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

Jamie's Top 10 from Las Vegas

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
LaserCutAwards Custom
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
BlueTooth1 Custom
BlueTooth2 Custom
BlueTooth3 Custom
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.

Retail-Inspired Clothing
RetailClothing Custom
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
FashionableCoverPhone Custom
FashionableCoverTablet Custom
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
MobileApps2 Custom
MobileApps Custom
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
VintageGolfTrophy2 Custom
vintagegolf2 Custom
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.

Full-Color Imprints
FullColorImprint1 Custom
FullColorImprint2 Custom
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
ImprintingDrinkwareLids1 Custom
ImprintingDrinkwareLids2 Custom
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
LaserMug1 Custom
LaserMug2 Custom
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
InitialedGolf1 Custom
InitialedGolf2 Custom
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.


This Week at Sonic Promos 1.21.14

This week at Sonic Promos, we're working on...
ZALCO Umbrellas
... umbrella gifts for Zalco Realty staff.
AUSTIN ACES Tees
... American Apparel Track Tees for the Austin Aces tennis team, to promote the 2014 inaugural season.
BBYO N FLA Convention Tees
... and T-shirts for a convention attended by BBYO North Florida.

"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 1.14.14

This week at Sonic Promos, we're working on...
SCHUSTERMAN Pens Chargers
... travel chargers and bamboo pens for the Schusterman Foundation.
COLUMBIA BOOKS iWallet
... i-Wallets for Columbia Books and Association Trends.
CANTOR Openers Wine Sets
... and bottle openers and wine sets for Cantor Fitzgerald, to be used at a trade show.

"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.


We Live in a Small World

I'm sure you've heard that donated apparel from the United States often finds its way to markets in developing countries. NPR recently published a story on the topic, and their article featured a few photos of used T-shirts in a Kenyan market.
shirt in kenya Custom
One of the shirts in the article (pictured above) appeared to be a party favor for Jennifer's Bat Mitzvah, held November 20, 1993. According to a name on the inside, the shirt once belonged to Rachel Williams.

NPR decided to put out a call to the Internet, hoping to find the original owner and close the loop on the shirt's life cycle.

Within a few days, a string of contacts and friends connected Rachel Williams and Jennifer Slaim with NPR. Here is a shot of Jennifer with an extra shirt from her event.
jennifer with shirt Custom
We live in such a small world!

All photos sourced from this NPR article


Top 13 in 2013

Tomorrow starts a brand new year. To close out 2013, we'd like to share our 13 most popular blog posts from the past twelve months. Hopefully you'll find some inspiration for projects to come. Enjoy, and thank you for another great year!
DippedTreats Custom
1) Custom Treats
Aloft AList Custom
2) Can It Be Just a Little Bit Better?
HUC Baby
3) Gift Packages for New Parents
Tab Bracelet Clip
4) The Tab Bracelet
Track Jackets
5) LogMeIn Trade Show Materials
masonjarhandle Custom
6) Summer Drinkware
Blog BakerTilly-2
7) And the SWAGger of a College Kid
jserve 2013
8) This Week at Sonic Promos 4.23.13
sunglasses Custom
9) Dollar Store
mailer Custom
10) US Congress Handbook Fall Mailer
CUPA
11) .CO at SXSW 2013
PremierPartnerCookie Custom
12) Spin Around and Hop Backwards Three Times Before You Take a Bite
Orig Epishock Custom
13) Best of Dallas: Part 2


Happy Holidays

2013SonicHolidays


This Week at Sonic Promos 12.17.13

This week at Sonic Promos, we're working on...
Schusterman Bobble 1
... filtered Bobble bottles and eco-friendly bamboo pens for the Schusterman Foundation.
Sporthealth
... and lanyards, water bottles and antimicrobial sport towels for Sport & Health.

"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 12.10.13

This week at Sonic Promos, we're working on...

... tablet covers for a BGC conference giveaway.
Body Glove Cruises
... branded materials for Body Glove Cruises.
Holiday Animals
... and holiday-themed stuffed animals for a BGC holiday party.

"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 11.26.13

This week at Sonic Promos, we're working on...

... jotters for Criswell Chevrolet to put into the glove compartments of new Corvettes.

... English and Spanish teddy bears for Montgomery College.

... and bath salts for a BGC spa party.

"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.


Sport Towels for Pedals for PANDAS

On November 22, 2013, the Wiederhorn and Flack families will host a charity ride at Zengo Cycle to raise funds and awareness for PANDAS Network, a nonprofit that facilitates research and education to advance the diagnosis and treatment of Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococci (P.A.N.D.A.S).

The event is at 7:00 PM, and you can register for the ride ($40 per bike) here.

Locals, go check it out! You might even get a nice sport towel ;-)


LogMeIn Trade Show Materials

Sonic Promos was thrilled to assist LogMeIn with materials for their booth at Dreamforce 2013, a conference for customer-driven companies hosted by Salesforce.com. The event began yesterday in San Francisco and will continue through November 21.



