The most anticipated of the four seasons, summer, is (almost) here! Even if you and your clients are in the nation’s great heartland, they can still indulge in water-themed promotions – it doesn’t have to be strictly “beach.”
And there are many opportunities – both obvious and not-so-obvious.
Although the most obvious opportunities are “beach” themed events/promotions or events that are held near the water, says Aaron Bradley, national sales manager, TerryTown, “we also deal with a lot of destination-type projects and gift ideas where a group of people are flying to a luxurious resort and the beach towel acts as a memento from their trip.”
Shawn Kanak, CAS, vice president of sales, Towel Specialties suggests that if you mention beach towels and the prospect or client hesitates, simply ask the person, “How long have you had your favorite beach towels at home?” His sales team began asking this question in 2001 and found that the top answer and most popular by average: 15-20 years.
Kanak relates that despite that, “we are often asked by distributors, ‘My client loved their towels and I don’t understand why I don’t sell more beach towels?’” Because, he emphasizes, many are also used as employee recognition gifts. “Because we only think of beach towels for off-site destination meetings near water. However, 80% of everything that we ship goes into the city…to a desk…into a cubicle, where we can make an employee feel special.”
Summer is the best season to target travelers, and adventure travel is on the rise, observes Carrie Lewis, marketing communications manager, BIC Graphic. “An imprinted Osprey® Slingpack makes for a great travel bag because you don’t have to remove it to access the contents, and it has features that keep the user’s back cool while wearing it,” she suggests.
Sunny seasonal campaigns, she adds, may include unique items that also extend the good times. For example, having music along for the party is always a good idea, therefore, a Bluetooth® speaker such as the Jamoji® LOL will work as an incentive or company store item, or a giveaway with a certain number or amount of purchase or service use.
In agreement is Gwen Brey of Beacon Promotions, who says, “While soaking up the sun, end-users can enjoy listening to music on our Bose, Jensen or Sony speakers, earbuds or headphones. Or, they can look really cool in a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses. Don’t forget a Stanley cooler to pack beverages or a Stanley mug or tumbler that keeps drinks cold for about 9-13 hours or 40 hours iced. Grilling is also popular at the beach or pool – portable Weber grills are great products as well. While not everyone has a large budget for corporate gift items, bottle openers or reusable totes are inexpensive, but useful items at the beach and pool too.”
Summer-use items, she says, “are great items for companies that deal with outdoor living spaces – pool installation and cleaning companies, landscaping or decking companies. After finishing a project for a client, they can leave the item behind as a thank you. Casinos also use these corporate gift products as incentives for the members. They can also be used as door prizes at company picnics, grand openings or anniversary celebrations.”
Webb Company, says Jake Peterson, vice president of sales and marketing, offers a wide array of products that are perfect summer/beach/pool accessories. Although promotional sunscreens, for example, are the obvious, “what many distributors don’t know is we have a ‘Fun in The Sun’ bundle that makes a great gift, no matter where the end user relaxes.” This kit includes sunscreen, aloe vera gel, colored sunglasses, USA-Made lip balm and insect repellent, all packaged in a white, satin, mesh gift bag with a bow. And of course, “don’t forget the cooling towel and drinkware!”
Umbrellas are also an opportunity for beach adventures. According to Charity Gibson, national account coordinator at Peerless, “many people think of umbrellas as protection from the rain, but at Peerless we are about helping people play outside, and that means products that help keep you dry and provide shade. Beach umbrellas provide valuable protection from the sun and increase your ability to enjoy the great outdoors.” And to ensure you stay powered up while enjoying the surf and sand, there is the Solar USB Market umbrella that’s great for rentals, resorts and other outdoor events.
Every summer brings its trends – blockbuster summer movies, novelty pop songs or dances, new summer cocktails or foods. So think of products that help promote or reflect these trends that will become fun, fond memories of the “Summer of 2019.”
For example, according to Lewis, technology that can withstand the water and sand that often come along with fun in the sun are trending, “especially portable audio via compact and stylish Bluetooth® audio like Marley No bounds Portable Bluetooth Speaker®, which is IP67 rated and even floats.”
