This One Time... at Brand Camp
Come for creative product campaign ideas and branding advice. Stick around for obscure movie references.

Welcome Marsha Glazer

The Sonic team expanded several weeks ago, and I'm ashamed I haven't mentioned it on the blog until now! In mid-September, Marsha Glazer joined our staff as the new Director of Strategic Accounts, and we are all so thrilled to have her on board.

I will post a fun staff interview soon, but in the meantime, I thought I'd share a few of Marsha's favorite product finds from the recent CPPA trade show. She has great taste. Welcome to Sonic, Marsha!
Arusha-Insulated-Jacket Custom
The Arusha insulated jacket features a graphic pattern woven with a water-resistant coating and water-repellent finish.
Bike-Light-Set Custom
This pair of bike lights- clear for front, red for back- can be set to steady-on, slow-flashing or fast-flashing.
Chalkboard-Calendar Custom
There are so many fun calendar options for 2015; we love this chalkboard item.
Coleman-Dual-Compartment-Cooler Custom
This printed Coleman cooler has dual compartments and antimicrobial protection to resist odor, mildew, and mold.
Printed-Utility-Tote Custom
Three different prints are offered in this canvas utility tote.
Wrap-Cardigan Custom
The Women's Cardigan Wrap from Charles River Apparel is made of soft Supima Cotton.


UMD First Look Fair Scratch-off Cards

The First Look Fair is one of the longest running involvement traditions at the University of Maryland. The event draws more than 500 student clubs and organizations, campus departments and services, local vendors, and community service agencies. The festive atmosphere is the perfect place for students to gather resources, learn more about how to get involved, and connect with their peers. It's a fantastic opportunity to discover everything that the University of Maryland has to offer.
Table-at-Student-College-Fair
First Look Fair 2014 was held on September 17th and 18th. Sonic Promos assisted UMD's Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship with scratch-off cards and prizes to attract and engage students. Client Brooke Smith comments on the event:

We handed out all 500 of the scratch-off cards at the UMD First Look Fair. Students loved them! We actually ran out half way through the second day. They thought it was a fun and clever way to win prizes. Prizes included a t-shirt, sticker, dairy coupon and brainstorming kit.
College-Fair-Scratch-Off-Card
Student-Scratch-Off-Card
Scratch-off cards are a simple and inexpensive way to entertain attendees at a fair or conference. We frequently recommend them to our clients. Contact your rep at Sonic to brainstorm an activity for your next event.


Pill Bottle Swag at BlogHer Conference

A few weeks ago, Buzzfeed posted an article titled "Is This Pill Bottle the Most Inappropriate Swag Ever?" about a questionable promo item distributed at this year's BlogHer Conference. Here is a picture of the offending handout:
Pill-Bottle-Promo Custom
The promotional pill bottle, branded for a toy company named Bright Starts, contained candy, but closely resembled a prescription pill bottle. A little too closely for some.

BlogHer is one of the nation's biggest conferences for female bloggers, many of whom are mommy bloggers and parents. Several attendees were dismayed by this choice of handout, as we all know children can easily mistake prescription medication for candy, and drug overdose is a serious concern.

Though Sonic wasn't involved with this promotion in any way, of course we have an opinion. What's our take?

Though we agree this item might not have been the best choice for a company like Bright Starts given the event and audience, we do think the negative attention is a little overblown. Usually with food items, the expectation is that the recipient will consume it during the conference, not bring it home. And, if an attendee did choose to bring this item home, we'd hope they would exercise caution and not give it to their child.   

So again, it wasn't the wisest choice, but it certainly was not the Most Inappropriate Swag Ever. 


This Week at Sonic Promos 7.29.14

Another Tuesday, another "This Week at Sonic Promos" post. Read about a few of the projects keeping our team busy this week, and take away inspiration for your next event or program.
BAKER-TILLY-Recruiting-Materials-2014 Custom
Sonic Promos worked with Baker Tilly to create a menu of materials for college recruiting events this fall. Items range from pens and ice scrapers to vibration speakers and mobile power banks.
SIGMA-TAU-Summer-Tees Custom
These T-shirts will be worn by Sigma-Tau employees at a summer picnic.
AUSTIN-ACES-Lanyards-Hats Custom
July 2014 marked the inaugural season for the newest addition to Mylan World TeamTennis, the Austin Aces. Sonic Promos assisted with merchandise and apparel, in addition to red foam hats for fans and red lanyards for season ticket holders.

