients' preferences will create lasting memories for them."

Finally, Dahlgren said that distributors should ask the recognition planner about his or her vision for the event. "Recognition planners typically have a mental image of the event or occasion, and an in-depth understanding of the organization's culture."

Whether a company wants to motivate its sales staff or its kitchen staff, incorporating the right promotional products will get the job done. "Typically, motivation programs repeat year after year," Dahlgren said, "and when they are done right, they can become a great source of income."

By Cynthia T. Graham

Posted by farfromboring at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2005

Hot New Promotional Product - MP3 Sunglasses

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Now you can enjoy music while protecting your eyes against the damaging rays of the sun with our new MP3 sunglasses.

Our MP3 sunglasses features high quality polycarbonate lenses that are scratch resistant and offer protection agains UV rays. The built in MP3 player features high quality stereo sound and a set of features that make this player easy to use. The stereo headphones are built into the frames.To use, simply wear the glasses and inset the stereo earbud speakers into your ears. Controls for the player are easily operated while wearing the unit by push buttons located on the frames right side.

Features:
Glasses


PC Lenses
TR 90 Frame
Shock proof and Anti-static electricity resistant
Audio

Compatible format: MP3, WMA, ADPCM
3D Stereo Sound
Integrated Microphone supporting ADPCM recording.
Five different Equalizer modes
Output power: 5mW + 5mW
Frequency response: 20Hz ~20KHz
Memory Storage

Available flash memory size: 64MB, 128MB, 256MB, 512MB, 1GB
Standard USB 2.0 port
Integrated USB drive
Share same USB port for Download, Upload and Recharge
Battery

Continuous Playing Time: 15 hours
Recharging Time: 2 hours
460mAh/ 3.7V macromolecule polymer Li-ion recharging battery
Automatically detected battery voltage and capacity
Battery Consumption Saving function

Posted by farfromboring at 10:38 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2005

Logo Recognition reigns supreme

A well know soft drink companies name is the second most recognized word in the World! How did they do it? A great product, a cool logo and promotion, promotion, promotion!

Farfromboring promotions Inc. has been a well known advertising specialty company for many years. When we needed a character logo to portray our image we went to the best logo design company, Logomajic.com. Their recognizable portfolio of quality logos and helpful staff made our decision to use Logomagic.com and easy one.

“My job is to help our clients grow their business by using the most unique promotional products we can find. Creating the most unique logos is an entirely different skill set. Rick Waters, CEO of LogoMagic.com has a proven formula in this space and we are very pleased to be working with them” Robert Stillman, Vice President, Farfromboring Promotions Inc.

They are not called LogoMagic for nothing

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To see more examples of the Magic visit www.logomagic.com or give them a call at 1-800-373-LOGO


Posted by farfromboring at 07:37 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2005

Promotional Wine for your next event

Celebrate your next promotional event with wine. This age old tradition well emphasize your next celebration with cheer.

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This keepsake is the perfect invitation or thank you for the next business or family event

"What better way to say we are getting better with age! Thank you FarFromBoring"
Mike Amato
30th Wedding Anniversary

Posted by farfromboring at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2005

Keep your clients cool this summer and advertise at the same time - Promotional Car Shade

Your clients and prospects will be happy to advertise your company name and thank you for keeping them cool in the hottest situations.

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Posted by farfromboring at 04:02 PM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2005

Poker Promotional Products

Poker is taking the Nation by Storm. Want to give a Promotional Product that your employees or clients will use over and over? A Promotional Poker set might just be the way to go.

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Farfromboring has all of your promotional products covered. We have plenty of ideas to make your next promotion a success!

Posted by farfromboring at 08:26 PM | Comments (0)

Promotional Mouse Pads

"Replace your clients old warn mousepads with your own
promotional mousepad. They will see you on thier desk
everyday". Promotional mousepads are one of the most viewed
promotional products in the industry.

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Posted by farfromboring at 07:09 PM | Comments (0)

July 11, 2005

Need some Unique Reasons to promote your business or product

Be Kind To Editors And Writers Month. Always one of our favorite months, “Be Kind To Editors And Writers Month” gives you the chance to show your appreciation to writers employed by your company or ones that help your business. Think stylish pens or pencils, notepads, desk accessories and more.

