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

Grammar Mugs: Using Promotional Products to Educate


The first thing that came to mind when I saw these mugs? They'd be perfect for an office kitchen.

We're all guilty of committing grammatical errors from time to time, and unfortunately these mistakes seem to occur most often in client emails, company-wide memos, or (cringe!) on printed T-shirts.

I think these mugs provide a clever and friendly reminder to proofread important correspondences. I know I'd rather have my morning cup of coffee correct my grammar than a grammartician coworker!


This Week at Sonic Promos 10.1.13

Happy October, everyone! To kick off the new month, here are some projects keeping us busy this week at Sonic Promos...


... bags, table runners and T-shirts for Bloom Montgomery Village.

... dry erase decals for 3 Pillar Global.

... and shoe bags for 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.


The Social-climbing Lobster: A Lesson in Branding

What sort of things come to mind when you think of lobster? Maybe you picture coastal Maine or New England, a nice restaurant, or fancy menu items like Surf & Turf or Lobster Bisque. You probably don't picture prisoners, servants and canned meat. Lobster has come a long way, and we can learn a lesson in branding from its history.

(source)

I read an interesting article this weekend called "How Lobster Got Fancy", and I encourage you to click over and read the full piece too. But, if you're pressed for time this morning, I've recapped the facts and tidbits that I found to be most interesting below.

-- Lobster is an expensive food today, and that's due to supply and demand. The price diners pay depends on how much lobstermen are able to catch, and unfortunately that price can surge as much as 18% in one year, like it did in 2012. It wasn't always this way.

-- Lobster used to be so abundant that it was thought of as a trash food. Something you would serve only to servants and prisoners, certainly not esteemed guests. People hated the look of them (I can understand that- they're pretty ugly creatures), and it was common (and cheap!) to buy lobster meat in cans. It didn't really matter that lobster meat was delicious; social influences determine our food choices more than how the food tastes. (Psst.. check out this post for another interesting article about social influences and food enjoyment.)

-- Lobsters have railroads to thank, in part, for their improved social status. Inland passengers were unfamiliar with lobster's lowbrow reputation among coastal residents, so trains began serving lobsters as an "exotic" menu item. People loved the taste and began to request it in restaurants. It also helped that around this time, chefs realized that cooking lobsters live greatly improved their flavor.

-- As lobsters became more popular, fishermen noticed a decrease in population, and so the price was driven up. The industry took a hit during the Great Depression, when no one was able to afford the dish. Thankfully, this period of time allowed the lobster population to recover slightly.

-- During WWII, lobster resurged in popularity because it wasn't rationed like other food items. People of all classes ate it frequently and loved the taste. By the 1950s, it was back to being a delicacy.

I just love that story... such a great example of smart branding!


This Week at Sonic Promos 9.24.13

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

... SmashLights for SmartBrief. A little more information on this item, since it's a fun one... SmashLights are essentially a flat flashlight that use lithium ion batteries and LED lights, giving them a shelf life of several years. Their flat shape makes them perfect for direct mail campaigns.

... folding sunglasses and erasable highlighters for Kaztronix recruiting initiatives.

... and T-shirts for UMD and VT football games, courtesy of AAA.

"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.


Specialty Tattoos for Halloween

Need an inexpensive promotional item for a Halloween event next month? We love these specialty tattoos:

Get in touch with your Account Manager at Sonic before September 30th to receive discounted pricing on glow-in-the-dark, neon, glitter and scented tattoos.

Looking for a creative way to use temporary tattoos? Look here and here.


This Week at Sonic Promos 9.18.13

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

... hula girl dolls for BGC.

... mini mint boxes for Body Glove Mobile, to be used for sales initiatives.

... and Blackjack mailer cards and power banks for a conference next month.

"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.


Blue and Green Spirals

If you're a regular reader of our blog, you might remember this post from January discussing color perception and optical illusions. I came across another example recently that I just had to share:

I'm sure you see blue and green spirals above- most of us do- but there is actually no blue in that image whatsoever. Only green.