"This Week at Sonic Promos" is a regular feature on our blog.
Read all past posts here.
Check in every week to see some of the work that's going on in our office.


This Week at Sonic Promos 7.22.14

Was our last "This Week at Sonic Promos" post really on June 10th? Oops! We have some catching up to do! Read on to see what we've been working on this past month.
FLUOR-LANES-Polo-Shirts Custom
These polo shirts and hats were worn by Fluor-Lanes staff at a golf tournament benefitting breast cancer awareness.
INSIDE-LACROSSE-Recruiting-Event Custom
Next Level T-shirts and red water bottles were sold or handed out at the Inside Lacrosse Recruiting Invitational summer event for high school-aged players.
NPS-Fort-Stevens-Event Custom
The National Park Service celebrated the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Fort Stevens on the weekend of July 11-13. Volunteers wore gold hats and polo shirts, and early attendees received full color fans to keep cool in the heat.

"This Week at Sonic Promos" is a regular feature on our blog.
Read all past posts here.
Check in every week to see some of the work that's going on in our office.


Recent Client Photos

Many of the marketing materials that we create at Sonic are used for specific events, and we love it when clients share photos with us after the big day. Here are some of the photos we received last week:
H-2-Capital-Partners-Mugs Custom
Max and Judah are pictured enjoying a warm drink from the mugs we printed for H/2 Capital Partners.
Monument-Realty-Bloom-Tents Custom
Monument-Realty-Bloom-Bags Custom
Monument-Realty-Bloom-Bubbles Custom
Monument-Realty-Bloom-Water Custom
On June 7th, tents, balloons, table throws, bottled water, nylon bags, T-shirts, bubbles, pens and crayons accessorized an afternoon Open House and Twilight 5K & Walk hosted by Monument Realty to promote the Bloom Montgomery Village housing community.
Aish-DC-Hot-Cold-Packs-Table Custom
Aish-DC-Hot-Cold-Pack-Table-Number Custom
These hot/cold packs served double-duty as table place cards and take-home party favors during a brunch for Aish DC.

Thank you for sharing, H/2, Monument and Aish DC, and keep the photos coming!


Good Luck, MRP Realty!

Today's post is dedicated to client MRP Realty, whose Washington Harbour property is a finalist for the 2014 TOBY Award for Best Renovated Building.
MRP-Toby-Presentation-Flash-Drives
These branded USB flash drives were used to share their on-site presentation with judges. The TOBY Awards will be held tomorrow evening, Thursday June 12th.

Best of luck, MRP and Washington Harbour!


This Week at Sonic Promos 6.10.14

Another Tuesday, another round of This Week at Sonic Promos. Read on to see a few of the items coming out of Sonic's office this week.
HanleyWood1
HanleyWood2
These materials were created for an event hosted by Hanley Wood, a real estate media firm based in Washington DC that serves the commercial and residential construction industry. The cocktail party items- napkins, mints and stirrers- were branded with the logos of sponsors like Kohler and Whirlpool. The cable kits and scarves were distributed as gifts.

"This Week at Sonic Promos" is a regular feature on our blog.
Read all past posts here.
Check in every week to see some of the work that's going on in our office.


For Broncos Fans

Do we have any Denver fans reading this blog? If so, this picture is for you:
Broncos-Super-Bowl-Shirts Custom
(source)

Whomp whomp. Sorry, that wasn't nice. We're (mostly) Redskins fans in this office, so we feel your pain. Except I'm sure a loss stings a lot more when you actually make it to the Super Bowl.

As we've written about before, the United States sends a lot of used apparel to developing countries. Sometimes even brand new apparel, as is the case with the Broncos T-shirt above.

To prepare for the buying frenzy of emotional fans post Super Bowl, merchandise must be printed and delivered days before the game's outcome is determined. The NFL used to destroy all merchandise produced for the game's loser, but thanks to an agreement with World Vision, these items now get shipped overseas to those in need. The only requirement is that merchandise be distributed outside of the United States.

So, if you're a die-hard fan determined to nab a tee for yourself, better book an international flight. Though really, who would want a memorandum of that game?

Again, sorry Denver.


