Category: Ideas

Branding with love: Valentine’s Day promos

Holiday-themed promotions are fun and effective, and we’re less than a month away from a perfect opportunity to show some marketing love: Valentine’s Day. Express your affection with these romantic (and maybe a little risqué) promo ideas.

Chocolates and other candy

“Sweets for the sweet,” the saying goes. Chocolates are a traditional Valentine’s Day gift. Promotional options run the gamut from custom-molded chocolate bars with full-color wrappers to truffle assortments in a logo-imprinted box. Another fun choice is a branded lollipop, with your design is printed right on the candy in edible ink. Candy brightens everyone’s day, and gives them a great experience while thinking of your brand.

Recommended: Bach Gift-Boxed Chocolates, minimum quantity 25, $3.99 each for 1-color imprint on the box. Item #FRLYD-BSOFZ.

Lip Balm with Carabiner Sleeve, $1.39 each

Lip Balm with Carabiner Sleeve, $1.39 each

Lip balm

Traditionally, Valentine’s Day is about romance, and romance often involves kissing. A lip balm giveaway can tie into this theme and help people have soft smooches with their sweethearts. Promotional lip balm is available with a custom label and can be flavored in dozens of different ways. Also consider an imprinted leash or carabiner cap so they can keep the lip balm (and your logo) close at hand.

Recommended: Lip Balm with Carabiner Sleeve, minimum quantity 100, $1.39 each for full-color custom label and 1-color imprint on the sleeve. Item #YRGVA-GXYGG & KRGVC-GXYGI.

Razor Sliding Mint Tin, $1.87 each

Razor Sliding Mint Tin, $1.87 each


Another kiss-related giveaway is mints. Mints are available in many kinds of promotional packaging, from blister packs to tins to plastic credit-card-sized containers. There are sugar-free micro-mints, luxurious buttermints, and extra-strength mints for those serious breath issues. You can go for a full-color presentation or a simple logo imprint. They’ll carry it with them and see your brand throughout the day.

Recommended: Razor Sliding Mint Tin, minimum quantity 250, $1.87 each with 1-color imprint. Choose from Peppermint, Spearmint, Wintergreen, and Cinnamon. Item #AMLXD-EMNOF.

SafeVelope Condom and Mints, $1.45 each

SafeVelope Condom and Mints, $1.45 each


If you’re targeting the all-important 18-to-35 demographic, condoms are an inexpensive giveaway that will definitely get noticed. Anyone with a health-related message might consider using promotional condoms, of course, but condoms can also work for insurance companies, banks, and computer software brands – any organization that wants to emphasize protection, safety, and security and isn’t afraid to get a little sexy.

Recommended: Safevelope Condom & Mints, minimum quantity 250, $1.45 each for full-color. Includes two breath mints and a condom in a full-color packet. Item #YNECB-GNXMR.

Color Base Collapsible Vase, $1.38 each

Color Base Collapsible Vase, $1.38 each

Folding vases for flowers

Valentine’s Day is the biggest bouquet-giving holiday of the year. If you’ve ever received a bouquet and found yourself searching for a vase to hold the flowers, you’ll appreciate one of the coolest promo trends of the last year: foldable vases. These soft plastic vessels fold flat when empty, but when you fill them with water and add a bouquet, they stand up and are quite sturdy. Many colors and designs are available.

Recommended: Color Base Collapsible Vase, minimum quantity 200, $1.38 each with 1-color imprint. Includes a mailing envelope. Item #AQJYE-HPBXS.

Heart-Shaped Letter Opener, $0.45 each

Heart-Shaped Letter Opener, $0.45 each

Various heart-shaped items

If you give your customers tender loving care, you can demonstrate your affection with heart-shaped promotional products. All the standard items you know and love – pens, sticky notes, water bottles, coffee mugs, stress toys, keychains, and so on – are available with a heart motif.

Recommended: Heart-Shaped Letter Opener, minimum quantity 250, $0.45 each with 1-color imprint. Item # ZLFBC-HKUIM.

For other ideas or help with placing a Valentine’s Day promo order, contact ustoday!

New products from Vegas, baby, Vegas

The Gorilla Marketing office was rather quiet last week, running on a skeleton crew while most of our sales and customer service team was in glamorous Las Vegas. Was this a group vacation? Not quite. The team was attending our industry’s largest trade show, the Promotional Products Association International Expo.

This event brings together ad specialty manufacturers and distributors and is an annual resource for networking and professional development. As we learn more and strengthen our connections with suppliers, we can do a better and better job meeting our customers’ needs. We took our largest contingent ever this year, enhancing the expertise we can offer our clients.

There was some fun to be had in Vegas, but the team worked hard to cover the gigantic trade show floor and get the lowdown on promising new promo products. Here are some of their favorites.

"Stain imaging" decoration on a t-shirt

The new “stain imaging” decoration method on a t-shirt

Danielle: A new garment decoration method called “stain imaging.” It’s an all-over decoration process where the design is actually dyed right into the fabric. It’s available on t-shirts and polos, and it’s great for colleges and universities. The minimum is only 144 pieces!