Fall Hat Month. Time to put away those sun visors and dig out something a little more sturdy. Try outfitting employees with felt or fabric hats in rich fall colors, or have a contest for best hat. Over 16,000 different hat styles are available through your promotional consultant; we’re sure you’ll find one that fits your needs.

September 1-7: National Childhood Injury Prevention Week. Each year, 20.6 million children are injured, with 22,000 of them dying from injury and 60,000 becoming permanently disabled. And these injuries rack up $347 billion in health care bills. The “As Safe As Possible Campaign” claims that 90% of unintentional injuries are preventable through proper education, simple detection and correction, so each year it sponsors National Childhood Injury Prevention Week. You can help your customers and employees reduce unintentional childhood injuries through educational materials and safety devices, such as reflectors, swim rings, bath-temperature gauges, electrical outlet covers and more. For more information, visit www.assafeaspossible.org.

September 6: Do It! Day (aka Fight Procrastination Day). Have a project that you just haven’t had the inspiration to start? How about vows of getting holiday shopping done early? No matter what you’re putting off, today’s the perfect day to get started. Help employees and customers do the same with funny or inspirational products.

September 19: Talk Like A Pirate Day. Ever since the hit movie Pirates of the Caribbean, it seems that pirates are enjoying a newfound popularity. Capitalize on it by planning a fun event featuring pirate-themed items like eye patches or plush parrots. Or how about a talk like a pirate contest where the winners get their own skull-and-crossbones foam hat or, even better, a treasure of gold-foil-covered chocolate coins?

September 22: American Business Women’s Day. Between 1950 and 1998 the percentage of women participating in the workforce jumped from 34% of all women in 1950 to 60% in 1998. Consequently, women’s visibility and influence at work has grown too. Use today to celebrate the history of working women and the contributions they’ve made.

Posted by farfromboring at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)

Your Logo here

Between human heads and flowers, figuring out just where to imprint your company’s logo can be difficult. We highlight several companies’ unorthodox branding moves and why they paid off.

When Glen Agritelley promoted the opening of his bar two years ago, he knew just where to put his logo: front and center of women’s underwear. Thongs, actually. “Sixty percent of the people who come into our wine bar are ladies,” says Agritelley, the owner of Mercy Wine Bar, an upscale bar and restaurant in Addison, a Northern suburb of Dallas. “Given that demographic, we thought it would be really cute to give out thongs.”

Apparently so do his clientele. Women visiting the bar often ask if they will receive a thong, though Agritelley says they are promotional items given sparingly to maintain a certain level of exclusivity. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t sparked their share of publicity for the establishment that pulls in $2 million a year in business. Besides community chatter, the stunt created awareness all the way to Las Vegas, where, at Mandalay Bay, a guest spotted Agritelley wearing a Mercy Wine Bar hat and told him his girlfriend had received a thong from the bar a week earlier.

Between product placement in movies and corporate signage bombarding consumers at every turn, marketers find it ever more difficult to locate new and unique products and places for their logos.

“People are inundated with 3,000 marketing messages a day,” says Erik Hauser, creative director and founder of San Francisco-based Swivel Media, a company that specializes in experiential and guerilla marketing. In that kind of heavily saturated market, getting your logo seen through unorthodox means can be the most effective strategy. But, Hauser cautions, it’s not as simple as slapping your company’s symbol on an undergarment and calling it a day. “Make sure the logo placement has meaning and relevance to the brand.”

Below is a look at four companies who know exactly where to place their logo and drive brand recognition.

Don’t Leave a Mark
“A logo on a product can’t hurt if it’s appropriate to the overall brand image,” says Marian Calabro, president of CorporateHistory.net LLC, a firm that chronicles company histories and their marketing efforts, logo placement among them.

In logo placement, where your company’s symbol ends up is of crucial importance. IBM Corporation learned that lesson the hard way. In 2001, the computer hardware manufacturer stenciled ads all over the sidewalks in Haight Ashbury, a progressive, hip neighborhood in San Francisco. Rather than clever marketing, however, the stencils, which were difficult, if not impossible, to remove, were seen more as graffiti than marketing brilliance.

