Recently I ran across a television commercial for a car rental company that attempts to sell their brand as the ‘low stress, hassle-free’ experience. The commercial started by showing the full-to-capacity lobby of a fictitious competitor where customers received imprinted stress balls as a way of covering for long lines and poor service.

One element of this ad is right on the money – no stress ball, coffee cup, pen or embroidered shirt will make up for products or service that stinks.

Then again, neither will a television commercial, radio spot or print advertisement.

My only objection is that too often promotional products are portrayed as unsophisticated or simplistic. Those of us in the promotional products business have seen plenty of ads (print and television) that use promotional items as a ‘cute’ way of implying the relative lack of sophistication a company might have.

Promotional products are just like any other tool in a smart marketer’s tool box – highly effective when used correctly. And like most tools, they’re often used in combination with other tools to increase their effectiveness.

Promotional products, when used wisely, are a highly effective (and cost-effective) way of reaching an individual on a one-to-one basis. Promotional products build and strengthen relationships, create awareness, enhance the recall of traditional media advertising and have real staying power. Give a product that people use, and you will be remembered. Smart marketers know the impact these items have as part of any contact management/advertising campaign.

How much deeper might the ‘hassle free’ brand message resonate if throughout period of the TV campaign that car rental company actually gave their customers a stress ball with some sort of ‘you might need this elsewhere, but you won’t need it here’ imagery?

By adding a promotional product to the marketing mix, the company would get a fun new reason to interact with their customers, drive home an important brand message and improve the effectiveness of a large television advertising investment.

Pretty powerful stuff for something that sells for as low as .72!

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Kevin Lyons-Tarr

Kevin Lyons-Tarr is Chief Executive Officer and has been with 4imprint for 23 years. Look to Kevin’s blog to see hints, tips, news, and tricks of the trade from across all of 4imprint’s blog channels.

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