Chris A.: A 3D mask that’s easy to see through. It could be part of a really fun promotion with a celebrity’s face or a mascot or cartoon character.

Tiffany: A cool gadget that plugs into a car’s cigarette lighter and allows you to charge two devices at once. It includes lots of adapters and has a big imprint area for a company’s logo. Anyone who drives a lot would appreciate it as a corporate gift.

Karlyne: I liked a lot of new things. One was the Bling Coolie, a koozie can-holder with tiny rhinestones or studs in stock or custom designs. I also liked the Letter Light, which is a flashlight that’s thin and light enough to be mailed in a standard envelope.

Chris R.: I tested a stylus/pen combo for the iPad and iPhone. It was really accurate on the touch screen, and there are lots of new styles.

Bernadette: A high-quality backpack with lots of pockets for laptops, tablets, and other devices — plus, a battery-powered charger built right in. That would be really convenient for business travelers.


BodyBeadz are like temporary tattoos, with unique sparkle and texture

Kaselle: A shiny, sparkly alternative to temporary tattoos and stickers called BodyBeadz. They’re full color and covered with tiny clear beads for a unique effect. Plus, they’re packaged with a custom insert that can highlight events and promotions or even include a coupon.

For information and pricing on any of these products,contact us and we’ll fill you in on the juicy details. When it comes to the PPAI Expo, what happens in Vegas definitely does not stay in Vegas!

Send it (a promo product, that is) in a letter

Snail mail might seem old-fashioned to the young and techy, but businesses still send a lot of letters. Contracts, invoices, checks, and other correspondence go the old-fashioned way. One way to add value to those letters is to include a promotional product – something useful the recipient can keep, and something that will remind them of your company.

Now, some promo products won’t work for this purpose. Good luck cramming a squeezy foam stress toy into a #10 envelope. But there are lots of options that can slide right in with your invoice without being too much trouble. Look for items that are flat (no more than ¼” thick) and that measure 3″ by 8″ or smaller. They should also be as light as possible.

Most likely, you’ll have to add an extra stamp or two when including a promo product in a letter. The standard rate for a first-class letter, $0.44 as of this blog post, will cover a 1 oz. letter that bends easily. Add something firm enough that they can’t run it through the machine, and that’s an extra $0.20. Add another ounce, and that’s another $0.20 too. Check the weight of the item and include additional postage in your budget.

So what kind of promotional items work well in an ordinary envelope? Here are a few of our suggestions:


Monitor Stick-Its

One of the cleverest products we saw in 2011, the Monitor Stick-It puts your logo right where they’ll see it all the time. The little white card includes small sticky notes and flags, and adheres to a computer monitor for easy accessibility. Doubles as a bookmark, too, as long as you leave the adhesive on the back covered up. $1.59 each with a 1-color imprint, $55 setup, minimum order quantity 200.



This is another item that sticks onto the frame of a computer monitor. It doesn’t look like much, but it’s a multipurpose dynamo. It can hold photographs, business cards, reminder notes, and any other piece of paper right at eye-level, effectively turning a monitor into a memo board. Our monitors here at Gorilla HQ are absolutely covered with these things. When you send them, consider sticking the piece of mail in it so the recipient instantly understands what the item is all about.$0.99 each with a 1-color imprint, $50 setup, minimum order quantity 250.


Mints in a Credit Card Case

It’s nice to carry mints with you in a pocket, purse, briefcase, or backpack, and the latest trend is packaging that’s as small as a business card and nearly as thin. The micro-mints inside are just enough for a breath-freshening boost. Around $1.00 each with a 4-color process label, $60 setup, minimum order quantity 250.


Dog Tag Keychain

Whether your key chain is small and light or resembles a junior high janitor’s, we’ve all got keys. These shiny aluminum keychains are thin enough to ride along with your mail, no problem. $0.69 each with 1-location laser engraving or 1-color 1-location imprint, $50 setup, minimum order quantity 250.


Microfiber Screen Cleaner

Everybody hates fingerprints on their phones, tablets, MP3 players, and other tech devices. This little square has microfiber on one side for screen cleaning, and the other side is sticky so it can cling to the back of the device when not in use. It comes packaged with an instruction card that also gets your logo imprinted on it. Around $1.00 each with 4-color process imprint, $150 setup, minimum order quantity 2,000.


Temporary Tattoos

This one kind of depends on your brand image. We’re not certain that people would want to rub an investment bank’s logo onto their bodies, but hey, feel free to prove us wrong! The best thing about temporary tattoos is that they’re quite inexpensive – often just pennies apiece – and don’t add a bit of extra postage. Consider inviting people to post pictures of themselves wearing the tattoos on your social media sites for even more promotional value. Sizes vary from 1.5″ x 1.5″ to 4″ x 6″, free setup, minimum order quantity 1,000.

Will your trade show giveaways be trash or treasure?