In San Francisco, Boston, New York and Chicago, where the company also plastered its logo on the street, cities paid tens of thousands of dollars to clean up the paint. IBM apologized to the cities and agreed to reimburse them hundreds of thousands of dollars – some $120,000 to San Francisco alone – to clean up the unwelcome messages. The lesson? Make sure your guerilla move will be seen as innovative, not invasive. “Haight Ashbury, that’s the biggest anti-corporate place in America, and you go spraying your logo there? Come on,” says Hauser, incredulous about IBM’s lack of sensitivity to their audience.

Besides using materials that can be easily cleaned up, experts insist that the key to effective logo placement is to make sure it ends up in the most appropriate spot or on the a product related to the company’s core business.

Agritelley’s panty promotion, which costs him $200 a year for 500 thongs, would be in poor taste for most firms, but it dovetailed well with his type of business and his clientele.

Experts say that’s the key to branding success. The other is avoiding intrusive behavior like IBM’s. When Swivel Media was hired to create brand awareness for online coupon company boodle.com, they knew they would need a clever product on which to place the Web site’s logo. It turned out to be quarters – 8,000 of them in Cincinnati and Minneapolis.

Last August, Swivel placed removable stickers on $2,000 worth of quarters in each city then placed the quarters in key spots like vending machine and public phone change-return trays. In addition to the stickers, with messages of, “go to boodle.com and save money,” Swivel also painted perforated coupon outlines and giant scissors on streets throughout the cities. The difference: The paint they used was a tempura easily washed away. Awareness of the campaign at times sparked “scavenger hunts” among some city residents, Hauser says, who found it intriguing to search for the quarters.

More to the point, the relevance to boodle.com is obvious: Stickers were placed on objects directly tied to the web site’s purpose, helping consumers save money.

In other campaigns, Swivel has created logoed bookmarks that it inserted into magazines likely to be bought by a company’s target market in local bookstores. On other occasions, it has printed corporate logos on 8.5- x 11-inch sheets of paper and placed them in printers at major office supply stores to target business shoppers.

The key in all of these promotions, Hauser says, was their subtlety. “Don’t be too intrusive,” he says. “No one wants to be bombarded on street corners.”

Find the Right Spot
Since last year, Speaking Roses has embossed tiny gold logos on lush, red roses for dozens of companies looking for a unique branding opportunity. A product that ubiquitous in people’s lives is ideal for many brands, say company representatives Mark Hidden and Ted Phillips. The company, they say, has simply tapped the emotional connection people have with roses and transferred that connection to a brand’s identity. “It generates a level of wonderment,” Hidden says, “and creates a long-term memory” that will stick with recipients. The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, for example, has used the roses to hand out to customers coming off of the Italian-themed property’s gondola rides.

And, for places like hotels, roses may be an appropriate gift, since guests can keep them alive in a vase in their room. But while the printing of a gold logo on something as delicate as a rose petal is an impressive feat of technology, experts caution that companies should make sure the product on which they place their logo dovetails with their business. Too many companies make the mistake of throwing their logo on random products within the marketplace under the notion of, “any placement is good placement,” says Bob Phibbs, a marketing expert in Los Angeles known as the Retail Doctor. That can be a mistake. “The goal of marketing is to take a pistol and shoot at a target,” says Phibbs, “not shoot a shotgun into the air and hope something sticks.” The logo on a rose makes sense for a chauffer service, he says, but not for a hardware store. “Consumers are not going to trust logos they don’t know in odd places.”

For some companies, the right logo placement opportunity just doesn’t exist. For Gold Eagle Company, a Chicago-based manufacturer of engine oils and other fluids, that was the case. Finding a place to put the company’s STA-BIL Fuel Stabilizer product, was difficult. That is, until the company decided to create its own national marketing opportunity. Now Gold Eagle sponsors an annual event, the STA-BIL National Lawn Mower Racing Series, in which individuals nationwide race their lawn mowers in local, regional and national competitions. Started 14 years ago, the association today has 22 chapters, 500 members and a yearly series of races that has attracted attention in USA Today, Playboy and ESPN2. All entrants, whose mowers chug along from 6 to 60 miles per hour, are required to display the STA-BIL logo somewhere on their mowers.

