Archive for April, 2010
“Toys, in and of themselves, do not make children obese.” But a Mcdonald’s Barbie Happy Meal toy sure does make those 700 calories more appealing.
Happy Meals began their reign as your child’s favorite meal in June of 1979. Placed in the original Happy Meal bags were a classic cheese burger, salty fries and a plastic wrapped McDonald’s happy meal toy accompanied by a classic coke. Something sweet, something salty and a toy? Who could resist?
But 31 years and over 42 trillion calories later, McDonald’s is being pressure to rethink their super salty, sinfully sweet Happy Meal menu. 2.5 million Happy Meals are ordered each year and too many children are growing up unhealthily.
The Santa Clara County Board Supervisors are now threatening to ban Happy Meal Toys on meals they declare as unhealthy. This includes meals over 485 calories and items with excess sodium, sugar or fat. Ken Yeager, who I quoted in the beginning of this blog is the president of the board and hopes that this new law will eliminate the, “incentive to choose fatty, sugary, foods over healthier options.”
Other country’s McDonald’s banned toys already. But so far, the addition of apple dippers to their kids menu is the only “somewhat” healthy option that has been added. Now, Santa Clara is seeing the affects first hand. 25% of all 7th, 9th and 11th graders are either overweight or obese. That’s 1 in every 4 students in that grade. That means that in a gym class of 30, about 7 students will be trailing behind as they sluggishly run, jog walk the track.
So to combat the rise in obesity, McDonald’s Happy Meal toys are going to get the boot. At least until they figure out how to incorporate “healthy” into a $2.99 fast food meal.Will eliminating the toys from McDonald’s Happy Meals help kids choose healthier foods? Or will it just lead to a ton of whiny, crying kids and unhappy parents. No worries, just grab some 1200 calories of comfort food. You’ll feel better in no time.
A PPAI 2010 web-video revealed the most promotional item friendly room in the house. After a recent study, the promotional product leaders found that the top promotional items were found inside of the kitchen.
They say food is the key to man’s heart and to be honest, I think it may be the key to woman’s hearts too. That might be the reason why 91% of all people surveyed said they keep a promotional item in their kitchen. Even better, 82% of people had more than 1 promotional item chillin’ on the refrigerator, lounging on the counter and relaxing in drawers.
So what does this mean for the promotional products industry?
You had better spruce up that line of kitchen promotional items today because the survey shows that 50% of people spend 3-5 hours in the kitchen each day. So I hope you’re hungry for the best promotional kitchen items the web has to offer. Here are my picks from some of the top promotional companies.
For a low cost, and tons of visibility, choose promotional jar openers. Motivators offers a variety of shapes and sizes so that every industry can capitilize on these fun and functional items. They’re lightweight, durable and useful. Recipients can keep them in the kitchen but they can be used around the whole house. Any hard to open jar, knob or handle will turn easily when you use a handy jar opener.
Another kitchen favorite are these promotional magnets from Promo Punch. A refridgerator is to your kitchen what your back bumper is to your car. Dress it up and display your personality. Some magnets will be imprinted with fun slogans or cool images that will spruce up your kitchen. Even business card magnets are perfect for in the kitchen because they’ll keep you connected with customer. You can lighten up the kitchen with these magnets in no time. Use them to hold up your children’s art work, fun photographs and important shopping lists.
Lastly, if you’re looking to cut through the competition and make a lasting impression on clients, choose the executive collection cutlery from Leeds. It’s the perfect corporate gift! PPAI noted that 58% of recipients keep their items over a year, but with higher end items, you can expect years and years of branding.
Check out the cool and collective PPAI video put together to showcase their finding on promotional kitchen items.
Band promoting has always been an interest of mine. If your tunes fire me up, let me escape or make me shake, rattle & roll, then I want to share you with the world.
I’ve joined street teams to hand out flyers of up-coming shows, written radio scripts promoting fun weekend concerts and run the merch table a variety of different venues. You could call me a big fan, maybe even a groupie, but in the most professional sense, you could call me a promoter.
However, today I prefer to be called a fan. Especially after the smack in the face the indie band, Beware Fashionable Women just gave to promoters everywhere.
In a shocking interview with Sentimentalist Magazine published April 20, 2010, front-man Barak Shpiez was asked what he hates about being in a band.
