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Every week Successful Promotions will launch a new contest where we ask you, our readers and Facebook fans, for your most creative ideas for solving businesses' dilemmas. Each entry should be 50 words or less and a promotional product must be part of the solution to the weekly challenge. Send all entries to email@example.com by the specified deadline in order to qualify for a free gift. Winners will be selected randomly from all entries.
Week 1 Contest: From September 13 to September 19 At Your Call. A police department in a major suburb wants to conduct a community outreach program. What types of imprinted products can they give away to residents, businesses and kids that are not only personalized, but contain the department's contact information?
Week 2 Contest: From September 20 to September 26 Novel Idea.A local author has penned her fourth murder mystery and wants to do something cool at all her upcoming book signings. Since everyone is paying for the book to be signed, she wants to give them (or the first 100 people) something special. Any ideas?
Week 3 Contest: From September 27 to October 3 For the Children. A children's hospital is opening a new pediatric cancer wing and wants to invite the public to tour the unit. What types of fun and practical products can they give to all visitors?
Week 4 Contest: From October 4 to October 10 Thankful for Your Business. A large high-tech firm wants to thank its customers and employees during the Thanksgiving holiday. They want the gift to be used during Thanksgiving dinner. And, they said they'll take all ideas, so send them our way.
The Joe Show is a weekly video program where Managing Editor Joe Haley presents and demonstrates a variety of ad specialty products. He also offers useful tips and information on how they can be used in ad campaigns and other promotions. This collection features new products being offered by your distributor partner.
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Human Rights Watch Unlocks Prisons With Pens
Pens proved mightier than prison bars at a recent Human Rights Watch (HRW) event held to raise awareness about Burmese political prisoners. "Free Burma's Political Prisoners," a special one-day performance and art installation held at New York's Grand Central Station on June 22, included chanting monks, remarks from leaders of Burma's exile community and a massive installation in which visitors could "free" prisoners by picking up promotional pens to sign a petition.
The installation appeared as a Burmese prison complex, with a series of cells in which prisoners were trapped behind bars. Upon closer inspection, visitors saw that the bars were actually pens that they could remove in order to sign their name to a petition; the petition called on Burma's military leaders to release more than 2,100 activists and journalists who had been imprisoned because of their negative comments about the government.
"By removing the pens from the installation and writing a signature, the passersby were doing two things," says Andy Clarke, executive creative director at JWT New York, which created the event for HRW. "They were signifying freedom by removing the pens and thus making it look like the prisoners were free to go, and at the same time they were using the pens to write their signature in a book as a petition to the Burmese government."
Each pen read, "The power to free Burma's political prisoners is in your hands," followed by the campaign's website address. Visitors were encouraged to keep the pens, and 1,000 of them were given away before the day's end. Besides the humanitarian importance of the event, which comes as Burma prepares for its first election in a decade, the campaign also hits close to home on a professional level for those at JWT.
"A lot of the political prisoners in Burma are artists and creative people who are locked away for using their talent to make a point about the way their country is run and for exercising their basic human rights," says Clarke. "We're fortunate to live in a country where we're free to express our feelings through our creativity, so that's exactly what we did. Creative people standing up for fellow creative people."
Social Media Contest Boosts Rita's Italian Ice
Offering promotional products and free cold treats is a great way to make new friends. That's a lesson Rita's Franchise Company, the Trevose, PA-based operator of the popular Italian ice and custard shops, learned during a recent Facebook campaign – doubling its fans in two weeks and driving traffic to its 500-plus locations.
This year, as it has done for the past 17 years, the company offered a free Italian ice to every customer who visited one of its stores on the first day of spring. But this year, Rita's introduced a new flavor – the Peeps Italian Ice, co-branded with Peeps Marshmallow Candies – and rolled out an aggressive social media program to boost interest.
"Every year we do something different," says Kelly Banaszak, chief corporate communications director for Rita's. She gives the example of last year, when Rita's held a contest inviting guests to try a "secret flavor" of Italian ice and then suggest a name for it online.
For this year's promotion, the company gave away a year's supply of Rita's ice to a randomly selected Facebook fan every day for two weeks in late March and early April. Additionally, for every 1,000 new fans that joined the company's page, a lucky winner received a swag bag full of branded Rita's and Peeps promotional products. These included stuffed-animal Peeps and the Rita's Ice Guy, as well as T-shirts and coupons. "It was a fun mix of products from both of our brands," says Banaszak.
Partnering with Lórel Marketing Group, Rita's helped the promotion go viral by developing Peeps Fandemonium, a Facebook application where users could assess their "Peeps-onality" (playful, sassy, etc.) and post the iconic marshmallow bunnies and chicks to their Facebook page. Lórel further helped Rita's spread the word through in-store advertising, radio promotions and online, through Rita's website and e-mails to its Birthday Club database.
Rita's saw a spike of 28,000 fans in one day, and by the end of the Fandemonium campaign, the company had added more than 105,000 new fans, more than doubling the number of fans to 210,000. There was also a traffic increase at the store level, as the number of guests visiting to get their free Italian ice on the first day of spring spiked to 1.3 million, up from 1.2 million last year.
Following this success, Rita's began a co-branded promotion with Tastykake, offering a Butterscotch Krimpets-flavor cream ice starting at the end of July. "We're giving out more prize packs and doing another Facebook promotion," says Banaszak. "It was a huge success and we're really happy with how it's gone."
Contact your ad specialty distributor for more information on the products below.
CUSTOM SKIN CARDS Customize your iPod, cell phone or laptop by selecting from thousands of top sports, entertainment or collegiate branded skins, or by uploading your own picture. asi/42989
MIX IT UP This miniature wooden cement-mixer truck dispenses your choice of treats and is ready for laser engraving. Makes a nice gift or desk item for trucking vendors or construction companies. asi/90392
NAIL HEAVEN Spas and beauty salons will find this six-piece nail-care kit a handy gift to give new clients. It's available in pink and clear. asi/98360
SHINE ON This glitter lanyard is ideal for women-only conferences, trade shows and employee IDs. Also works well with concert and nightclub promotions. asi/68935
TUMBLE AWAY This drinking tumbler features a black plastic twist-on, spill-proof lid with push-button mechanism and holds 16 oz. of liquid. Why not hand out to your new employees as a practical welcome gift? asi/90305
HOLE IN ONE The Ball Kaddie clips to the top of a golf bag and holds three golf balls. Golfers can pull the release trigger and a ball is ejected into their hand. Makes for a fun handout to attendees at the annual golf tournament. asi/80083