This Week at Sonic Promos 6.3.14

The official start of summer may still be a few weeks away, but as far as our office is concerned, summer has already begun. Today's edition of "This Week at Sonic Promos" features two very summery projects: custom lip balm and picnic gifts. Read on for more details.
TOTALWINE LipBalm Custom
As of mid-May, you can purchase drink-flavored lip balm at Total Wine & More stores. Flavors include Margarita, Mojito, Pina Colada, Strawberry Daiquiri, Dark & Stormy and Rum & Coke. Which one would you pick?
BGC SummerPicnic Custom
Cantor Fitzgerald and BGC worked with Sonic to develop a menu of summer picnic items for use throughout the summer: boat totes, umbrellas, beach towels, beach balls, sunscreen and ear buds.

"This Week at Sonic Promos" is a regular feature on our blog.
Read all past posts here.
Check in every week to see some of the work that's going on in our office.


Best Seats in the House

Good morning! We hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. In honor of the new season, we have a fun summer-themed client project to share with you today.
Bear-Creek-Seat-Cushion Custom
Bear Creek Mountain Resort & Conference Center is sponsoring six seats at Coca-Cola Park (the ballpark of Lehigh Valley IronPigs Minor League Baseball) for the 2014 baseball season. The prize seats are designed to resemble a chair lift, and Sonic Promos assisted with customized chair pads.

During the first inning of each home game, six lucky fans will be named winners and relocated to the chair lift seats for the duration of the game. They'll also receive PA and video board recognition, a free hot dog and soda, and a branded seat cushion to take home.

Locals, take yourself out to the ballgame!


This Week at Sonic Promos 5.20.14

Good morning! Looking for product ideas for your next promotional project? Check out some of the items Sonic recently created for client events and programs.  
AAA Nascar Custom

AAA NascarTees Custom
Lanyards, totes, T-shirts, car chargers and key chain tools for AAA's NASCAR activation.
UMD Coasters Bags Custom
Debossed leather coasters and reusable tote bags for the University of Maryland's College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.
BGC MasonJars Coozies Custom
Coozies and mason jar mugs for a BGC BBQ event.

"This Week at Sonic Promos" is a regular feature on our blog.
Read all past posts here.
Check in every week to see some of the work that's going on in our office.


This Week at Sonic Promos 5.6.14

Happy Tuesday! Scroll down to read about client work that has been keeping us busy at the Sonic Promos office recently. We hope these items inspire your next project! 
WOODLANDLANDING Custom
Water bottles, tote bags and jump ropes were created for Southern Management's Woodland Landing property outreach.
SNUGGLEALL Nascar Custom
These laundry bags, tumblers, chairs and phone covers will be distributed as part of All/Snuggle's NASCAR activation.
BGC Umbrellas Custom
With all of the rain on the East Coast last week, these umbrellas for BGC were likely put to good use!

"This Week at Sonic Promos" is a regular feature on our blog.
Read all past posts here.
Check in every week to see some of the work that's going on in our office.


This Week at Sonic Promos 4.29.14

Good morning, all! We hope your work week is off to a great start. Scroll down to read about client work that has been keeping us busy at the Sonic Promos office recently. We hope these items inspire your next project! 
ESCHOOL PowerBanks Sweaters TieLines Custom
eSchool Solutions, an education software provider, recently hosted their annual Solutions Summit, this year in Denver, Colorado. Attendees received Juicebox power banks, custom bottle sweaters and handy tie lines. 
LOGMEIN Charger Notes Pocket Custom
We created phone wallets, sticky notes and emergency chargers for LogMeIn to distribute at various upcoming events.
AUSTINACES Apparel Custom
If you live in the Austin, Texas area, be sure to check out the newest Mylan World TeamTennis team, the Austin Aces. Season games begin in July, but the Aces will have a year-round presence through tennis clinics, community outreach and special events. Sonic assisted with debossed tech hoodies and embroidered Nike track jackets for the staff, as well as Next Level T-shirts and other sale merchandise. 

"This Week at Sonic Promos" is a regular feature on our blog.
Read all past posts here.
Check in every week to see some of the work that's going on in our office.


This Week at Sonic Promos 4.15.14

This week at Sonic Promos, we're working on...
KRAFT shirts hats bags
... Hats, polo shirts and cooler bags for Kraft Foods.
BSKB charger packs
... and branded pouches containing a mobile charger, wall charger, car charger and universal cord for BSKB.