Is it the long tours away from home? Is it the constant demand to impress fans and appease management? Or is it the problems with music pirating? None of the above.
Instead, Shpiez shot back an answer so good that I want to share it all from the barrel to the bullet.
“I hate to sound like a whiner, but where are the promoters these days? Now “promotions” companies are just middlemen between the artist and the venue that serves no more function than being the booking agent.”
I believe that a band promoter is vital to a band’s advancement in the music industry but only if they are dedicated to the cause and loyal to their promotees.
So, if you’re a promoter I challenge you to answer Shpiez’s question. In particular I challenge Vigilant Promotions to prove him wrong. Their website reads, “Vigilant Promotions applies everything from street teams to radio promotion, press to the web, in order to cater to a wide range of clients looking to make an impact in the music industry/market.” Well that sounds fantastic, but are you really following through?
The promotion company is currently showcasing the Beware Fashionable Women CD cover and includes a link to the official band site on their homepage. Right above the entry is a larger spot showcasing their partnership with The Source Magazine, otherwise known as “The Hip-Hop Bible”. Is this big name client, receiving all the attention and leaving the little guy out? If so, I’m beginning to understand Shpiez’s discontent with the promoting industry.
“Venues have become inundated with requests to play that they outsourced that job to these companies. When booked at a club, artists are expected to be the sole promoters for their shows, but they don’t have nearly the resources or access that a promoter might have to radio DJs, print ads in the local papers, email lists, interns, etc.”
Have promoters really become nothing more than outsourced middle men? And whose duty is it to promote a particular show? Bars and clubs surely want business every night and in my experience, venue concerts can bring in tons of business. However promoters must showcase the bands playing through radio contests, print advertisements, street teams and promotional items. Shpiez doesn’t see these efforts being executed.
“By not participating in the promotion of shows they book, promoters have allowed attendance at these shows to dwindle. In response, they simply have raised their cut of the door. So bands can’t make enough money to even fund their own endeavors (promotion of future shows, tours, recording, etc)”.
With no promotions, attendance decreases and promoters are forced to take higher cuts from cover charges, leading to less of a profit for the musicians themselves. With the costs of traveling, lodging and other expenses, playing out and going on tours becomes increasingly difficult for independent bands.
Between lower gig pay and the lack of enthusiasm and call to action of promoters, bands are left to market themselves. This is what Shpiez of Beware Fashion Women hates about being in a band.
“Promotions companies are a negative influence on any scene and only exist to make venue owners’ lives a bit easier.”
There response comes as no surprise as even in their MySpace bio the band is refer to as “… respectable musicians who possess the ability to be the worst celebrities.” They ask the world, “Why must a band only encompass one version of that vague idea that is pop music?” And continue saying, “BFW understands that labels, managers, bookers, and indeed the listening public would much prefer a band that stuck to one thing and repeated themselves into oblivion.” But they’re not going to give you any of that bull shit.
I’m pretty amped about Beware Fashionable Women, their tunes are infectious. And I’m excited to hear what promoters everywhere have to say in response to Shpeiz’s complaints. In the meantime, promote yourself with these Bandmix promoting tips.
Can band promoters help to brand indie bands? Or is the only marketable music that stuff spewing from the lips of teeny boppers like Justin Beiber and Ke$ha? Lord, I hope not.
Since the first dollar bill was issued in 1785, the United States has branded the buck with pride. Our founding father’s faces are seen on each bill and the official seal is imprinted for authentification. Very much like promotional items, our United States bills are recognizable by their familiar imprints.
However, with technological advancements in copy and print, some people have become too familiar with our government imprints and have mastered the art of counterfeiting money. This surge in counterfeit cash forced the government to re-design bills and in affect re-think the branding of our most recognized American product.
After new designs were adopted in 1928, the $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 dollar bills stayed true to their design for almost seven decades. But in 1996, a rise in counterfeit money forced the US Department of the Treasury to issue new, security enhanced bills. It has now become policy to issue newly designed bills every 7-10 years. And today marks the makeover year for the grand daddy, hundred dollar bill. What’s the trend in the latest slew of re-designed bills? Color.