Also, she adds, “It may be hard to believe, but fanny packs are back! Try one with an attached Koozie® can kooler for an attention-grabbing promo. There are also more sophisticated options now like the Jaxon Fanny Pack with leatherette accents.”
Iconic fun, such as frisbees and beach balls will be highly appreciated. BIC Graphic’s Beach Ball is an obvious summer promo, Lewis says, “but it can be a fun addition to more than just beach campaigns. Summer festivals, concerts, and even tailgate parties before these shows are a great place for brands to be seen bouncing through the crowd on a fun takeaway.”
Bradley points out that Terrytown’s Subli-Plush Beach Towel, is a popular item because it’s the only dye-sublimated towel in the industry that’s offered with different colors of cotton on the back side (other than white),which, he states, compliments the full-color imprinting on the front side.
“Another key item for us right now is our Premium Velour Beach Towel in 19 colors. With the large color selection of this beach towel, it’s a universal beach/pool/summer item. The most popular industries for this towel are beverage, insurance, technology, healthcare, home services and hospitality,” he comments.
Summer means swimming and other water activities, catching some sun rays while also catching up on summer reads, playing games, hammock napping, hiking, picnics and barbeques, and summertime festivals or all-day events. Any kind of business can participate and would be viewed favorably by their customers.
Gwen Brey of Beacon Promotions: “A grocery store was holding an anniversary sale. For one week, each purchase was bagged in an environmentally friendly non-woven tote (#BGNW4300). Because of the sturdy construction and big bag capacity, they see their customers re-using it at the park, sporting events, a trip to the beach, etc. The grocery store is pleased with the additional advertising they get every time their customers re-use the tote. As an incentive to keep reusing the tote, a $.10 discount is given each time they bring the bag back to the store to use.
Aaron Bradley, national sales manager, TerryTown: “Recently a geotechnical high-rise construction company utilized one of our dye-sublimated beach towels to convey exactly what it is that they do. They printed a beautiful full color design showing an underground look at a city mixed with the construction that’s being built on top of it. The company has used these towels at a few different occasions. Two of the most recent were to the invitees to their open house for their recent new office location that opened in Arizona. They were also given away to VIP attendees for a celebration party for winning a design award.
“A new hotel in downtown Chicago was opening up in the dead of winter but was very close to Lake Michigan and wanted to give out something unique that showed off the building’s distinctive architecture. They opted for one of our dye-sublimated full-color beach towels printed with a photograph of the entire building. People were very surprised to receive a beach towel in the middle of winter, which is exactly what the client wanted.”
Carrie Lewis, marketing/communications manager, BIC Graphic: “In response to declining sales, an amusement park secured a beverage company sponsorship to help develop special promotions for season ticket holders who renewed for the following year. Each season ticket holder who renewed received the Big Chill Cooler (#AP7600) imprinted with the amusement park logo. Inside was a commemorative, reusable cup imprinted with the beverage company logo. Ticket holders were entitled to bring their cups throughout the following year for free refills during visits. The cooler recipients loved the promotion as they encouraged families to bring lunch into the park, and they could also save on beverages for the entire year. Season ticket renewals remained flat in the first year the park began the promotion, so they continued the campaign in the following years with new colors and designs. The park saw a steady increase in overall season ticket sales over three years and the coolers quickly became “collectibles” to park goers.”
Shawn Kanak, CAS, vice president of sales, Towel Specialties: “New customers at a credit union received Towel Specialties’ beach towels as an appreciation gift for every account opened with a minimum of $500. We shipped 60,000 towels in February to 10 different cities. The client response – ‘this was the most effective promotional product we’ve ever done and they were well within our budget!’”
“A software giant built brand awareness with Towel Specialties 40” x 70” Turkish beach towels at a charity event in the Midwest. It provided 2800 towels for employees and their family members to take home as a thank-you for their dedication. The client response was highly interesting, ‘we are tired of getting tech promo items!’”