"This Week at Sonic Promos" is a regular feature on our blog.
Read all past posts here.
Check in every week to see some of the work that's going on in our office.


This Week at Sonic Promos 4.8.14

This week at Sonic Promos, we're working on...
BSKB shot glasses
... Three different styles of shot glasses for BSKB.
Race4Respect
... dog tags, barricade signs and clear plastic bags for the Race for Respect, benefitting down syndrome awareness. The inaugural event took place on March 30th, but you can still make donations through April 30th here.
BGC Basketball Game
... and basketball game sets for a March Madness event hosted by BGC.

"This Week at Sonic Promos" is a regular feature on our blog.
Read all past posts here.
Check in every week to see some of the work that's going on in our office.


What Do College Kids Like? Item Ideas for 2014

Late spring is when I find myself working on client projects that target college students. Job fairs, interviews, summer internship programs, and alumni events are all on the near horizon. Whether you're recruiting them, selling to them, or entertaining them, you need to know what college kids like. For all of our clients with college on the brain, here are my favorite items for 2014:
phonecover Custom
phonecovercase Custom
These clear, stretchy gloves will protect your smart phone in wet conditions without impeding screen and speaker function. They come stored in an aluminum tube keychain that can be branded in full color.
phonestraps Custom
Phone straps and wallets are also popular this year. When you're out at night, strap your ID and debit card to your phone and leave the purse at home. I like this item as an alternative to phone skins because they fit all kinds of smart phones.
digitalrewardcards Custom
Digital reward cards aren't anything new, but they're a fantastic marketing tool, especially for college programs. If you have never used them before, digital reward cards are custom branded gift cards loaded with a reward of your choice: movie tickets, song downloads, ebook downloads, pizza, etc. To claim their reward, the user must visit your landing page and enter the unique code printed on the back of their card. If you require the user to enter their email address to claim a reward, you now have a way to contact and follow up with them post-event.
juiceboxpowerbank Custom
powerbankflashlight Custom
Power banks are a great option for offer boxes and new hire gifts. The Juicebox battery pack (top photo) will recharge an iPhone 5/5S 1.5 times off a single charge. If you want to provide connector cables too, the Squid companion (not shown) offers connectors for micro-USB and iPhone 4 & 5 devices. The black power bank shown above doubles as a flashlight- a perfect safety item for campus.
BananaFruitBuddy Custom
I don't want to promote taking fruit from the dining hall, but I'd be lying if I said I never grabbed an extra banana or apple at breakfast. Fruit is an easy snack to keep in your backpack for long days of back-to-back classes. These neoprene fruit buddies (available in pear, grape, orange, apple and banana) will keep fruit from bruising at the bottom of your bag. I also use my banana case to corral random purse items like ear buds, flash drives and charging cords.
triblendtee Custom
meegsstar Custom
Soft, comfortable T-shirts... they just keep getting better and better. I’m particularly fond of tri-blend tees from American Apparel, Next Level, Alternative Apparel and Bella + Canvas. Solid colors are classic, but prints- like the star Meegs Tank from Alternative Apparel- are popular right now too.
cablegrab Custom
Cable organizers are a practical, inexpensive and compact giveaway. If your HR team will be traveling to several job fairs this season, they'll appreciate having fewer boxes to cart around.
CooziesPrinted Custom
hoolercooler Custom
Coozies are always a crowd-pleaser. You have to expect that other companies will be offering them too, so set yours apart with a print. The chevron and seersucker patterns above are my favorites. And, if you really want to upgrade your coozie, consider the Hooler Cooler. See how it works here.
magneticbottleopener Custom
Fullcolorbottleopeners Custom
Like coozies, bottle openers are another item that many companies will choose for their recruting materials. Make sure your bottle opener gets attention by choosing something especially functional or colorful. I like the magnetic bottle cap opener because it works for both twist-off and pry-off caps. Keep it stuck on your fridge or the side of your car while tailgating.
bowtie Custom
If you're specifically targeting fraternities, or perhaps sponsoring an alumni event- think horse races, derbies and galas- custom bowties would be a HIT.
wristlet Custom
Since I mentioned fraternities, it's only fair that I put forth an idea for sororities too. Isaac Mizrahi now has a line of wristlets and bags available for promotional printing. I love this little leatherette wristlet, available in navy, sunflower yellow, off-white, metallic gold, glossy black and glossy rose pink.
rubikscube Custom
Rubik's Cubes and handheld puzzles are another good choice for job fairs. They're colorful, engaging, and a great traffic-builder. Not to stereotype here or anything, but several of my friends in engineering have commented that Rubik's Cubes are their favorite swag item.
masonjar Custom
contigodrinkware Custom
How did I get off the topic of drinking? Let's go back there for a moment... but this time we'll focus on the good kind of drinking. You know, like water and hot beverages. Hydration and caffeination. Mason jar drinkware is hugely popular this year. You'll see stainless jars, acrylic jars, jars with handles and jars with straw lids. Any of them would be well-received at a college event. For upscale drinkware (think new hire gifts), I really like Contigo's line of water bottles and tumblers. They're designed well, easy to use, and they don't leak.
sunglasses Custom
customsunglasses Custom
Sunglasses were popular in 2013, and they're still a hit in 2014. If you want a lot of them- a few thousand maybe- consider overseas production and design a really neat custom pair.
speakers Custom
moleskinenotebook Custom
customheadphones Custom
This post is getting a little long (if you're still with me, I really appreciate it!), so let's just wrap up these last three products in one paragraph. Portable speakers, Moleskine notebooks and custom headphones would all make excellent new hire gifts. They're the perfect items to accompany a student's transition from college to career.