Swag, tchotchkes, freebies – trade show giveaways have earned a lot of labels, and not all of them are nice. Ever heard someone dismissing “gewgaws” and “doodads” as a waste of money? Ouch! The truth is, trade show giveaways have great potential rewards – if you choose the right item. They also have some risks if you’re not careful. Here’s the good, bad, and ugly of trade show swag.


1. Increase booth traffic with an attention-getting giveaway. When trade show attendees see that you’re giving out something cool and free, they’re more likely to stop by your booth – and if it’s really compelling, they’ll tell friends and colleagues to visit you, too. In the trade show biz, they call that “booth buzz.”

2. Inspire the “reciprocity effect.” Studies have shown that when people receive a gift, they feel obligated to return the favor. This means they’re more likely to give you their business – or at least listen to your pitch.

3. Emphasize your message with something they can touch. The most effective communication engages all the senses. Your booth will be full of things they can see, and they’ll be able to hear you speaking; add something they can hold and touch, and you increase the likelihood that your message will stick in their mind. Choose giveaways that convey the unique features of your company.

Mini Screwdriver Set Key Ring

4. Quickly show prospects that you understand them. The best promotional products are the ones that are useful, so take some time to think about what would your target audience needs. What would make their lives a little easier? A computer repair technician might like a mini multi-tool keychain. A business traveler might appreciate ear plugs in a convenient case. A college student might want a handy highlighter for studying. People like doing business with companies that “get” them.

5. After the event, your item serves as a reminder. Part of the marketing value of a trade show giveaway is in the moment the gift is given – but a bigger part is in the days and weeks following the event. Ideally, the prospect will keep the item, use it often, and be reminded of your company, calling when they’re ready to get down to business. Consider including your website or phone number on the item.


1. Watch out for herds of swag scavengers. Remember the “booth buzz” we mentioned above? It can backfire if you’re not prepared. Of course you want lots of people to visit your booth – but not if they’re only there for the freebies and there’s no chance they’ll ever do business with your company. Then they’re just taking up space and preventing you from focusing on actual prospects. Make sure you have a clear path for people who really want to engage with you.

2. The wrong item may be perceived as “junk.” Consumers today have a love-hate relationship with stuff: We like getting stuff, but we also worry about the amount of stuff that ends up in landfills. If your company is distributing useless, unappealing, unoriginal items, people may develop a negative impression of your company. Don’t let bad swag give you a bad name!

3. The item might end up in the trash, wasting your marketing dollars. This often happens with low-quality items. When you’re working with a firm budget, it’s tempting to choose the cheapest item you can find. But if the item breaks right away, you get no value from it at all. Think of it this way: Would you rather spend $30,000 on a car that will last you 10 years, or $3,000 on a car that will go up in smoke next week? As with everything in life, value matters in trade show swag.

Finding that perfect trade show giveaway can be a challenge. As with any marketing effort, keep your goals in mind and watch out for the pitfalls. Feel free to lean on our expertise. Contact us, fill us in on your project, and let us search for the perfect trade show giveaway for your event.

5 Tips for Last-Minute Corporate Gift Orders

Yes, yes, we know – you would never leave something as important as corporate holiday gifting to the last minute. Except sometimes, stuff happens. We understand! And we’re prepared to handle your last-minute business gift rushes during the holiday season.

When you need it fast, here are 5 things to keep in mind:

  1. Have your art ready to go in vector format. That means a file ending in .AI, .EPS, or possibly .PDF; not a raster file ending in .JPG, .GIF, .PNG, or .TIF. Raster files can be converted to vector files, but that can add a day or two to your timeline (not to mention some additional labor cost). For more information on raster and vector files, click here.
  2. When printing, keep the number of colors in your design to a minimum.Imagine for a moment that your computer’s printer didn’t print all the colors of the rainbow at once. Instead, it would first print the red, then the orange, then the yellow, and so on, and in between every color, it had to dry for several hours. That’s how multi-color imprints on t-shirts, mugs, pens, and other promotional products work. The more colors in the design, the longer the production process takes. It’s often possible to produce an item in 24 hours, but only with a 1- or 2-color imprint.
  3. Some decoration methods take longer than others. Embroidery can be time-consuming, especially for a large design, so it may not be possible to turn an embroidery order around in 24 hours. Printing and laser engraving, on the other hand, can generally be accomplished quite quickly.
  4. Watch your e-mail. We’ll be generating your order acknowledgement and art proof quickly, but we can’t move forward with production until you let us know we’ve got it right. The faster you approve the proof, the faster your item can be delivered.
  5. Expedited shipping can be quite costly, especially on large or heavy products. If you’re worried about the added cost of overnight delivery, we can consult our list of manufacturers and choose one that’s close to your delivery location. That means you can ship ground and still get it fast.

For a dozen examples of corporate gifts we can produce and ship in a hurry, click here. Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You can search our catalog for ideas, or you can have us do the searching for you. That’s a load off your mind!