“The PR costs are nothing,” says Manny Grijalva, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Gold Eagle. Rather, the racing series actually generates money for the company from race participants, who pay $35 to the National Lawn Mower’s Racing Association, an organization created by Gold Eagle, who often partners racing events with local fairs and festivals to increase logo visibility. On a good day, as many as 2,000 spectators watch a race, Grijalva says.

That’s an effective logo placement, Hauser says, because it puts the logo on exactly the product that the logo is associated with, but does so in a clever and engaging manner. “It raises awareness in their marketplace” among specific users who might very well buy STA-BIL to keep their mowers’ engines running smoothly, “in a fun and innovative way,” Hauser says.

Be Unique, but Smart
Like any good marketer, Christopher Faulkner knows the secret to success is originality. So when the CEO of C I Host, a Web hosting company in Dallas, wanted to promote his firm, he slapped his logo on the one spot no one else had: Evander Holyfield’s boxing trunks in the heavyweight championship of the world in November 1999. The fight was a major loss for Holyfield, but hardly a marketing washout for C I Host, which benefited from millions of people watching the event, and consequently his company’s logo.

Following that stunt would be difficult, but Faulkner managed to do it. Two years later, he was inspired to tattoo his company’s logo on a willing participant’s forehead – a tough marketing medium for sure.

But in 2001, while scrolling through pages on eBay, Faulkner found Jim Nelson auctioning his head as a “human billboard.” For $7,000, Nelson would be a company’s walking, talking billboard for five years. Faulkner jumped at the idea and hired Nelson to sport a 5- x 5-inch C I Host logo on the back of his head. As part of his contract, Nelson, who needed seed money to start his own business, a collectibles store for medieval swords and knives, must pitch C I Host to any person who inquires about his tattoo.

“Tattooing your logo on someone’s head will get you press, but you risk the integrity of your brand” when it’s a stunt simply for the sake of being outrageous, Hauser cautions, though companies selling products for teens and other trendy audiences can benefit from such outlandish moves. “I wouldn’t want to see Oracle advertising on someone’s forehead.”

But Faulkner insists that two years later the unorthodox move has paid off. Nelson, who is required under the deal to travel at least four times a year, once internationally, has talked up C I Host so frequently to curious passersby that his tattoo has generated stories in major media outlets worldwide as well as 800 new clients worth $20,000.

In the end, experts say, the key is to make sure the placement of your logo will have a strong, but positive impact with consumers – and one that will resonate with your company’s business objectives or corporate persona. “The best ideas are radically simple,” Hauser says. The key, he notes, is to make the stunt relevant to a company’s brand. “The more meaning and relevance, the better the recall.”

Betsy Cummings is a freelance writer based in New York.


Sometimes making an impact among customers means placing your company’s logo in an unusual place. It can be effective if done right.

Human Heads
When Christopher Faulkner wanted to make an impact, he decided the back of a man’s head was the best place to do it. The stunt paid off, but experts warn that entertainment for entertainment’s sake can backfire. Even pregnant women have been reported to have logos tattooed on their bellies, but to many consumers that kind of stunt is crossing the line of good taste. Make sure your tattooed logo, best reserved for youth marketed products, won’t hurt your brand’s image overall.

Coconut
When Countrywide Home Loans wanted to get employees excited about its sales incentive program, it decided to appeal to their competitive nature. Drawing on the success of the Survivor TV show, it sent the employees each a survival kit – logoed lip balm, sunscreen, compass and flashlight all packed in a hollowed-out coconut that zipped closed.

American Currency
Last August Boodle.com sparked local, unofficial scavenger hunts after it put stickers with its logo on 8,000 quarters and strategically placed them in vending machines, phones and other places around cities. Found money is rarely a bad marketing move, and was particularly effective for a Web site that helps people save their quarters, so to speak.