That's all from me for now! Contact your rep at Sonic for additional items, and happy hunting! 


Need It Yesterday? Introducing PastTrack

Sonic Promos proudly announces the most significant breakthrough in the promotional marketing world since the invention of the silk screen. For the first time ever, clients will finally have the ability to get things when they really need them – yesterday.
PastTrackImage Custom
“Not a week goes by that we don’t field calls from marketing teams who have waited beyond the last minute to order their custom printed products,” explained Seth Weiner, Sonic Promos President. “Up until now, a three hour RUSH production and overnight delivery was considered about the best anyone could do.”

For the folks on the front lines – those with trade shows opening in minutes, award ceremonies just hours away, or the big race packet pickup that began at 6 a.m. - the ability to get custom decorated items the day before they remember they’re needed has a significant impact.

Seth goes on to explain, “We generally encourage people to allow 10-14 days for ordering customized goods, since almost anything can be done in that timeline. With this new PastTrack technology, if a client needed their pens at last night’s meeting, we can make it happen. No more needing to bolt out of the conference room in a panic – now, those absent minded organizers can just wait until after the event is over to place an order – that’s what I call total stress elimination!”

Amazingly, the PastTrack service has no impact on the price of the custom items. However, Weiner cautions potential users to keep the minimum shipping charge of $10,000.00 in mind when placing orders.


This Week at Sonic Promos 3.18.14

This week at Sonic Promos, we're working on...
Forrester Balm Hand Sanitizer
... lip balm, hand sanitizer, screen cleaning cloths and tablet holders for a Forrester sales conference.
Glickman Totes Cubes
... and grocery totes and puzzle cubes for Glickman Design Build.

"This Week at Sonic Promos" is a regular feature on our blog.
Read all past posts here.
Check in every week to see some of the work that's going on in our office.


Sonic Swag at SXSW 2014

SXSW 2014 kicked off last Friday, and it's pretty much all anyone will talk about in Austin until the festival ends on March 16th. Interactive concluded yesterday, just as Music began, so the blazers and messenger bags crowding city streets have been traded out for concert tees and guitar cases.
SXSW-2014 Custom
(source)

We were fortunate enough to work with several companies/organizations showing at SXSW this year, and we'd like to share some of those projects on the blog today.
LogMeIn Shirts Wristbands2
Seth worked with LogMeIn to create light-up, motion-activated wristbands and Next Level T-shirts, promoting the join.me group meeting app.
Co Bottles Cups
Co Cups Napkins Journals
Co Umbrellas Shirts Decals
Co Watches
Jamie assisted .CO with a number of items for their parties and networking events at SXSW, including stadium cups, napkins, decals, umbrellas, journals, T-shirts and watches.
STAGG Shirts
Schustermints
Jamie also worked on T-shirts and mint tins for Stagg and the Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

Want more? Check out these other Sonic blog posts:

.Co at SXSW 2013

SXSW 2012 and Trade Show Strategy