We created three different premiums to distribute to booth visitors: mint tins, TSA-approved Go Gear bottles and emergency travel chargers. We often recommend producing two or three "levels" of premiums for conferences and trade shows. It's a good idea to keep a small amount of high-end items on hand for especially valuable prospects.


In addition to the premiums above, we outfitted the LogMeIn staff with Nike polo shirts and track jackets.

Thank you for the opportunity, LogMeIn! Enjoy San Francisco!


This Week at Sonic Promos 11.19.13

This week at Sonic Promos, we're working on...

... T-shirts with full color imprint for the World of Montgomery Festival (we're sharing this project a little late; the event was held Sunday October 20th).


... reusable bags and 5-in-1 lint brushes for CapRelo to distribute at an event (another project shared a few days late!).

... and phone stands, pens and hand sanitizer bottles for UPFRO Associates to hand out during an Allstate conference.

"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.


Gift Packages for New Parents

2013 is pretty much the year of the baby at Sonic Promos. We've had three pregnancies in our own office, and more than a dozen of our favorite clients are on maternity leave. It's baby season, I tell ya!

I've seen many companies create branded baby items to offer expecting parents in celebration. Just a few weeks ago, we worked with Hebrew Union College to develop infant caps, bibs, onesies and sippy cups to fill gift baskets.

I think it's a wonderful gesture. And what logo doesn't look adorable on teeny, tiny baby gear?

Here's an example of a similar package from Starbucks:

(photo via http://instagram.com/eatliverun)

In addition to baby apparel and accessories, you might consider including an item for the parents too. Ground coffee, a nice BIG coffee mug, or a reading light would surely be appreciated during late night feedings and early mornings.

Congratulations to any new parents reading, especially our own Jen Keffer, Courtney Cunningham and Brandon Tillman.

Jen gave birth to beautiful Adia in early October...

... Courtney is expecting a boy, due in February 2014 (she won our office Halloween costume contest!)...

... and Brandon and his wife Lilly will become new parents in late January!


This Week at Sonic Promos 11.12.13

This week at Sonic Promos, we're working on...

... table throws, static cling decals, Nike polo shirts and banners to promote 303 Products, a Gold Eagle brand.

... wine bottle-shaped cheese boards for a wine tasting event with BGC.

... and rosewood desk sets for the Rochester Institute of Technology.

"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.


Fall Racing Season and T-shirts

Morning, all! Did anyone watch the NYC Marathon last weekend? I love tuning in to watch the elite runners compete, in any televised marathon really. They make it look so easy!

What's even more impressive is how many people participated in this year's event. 50,000 runners! Isn't that insane?

Check out some of the swag from the 2013 ING NYC Marathon:

Dunkin' Donuts distributed 15,000 fleece hats to chilly runners at the starting line. Looks like they had plenty of takers!

The official T-shirt and finisher's medal.

(source for all above photos)

Sure, I might be particularly interested in swag because it's what we live and breathe at Sonic, but these items mean a lot to plenty more people. Libby James explains it well in this article from the Coloradoan:

Runners are on their own to purchase pants, but the T-shirts they wear are another story. Since the early days of the running boom, T-shirts have been the souvenir almost always included in the price of a race entry fee. And runners love them.

In a recent scientific survey conducted among a group of seasoned runners, I learned runners favor tech or synthetic, lightweight fabric T-shirts over cotton — the fabric of choice for so many years. Runners say they fit better, don’t get smelly, breathe, have a nicer texture and stretch enough to “cover a car” according to one respondent. The few who favor cotton complain tech shirts smell funny and don’t fit well.

The runners I questioned own anywhere from five to 200 shirts, and admit that T-shirts have a habit of accumulating in dresser drawers, making them collectors by default. Some rotate through their shirts as they train and race, others have old favorites they prefer to wear over and over. Favorites become loved because of color, logo, fit, fabric and “how I look in it.” Favorites recall an especially difficult race, a memorable travel experience or provide the owner with a subtle way to brag about having completed a status race such as the Boston Marathon.

Fit is an ongoing issue. “Unisex sizing means men’s sizes,” one runner said. “Even a small men’s shirt becomes a nightgown for me. If race organizers want me to wear their shirt to advertise their race, then I need to have one that fits.” Women runners appreciate women’s sizing and tapered shirts that fit them better. Several runners mentioned liking a no shirt option and paying a lower entry fee.

T-shirts can create a bond between strangers who strike up a conversation based on a shirt. It’s fun to learn when and where a race took place, and whether or not the experience was good. “When I race in my ‘Alaska, Land of the Midnight Run’ shirt, I often hear ‘go Alaska,’” one runner shared.

What happens when T-shirt storage capacity is maxed out? Shirts get thrown away, given away, cut up for rags, transformed into quilts or find new life halfway around the world. They arrive in huge bundles and get sold on the street for pennies in Third World countries. I once saw a young man in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, proudly displaying a shirt that read, “Detroit Dance Marathon, 1995.” Who would have thought?