Baby’s Bottom
OK, this promotional consultant’s logo wasn’t literally put on a baby’s bottom; rather, it was affixed to a diaper using a printed label. Given to attendees as they entered the New York Incentive show and also at the promotional consultant’s booth, the diapers asked, “Isn’t it time for a change?” Apparently, many people thought so, with the promotion generating a 531% increase in leads over the previous year.

Boxer’s Trunks
When Evander Holyfield got beaten by Lennox Lewis in the 1999 heavyweight championship, he went down with the logo of C I Host imprinted on the back of his boxing shorts. The bout was a disaster for Holyfield, but a marketing coup for the Web hosting company.

Sand
Some companies use paddleball or beach towels to get beach-goers’ attention. But PR firm Z Communications wanted to make a different kind of statement. It sent several thousand of its best prospects a pair of logoed flip-flops with the company’s Web address carved into the bottom. So, whenever recipients wore them to the beach, they left impressions of the company’s Web address everywhere they walked.

Flowers
It seems impossible to imprint your logo on a single rose petal, but Speaking Roses International Inc., has figured out a way to do it. And companies by the dozens are lining up to hand out the unique logo placement to clients.

Mr. Potato Head
The Detroit Pistons wanted to give fans a product to commemorate its “Hardwood Classics” night, which is an homage to earlier days in the franchise’s history. For this particular game, the team would be wearing retro jerseys from the late ’70s-early ’80s era, so it wanted an item that would reflect that time. What it chose was a replica Mr. Potato Head, wearing its own retro jersey with the Pistons’ old logo on the back. Dubbing it the “Pistons Sports Spud,” the team gave the item to the first 5,000 kids who attended the tribute game.

Ladies’ Underwear
Plenty of restaurants sell T-shirts with the logos, but not so many imprint their logos on ladies thong underwear. Dallas establishment Mercy Wine Bar did just that and now hands out the black cotton panties to women who visit the bar.

Need a Logo? Visit http://www.logomagic.com or call 1-800-373-LOGO

Posted by farfromboring at 03:08 PM | Comments (0)

Promotional Luggage Tags

hey Samantha
thanks sooooo much for your help
the luggage tags you suggested are perfect!!!

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And I'm finding this whole bobble head world most intriguing!!!
Sadly it'll have to wait til I get back from my trip.
But darn it, I'll have luggage tags to give out
and just the right ones at that;
all because of you!!!!

thanks again
and I'll look forward to a bobble head/pencil topper "heart to heart"
upon my return.
(about one month.)

most sincerely,
daisy lynn

Posted by farfromboring at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)

Real Estate Agents - Give a Promotional Product at closing

There is no better time to use a Promotional Product then after your client closes on his/her new house. Many real estate agents give their customers Gift Certificates such as to the Home Depot. A very nice gesture but why not give them something that will keep your name, number and website address in-front of them 365 days a year. I am not talking about a pen or a key chain! Here are a few ideas.

Depending on the client and how much you want to spend you can put together a nice gift basket.
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Every time your clients enjoy a nice glass of Merlot in their new house your name will be right under their noses.

"Your ideas on closing gifts for our clients has caused an influx of new referrals" Paul Hansen Miami Beach Real Estate

FarFromBoring has 1,000's of ideas to make you stand out!

Posted by farfromboring at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

July 08, 2005

3-D Wall Calendars

Send a promotional product that pops

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Posted by farfromboring at 03:17 PM | Comments (0)

July 07, 2005

Don't just send a letter send a Gift

Stand out from the other realtors that are farming the same area as you. Don't only send out a letter send a gift. Magnets are a great way to keep your name in-front of people 365 days a year.

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Posted by farfromboring at 06:45 PM | Comments (0)

Fish Memo Holder

When choosing a promotional item it is important to consider how useful the product will be to the end-user and how often the product will be used.

Your customers will keep this item around and view your message anytime they are at their desk.

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Call Farfromboring Promotions for this and other great ideas to promote your business using promotional products 561-999-9097

Posted by farfromboring at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

July 05, 2005

Fish - Stress reliever and keychain

These keychains/ stress reliever are a great promotional item. Your customers will see your company information everytime they take out their keys.