Gone are the days of simple water marks. They’re just not good enough anymore. And no longer can we refer to our Benjamin’s as, “green.” Because as seen on the new $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills, we’re dealing with some Technicolor currency. I’m all for proactive security measures. Watermarks, security threads and special seals and are necessary to preserving our national bank system. But did we need to do it rainbow style? I personally enjoy my standard green bills.
This latest addition of colorful bills lacks the “bang” factor that a stack of all green bills possesses. The branding addition of color has me wondering, is the U.S. government is being sponsored by Matel. Our currency is looking more and more like Monopoly money.
The Department of the Treasury Bureau of Engraving and Printing showcases the New $100 Note in a video. Check out the new additions and take note of the sub heading. “Know Its Features. Know It’s Real.” I had to repeat that in my head as I observed the shiny 3-D blue security ribbon. Still, I’m not convinced. So I’ll pocket this new $100 bill and use it to bail me out of jail – twice. Hopefully the Monopoly Man doesn’t think it’s counterfeit.
Apple said it best, “Your iPhone gets better with every new app.” And Motivators promotional products agrees.
As a breakthrough leader in their industry, the all things promotional company is turning heads with their innovative technology and strong grasp of social media. You can tweet them on twitter, like them on Facebook and now, you can browse their many promotional items right from your iPhone. Their new app http://www.motivators.com/ is now available to download from the iTunes store and promises to impress.
The web-based company designed this easy to navigate promotional items application with customer satisfaction and convenience in mind. Manager of the IT depanrtment, Khurram Khan said, “Users are looking for alternative ways to access the content they need and for many people, the first thing they look for is an app.”Whether you need help cooking pasta fagioli for the in-laws or if you need to navigate your way back to land after a storm at sea, iTunes has the coolest apps around. In a recent survey conducted by Pinch Media, findings show that 60% of new application downloader’s use that new app the very next day. Of all applications downloaded, only 10% have maintained an audience over a period of time. Motivators hopes to be in the 10% and their quick to the punch creation of this app gives me confidence that they will.
Motivators is hoping that those who download the app will enjoy the easy to use interface where top selling items in a multitude of categories are displayed. CEO, Ken Laffer said, “We want our customers to have easy access to our products and services at all times. The Motivators mobile app puts promotional products at their fingertips, 24/7.”
This new mobile application is the promotional items buzz I’d like to see every day from the promotional items industry. I’m looking forward to tracking the success and seeing if any other company’s mirror Motivators new application.
Toss those ruby reds to the side. There’s no way those sequins are recyclable, and Earth Day’s right around the corner.
Instead, slip into a pair of green slippers, and tap them together while repeating the famous line, “There’s no place like home.” Because this is your shot at winning the HGTV Green Home. And believe me, there’s no place like this home.
The lucky winner will be the new owner of a 5,012 square foot property in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The upscale neighborhood is the perfect place for this custom made eco-friendly house and HGTV made sure to cross all their T’s with this promotion. The home was given a Gold certification by the National Association of Home Builders because of its energy friendliness and sustainable components.
The custom built home will include eco-friendly flooring, energy friendly appliances and high-style furniture and accessories. And as you vigorously tap those slippers together, let me add that the winner also receives $100,000 and a brand spankin’ new GMC Terrain.
This enormous prize package is comprised of some big name brands that are maintaining their dedication to the environment. The sponsors include: GMC, Shaw Floors, Serta Mattress, Exceptional Paints & Stains and Rinnai, a new 97% tank-lesswater heater company.
Enter for your chance to win this green dream house by snag mail, or simply fill out their contest form at the HGTV official site. (And continue to tap your green shoes together.) This amazing HGTV Green Home 2010 giveaway is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. So get clicking my friend and check out this virtual tour of the HGTVgreen home 2009.
Looking to build your brand without stepping foot away from your computer? One promotional products company took advantage of a rare social media branding opportunity to gain logo exposure while in the comfort of their own office. How’d they do it? They paid this guy to wear their shirt. But it didn’t stop there.
As a part of the I Wear Your Shirt social branding package, companies receive 1 full day of PR. Friends, Jason and Evan run the show, with one guy on each coast. Included in their social media branding package
are 2 live web-casts, a blog and live tweets all day.