Occasionally races offer hats, socks, a bag, jacket or sweatshirt instead of a T-shirt as a race souvenir. And sometimes runners appreciate a change. But in the end, it’s the T-shirt most race participants covet, and that can even become a factor in deciding whether or not to participate in a race.

If you're a runner, what are your thoughts on race tees? Do you have an entire drawer of them? And what did you think of the 2013 New York City Marathon shirt?

For more reading, check out these other Sonic blog posts about racing and race swag:

What WE Get When We Race

Successful Race Promotions


On to the Next Holiday... Thanksgivukkah!

Happy November 1st, readers! And happy belated Halloween! Is everyone experiencing a sugar coma this morning like we are?

(source)

Now that Halloween is behind us, we can officially begin celebrating the next holiday. Don't you hate it when stores try to push Christmas merchandise before Halloween is even over? One holiday at a time, people!

The next holiday in queue is a special one indeed. Are you aware that the first day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving this year? It's a very rare occasion, and one we intend to celebrate fully at Sonic.


To get us all in the spirit, our art team designed a few T-shirts. Let us know if you're interested in ordering one of your own, and help us spread the Thanksgivukkah joy!


'Tis the Season for Really Fashionable Sweaters

Our focus at Sonic is this: How can we get our client's brand into the hands of their target audience, and how can we get it to stay there? Of course, client project goals are a bit more specific, but that's really the gist of it.

We pay attention to how and why people use promotional products. A few reasons off the top of my head:

1. It was in the right place at the right time. That magnet on your fridge promoting a Realtor you don't even know? It's probably there because you received it in the mail alongside a holiday card from your relatives in California. You used it to hang said holiday card, and now it's still there five years later. The magnet, that is, hopefully not the card.

2. It's especially functional. I bet you have one reusable grocery bag that you like better than all the others. Maybe it's really durable, comfortable to carry, or easy to clean. Whatever the reason, it serves a purpose, and it serves it well.

3. It holds sentimental value. A perfect example is the drawer of race T-shirts in your bedroom dresser. They've probably seen better days, but you wouldn't dare trash them. Think of the memories!

4. It's just plain fun. Just ignore the 5 packs of plain yellow sticky notes in your office drawer. These sticky notes are rainbow-colored and they come in a cute little hardcover book. Adorable!

Today's feature item- the stretchy bottle sweater- is just plain fun. If you're a fan of Sonic Promos on Facebook, you've likely seen us post photos of this piece before. We find them to be the perfect enhancement to our office cocktail hours and beverage holidays.



Choose from a variety of stock holiday designs, like the blue snowflake, brown argyle and red reindeer designs above, or create a custom knit as we did. They're very stretchy and truly fit any kind of bottle, can or glass, as you can see below in the photos of a standard 12 oz. beer bottle and liter of margarita mix.

We love the idea of a tacky [bottle] sweater campaign theme for holiday outreach.

Do you own a particularly tacky (and by tacky I mean fabulous) holiday sweater? Share a photo on our Facebook page, and we'll send you a Sonic bottle sweater!


A More Affordable Pick

Guitar picks are a popular giveaway item at music festivals, concerts and college events. We offer a wide variety of professional grade Celluloid picks (like the guitar picks for Hebrew Union College featured in yesterday's blog post), but order minimums can run a bit higher than some client projects require. If you're just looking for a small quantity of promotional picks, here's a smart solution:

Like Camp JCC, have your full color artwork printed on plastic wallet cards and use a Pick Punch to create individual picks.

(source)

You can generally punch 3-4 picks per card. Easy!


This Week at Sonic Promos 10.22.13

What have we been working on lately? Here's the scoop on two recent projects:





Scott Hartnell of the Philadelphia Flyers is pictured above in one of the jerseys we printed to promote AAA's partnership with the hockey team. Long sleeve T-shirts and blankets were also produced for this project.



A few weeks ago, we assisted Hebrew Union College with guitar picks, coffee mugs and custom playing cards to use at student events throughout the school year. These are professional grade Celluloid guitar picks, but check the blog tomorrow for a super easy (and affordable) option for promotional picks.

"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.


US Congress Handbook Fall Mailer

If you're looking for a creative theme for your next promotion, consider drawing inspiration from the current season. Sonic Promos recently assisted Columbia Books with a fall-themed direct mail campaign. Read on for more details!

Every year, Columbia Books conducts a large scale gift mailer to promote the US Congress Handbook to clients and prospects. The gift is typically seasonal, and this year's mailer focused on fall.  

Each mailer box contained a beautiful plush blanket, a set of pumpkin carving tools, three carving stencils (a donkey, an elephant and the Capitol Building) and a custom guide for local pumpkin patches.




The goal was to create a thoughtful, personal gift that would get the recipient excited about the Handbook and the festive season ahead.

Of course, I'm obsessed with all things fall, but I say, "mission accomplished!"