Can't believe your eyes? Click here for a zoomed-in shot.

Optical illusions, like the one above, remind us why careful proofing is so important. Never settle for a black and white proof. Pay careful attention to how your selected imprint color looks against the actual item color.


This Week at Sonic Promos 9.10.13

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


... golf gloves and ear buds for 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.


This Week at Sonic Promos 9.3.13

Good morning, everyone! We hope you had a wonderful long weekend. Here's what we'll be working on at Sonic this week...

... bibs, hats, onesies and sippy cups for Hebrew Union College administration, to be gifted to new parents.

... "Keep Calm and Swagger On" Game Day cups and water bottles for Forrester Research.

... and erasable pens and highlighters 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.


Spin Around and Hop Backwards Three Times Before You Take a Bite

Did you know that performing a little ritual before eating something can actually make the food taste better?

Food rituals? Sounds a little strange, right? But if you think about it, I'm sure you're already practicing several "food rituals". For example, you probably sing "Happy Birthday" before cutting cake, swirl your glass and take a big sniff before sipping red wine, or ever so carefully toast a marshmallow golden brown before constructing a s'more.

In an article titled "Singing 'Happy Birthday' Makes the Cake Taste Better", Melissa Dahl reported on a recent study exploring the effects of food rituals. Apparently, when you perform a food ritual, you become more mindful of the experience and enjoy the meal/drink/snack more than you would have if you had simply dived in.

In one experiment of the study, researchers gave 52 participants a chocolate bar. Half of them were told to break and unwrap the bar in a specific way before they were allowed to take a bite. The others were permitted to eat it normally. Can you guess which group liked the taste of the chocolate more and were even willing to pay more for it? Yep, the ritual-performers.

---The reason why we enjoy food and drink more when we go through a system of rites first appears to be that we like to feel more involved in what we’re consuming. "Rituals seem to improve the consumption experience because they lead to greater involvement and interest," the authors write in the paper published this month in the journal Psychological Science. "When people perform a ritual, their intrinsic interest increases, which in turn leads to more enjoyable consumption."---

So, why all this talk about food rituals on a promotional products blog? Well, we assist our clients with edible promotions fairly regularly, and we love the idea of applying this concept to a promotional food gift.

If performing a ritual before eating something creates a more memorable experience for the eater, it follows that you'll get a better return on your investment with a food gift if you incorporate some type of fun task for the recipient.

How to do this? Here are a few examples that come to mind:

Send a gift of custom-dipped fortune cookies. You can even customize the enclosed paper fortune for added personality. The recipient will be forced to perform the mini ritual of breaking apart the cookie to retrieve their fortune, creating a more memorable and enjoyable experience.

If you are sending food towers to an office or group this holiday season, create a challenge to make it more memorable for everyone involved. Include a card that asks the recipient to guess what is in each box before opening. Whoever gets it right claims the first piece!

We're pretty Oreo-obsessed at Sonic Promos. I might even say they're our office's second favorite cookie (first place goes to the Bean Bag's soft chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin discs of heaven).

A lot of people already practice food rituals when it comes to the Oreo. Some have to dunk them in milk. Other have to separate the wafers and eat the cream first.

For a fun and memorable gift idea, send your client a box of dipped Oreo cookies, a branded milk glass, and a card detailing step-by-step instructions for perfect Oreo consumption. After all of that, they'll remember your name for sure!


This Week at Sonic Promos 8.27.13

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

... recognition gifts for Bryn Mawr College.

... golf flags for a James Vito, Inc. golf outing.

... and custom playing cards for SmolenPlevy.

"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 8.21.13

This week at Sonic Promos, we're working on several back-to-school projects...

... items for current and future "students" of the JCCGW Preschool.

... tote bags for Evergreen School.

... and discount cards for Matsunaga Elementary.

"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 8.14.13

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

... annual summer intern yearbooks for the Citizenship Law-Related Education Program (CLREP).

... and outdoor tents for Wheaton, Maryland.

"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.


Did You Know We Can...

Did you take our quiz on Wednesday? If so, here's your answer for #7!