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For all of your promotional product needs feel free to call one of our customer service reps at 561-999-9097

Posted by farfromboring at 05:36 PM | Comments (0)

Cheers ... Another happy customer

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Thanks so much Samantha! The glasses arrived on time and were a hit at the show! Thanks and You'll be hearing more from me soon!
Truly, Robyn

Posted by farfromboring at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

Get Carried away with the Bags and Totes

Sales are in the bag with these carry-all products.

In today's world, where convenience is king, having the right bag to get a person through the day is important. As a result, many bags and totes vendors have redesigned their lines and are reporting positive gains in orders and sales.

Steve Gelernter, national sales manager at Leed's, New Kensington, Pa., noted that trade shows, the primary market for bags and totes, saw a significant decline just a few short years ago, but he reported that sales are now rebounding.

Other companies agreed with Gelernter's positive sales assessment. "March 2005 was the best month in our company's history," said Christopher Duffy, vice president of marketing at Bag Makers, Union, Ill. "Because of an upswing in the economy, more purchase orders are opening up, as well as more quotes for larger quantities. We're closing more of those larger orders, which makes us very optimistic."
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More than a Commodity

Because bags and totes are not seasonal items and they have a general appeal, it's easy to find products that will work for a varied audience, including men, women and children of all ages.

And, unlike promotional products that are suitable for one-time event use or are easily lost or disregarded, there's more of a likelihood that end-users will carry a bag around indefinitely, increasing a company's brand exposure. "It's not just a one-shot opportunity," said Laura Gaulke, marketing specialist at Neely Manufacturing, Seymour, Iowa. "Bags are very utilitarian; most people are always open to receiving one as a gift and finding a use for it."

According to Duffy, this distinction between gift giving and traditional giveaways is substantial. "Gift giving has a higher perceived value," he explained. "Our distributors are actually getting an opportunity to up-sell bags as add-on sales because they can convince their customers that recipients will remember a gift better."

The market has seen bags evolve from a basic commodity to much more. For example, Bag Makers' The Ultimate Bag was designed with multiple features to enhance functionality during trade shows, as well as continued use long after the event is over. "We built it specifically based on needs," said Duffy. "Most bags have two handles or straps, and when end-users wear those on their shoulders, they can't get into the bag. So, we just used one strap and made it adjustable, so it fits everyone."

The bag also has an outside pouch designed to hold notepads and trade show directories, as well as two holders for business cards (incoming and outgoing), and a pocket for a mobile phone or water bottle.

Then there is the Eclipse Backpack Tote from Leed's, which is anything but the run-of-the-mill trade show tote. The modern-looking bag has a shoulder strap that doubles as a traditional backpack.

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The Eclipse Backpack Tote also has two outside pockets that can accommodate promotional products, such as pads and organizers, and there are pen loops that are suitable for pens with custom messages and logos. "We try to add design and style to the piece so that it has a lasting effect, and the client gets more of an annuity for brand recognition," said Gelernter.

Tote Trends

One of the latest trends in bags and totes is a shift toward importing. "Practically everyone—even companies that have traditionally been domestic manufacturers—is importing bags at this point," said Gaulke, who has studied the bags market extensively. "The quality of imports has improved drastically over the last decade. People have a higher bar of what kinds of features, options, and bells and whistles that they can have on a product for the price."

These days, bright colors have become popular, according to Duffy. "We see that bright colors do well because people want a little flash," he said.

According to Gaulke, pink is currently a hot color for bags. "We get a lot of people asking for it, and surprisingly, it is one of the top new colors," she noted. "That is definitely a trend that we've picked up on."

Gaulke cited programs such as breast cancer awareness as primary reasons for why pink has received a recent boost in popularity. "Awareness programs have become really big, with ribbons representing all of the different causes," she said.

Neely Manufacturing responded to the interest by expanding its denier nylon string backpack to include 12 exciting colors—one to suit any cause or event.

Gaulke added that the backpack is also a favorite among athletes and sporting goods stores. In fact, the bag's versatility makes it easy to sell to just about any market. And, as with all promotional products, versatility equals success.

By Dave McGurgan

Posted by farfromboring at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)