I just returned from a short trip to Las Vegas where I attended the PPAI Expo, our industry's top show of the year. Over 1,500 suppliers attended to display their new items for 2014. My wallet is empty, my stomach is full (I was told that calories consumed in Vegas, stay in Vegas) and my desk is crowded with samples and notes about new products for 2014. Here is a quick rundown of the best things I saw in Vegas, excluding sights on the Strip:
Custom Acrylic Awards
I might rank this as the top new thing I saw out there. Are you tired of the same old awards and trophies? For a very reasonable price, we can completely customize each award down to the exact shape of your logo. The awards are colorful and unique and give a great impression when presented and displayed. We will be sending out information on this soon, as it is brand new and very exciting.
Bluetooth speakers are huge right now. They come in various sizes/shapes/colors. Interesting product features include: suction cups for wall attachment, city skylines to promote an event or your headquarters, and enhanced audio power in a smaller speaker.
The end-user is progressively becoming more and more fashionable. There are times when the basic T-shirt works for a low-cost giveaway, but if you really want your brand to be seen outside of the house or gym, you may want to upgrade to a true retail look and feel. These shirts can be custom dyed to a specific PMS color, and they have a great soft-hand imprint that looks like you picked it up at the mall.
Fashionable Covers for Phones and Tablets
When a standard tablet case just won’t do, this supplier has a premium option. Their items are made of high-end leather-like material. The cases are retail-inspired and stand out from the crowd with vivid colors and sharp imprints. In addition to cases, they make matching pens and journals which pair nicely for a memorable gift.
Custom Apps for Events
We’re going mobile! We now have the ability to create apps customized to enhance your event, conference or trade show presence. Through these apps, you can deliver information about your event to your attendees and give them useful information about the surrounding area: restaurants, shopping, night life, etc. There is also space for banner ads on each page, so you could split the cost for the app among your sponsors, or have someone else foot the bill entirely.
Vintage Golf Trophies
Maybe it's just the golfer in me, but I found these trophies to be pretty cool. So many times, I see the same old crystal plaques or trophies at a golf tournament. These trophies are based off real trophies that you might see at a PGA Tour event. If you want your golf tournament to stand out, displaying a set of these trophies on a table would definitely make a big statement.
This may not seem like the coolest thing in the world, but it’s definitely new and a little exciting if you have a logo with multiple colors. In the old days, you might have had to use a heat seal, which sometimes rubbed off easily and generally felt too rubbery for my taste. Additionally, there was often white backing around the logo. Now, we can do a full-color imprint right on the item with no backing. This elevates the game of full-color printing.
Imprinting on Drinkware Lids
Over the past few years, we’ve seen all types of imprinting on drinkware. This is the first time I have seen someone with the ability to print on the top of a cup or tumbler. It’s a great way to set your gift apart from every other cup out there. A great conversation starter too, as no one will have seen it before.
Laser Decoration on Mugs
I’m not a huge fan of basic ceramic coffee mugs, but this decoration technique adds a nice twist. They take a colored mug and laser etch your logo to show up in white. It gives the piece a different look, and makes it stand out just a bit from typical ceramic mugs.
Initialed Executive and Golf Gifts
If you ever need to give personalized gifts to executives, perhaps at a golf tournament or event, this company has a great way to do it. They started focused on golf events, so many of their items are golf-related, but they've recently branched out into more traditional items as well. Each item comes with two medallions: one with the logo, and one with the recipient's initials.