Each day, the duo sports a company’s t-shirt to promote their products and services, but as a leader in the promo world, Motivators took advantage of this branding opportunity and sent Jason and a bundle of other imprinted items.
With a vibrant fan base on twitter, @MotivatorsStaff and @IWearYourShirt kept things interesting all day long from a promotional products picnic to a cool live chat about the new Motivators cool scannable bar code.
Now that’s promotional items buzz!
This Starbucks going green promotion is bringing on the good deeds.
Free stuff? Check.
Worthy cause? Check.
Brilliant branding? Check.
Starbucks Going Green Promotion
Grab a promotional travel mug and head to Starbucks on Thursday for a free coffee!
The Starbuck’s brand green project, “The Big Picture,” began in March as thousands gathered to build a huge forest image out of coffee cups on the streets of New York City. The Make the Difference Starbucks promotion maintains the tagline, “One person can save trees, together we can save forests.”
At the event In March, people were urged to avoid paper cups and instead embrace sustainable living through a Starbucks travel mug promotion. Now on Thursday, April 15th they invite everyone to bring a promotional travel mug to a local store, be it imprinted with the Starbuck’s logo or “The Hufstader’s 17th Family Reunion.” Bring the travel mug, and get a free fresh brewed cup of coffee.
Once again, brilliant branding job to you Twinklebills, I mean Starbucks. And this great eco-initiative is timed perfectly for the Earth Day 2010 celebration on April 24th.
Get out your travel mugs and go green with the Starbucks travel mug promotion.
Google Maps will direct you home after being lost wandering in New York City. Type the lyrics to the song you heard on the ride home and Google will send you right to the You Tube video. Need health advice? Type, “tight chest” and Google will send an ambulance right to your home…well not exactly.
But as Google continues their steady sky rocketing of brand success, they’re getting increasingly hands-on. In fact they now want the bragging rights for taking the virginity of promotional tweets.
The social networking Q&A service, Aardvark was launched in March 2009. Only one year later, it’s created such a buzz that its the latest Google acquisition. If you’re unfamiliar with the site, check out Aardvark now to test it out. You type in any questions and within minutes, the service will search through its various networks for the perfect person to answer. It’s a real life Ask Jeeves.
The company was just acquired by Google in February, and only a month later they’re filing a patent that will get them ahead in the social media world. It reads, “A user of a web service is prompted to endorse the web service to the user’s friends or other connections by submitting a status message to one or more status messaging services to which the user belongs.”
If you’ve ever visited a website and been invited to, “Tell a Friend” then you’ve taken part in this web service. With just the click of a button, you’ll be promoting a particular brand in a tweet or Facebook status. Businesses all over the web are using this quick and easy service to build up their own social networks. However, if Aardvark Google gets the patent, will businesses become unable to use, “Tell a friend,” and similar services?
I predict a service charge in the future for this convenient feature. It’s got to be all about the money, or perhaps Google is just tugging at the reigns to show us once again, that we are all owned.
The United States Census has many questions for us. But hey there big shots, I’ve got a question for you. Who does your advertising? Because this years Census program was promoted with engaging commercials and fun, effective promotional items. But have they helped to encourage people to sign their census forms? It’s yet to be calculated.
After a period of time, Census representatives are directed to the addresses of those who have not yet filled out their forms. They’ll come around with a nice census water bottle and ask if you’d kindly submit your form. Seems pretty appealing to me. Depending on the promotional material I might just sign a deal with the Devil- if he were to show up at my front door with Hell promotional items of course.
So how exactly is the Census marketing? By getting out there with Census logo items and targeting audiences through their commercials. Minorities who have records of not sending in their forms have been specifically geared to in these census commercials in hopes to gain greater knowledge of the people in the United States.
What promotional items is the census using? Cute fans that read, “Be Counted In 2010.” Cool tumblers and jotters imprinted with the Census logo, to name a few.
My favorite Census spot so far has to be this ridiculous but radically effective “Luda On The Block,” census video. Check it out because Ludacris promotes 2010 Census in New Orleans only once.
However, great advertising comes at a great cost. One blog predicts that about One Billion dollars were spent on the promotional swag alone. Worth it? I guess we’ll know better once the forms are in and our political leaders make decisions based on the statistics.