"Promotional products" is a very broad category, and our clients are often surprised to learn just how many different items we can source and create for them.

It frequently happens that we'll work with a client for years, helping them design and implement trade show displays and giveaways, before we connect on the topic of awards and recognition. Likewise, we have customers that only think of us for apparel decoration services, unaware that we can assist with their direct mail and fulfillment needs too.

If you're already working with us on certain projects, please be sure to ask us about the following items as well:

Paper Products and Unique Business Cards

Yep, we don't just have cool business cards, we can make them for you too! Think of us for all of your office supply needs- folders, stationary, holiday cards...

Office Decor


Perhaps you've been using Sonic Promos to customize your trade show experience- I say "experience" because our abilities go far beyond booths and banners- but did you know we can brand your office too? We can help you design coasters and glassware for the board room, floor mats for the entryway, even custom seating for the reception area.

Party Favors and Supplies



Many of our corporate clients happily bring Sonic home with them. Well, that is to say, they come to us for their personal needs too. We'd be happy to print T-shirts for your kickball team, cocktail napkins and guest favors for your friend's wedding or super stylish fanny packs for an upcoming family vacation.

(source)

Food Gifts

Yep, we do edibles, and not just promotional mints and gum packs. We're talking custom-dipped cookies, food towers, meat and cheese samplers and etched wine bottles. If you send fruit baskets and boxed chocolate to your top clients on special holidays and occasions, consider working with us to make it extra special.

If there's something you need done, and you're not sure if we do it, please ask! We'll say yes!


WDSD?

Before you call anyone else, ask yourself- "WDSD?"

What Doesn't Sonic Do?

Because we do a lot. Way more than you might guess!

Here's a quick quiz for you. For each question below, identify the answer that Sonic doesn't do.






I would hope that you don't need help with questions 1-6, but we'll answer question 7 later this week!


This Week at Sonic Promos 8.6.13

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

... custom bed-shaped acrylic donation boxes for A Wider Circle. The mission of A Wider Circle is to help children and adults lift themselves out of poverty by providing home furnishings, free of charge, and leading educational workshops in shelters and schools.

... materials for Christ Fellowship's Amazing Event 2013.

... and T-shirts and hats for Newton's Noodles, a new fast casual restaurant opening in Washington D.C.

"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 8.2.13

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

... mints, ear buds, highlighters and sticky flag books for Wilmer Hale.

... journal and pen combos for the Institute for Excellence in Sales & Business Development, to be handed out at sales seminars .

... and drawstring backpacks and T-shirt party favors for a Bat Mitzvah.

"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 7.23.13

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

... photo frames for AAA in celebration of Jonathan Ogden's NFL Hall of Fame induction.

... tumblers, sticky note pads, illuminated car charges and pens for Baker Tilly's college recruiting program.

... and navy youth baseball caps for JCC MetroWest Camp Deeny Riback.

"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.


Kanye Sure Knows How to Sell a T-shirt


(source)

MSN reported on Kanye West's private label T-shirt yesterday:

Poet Thomas Tusser famously said, "A fool and his money are soon parted." But it took a $120 plain white T-shirt designed by Kanye West (with French design house A.P.C.) to prove just how many fools exist. Priced at roughly a gazillion times the cost of a regular white T-shirt, this Egyptian cotton "Hip Hop T-Shirt" bears no visible difference from a dollar-store tee. Other than the words "A.P.C. Kanye" silkscreened on the inner neckline, of course- letting only the wearer know how willing he is to throw money down the toilet.

That's some pretty perfect commentary. I'm not really sure how to add to that.

At least he used Egyptian cotton.


Summer Drinkware

If you haven't yet deduced this fact from our Facebook posts, we're pretty pro-happy hour at Sonic Promos. Especially in the summer. Is there anything better than a glass of... whatever... sipped outside during late summer daylight? We think not.

In honor of our favorite summer pastime, here are 5 drinkware items we'd gladly invite to happy hour.

Glass drinking jar. How cute are these? If you're on Pinterest, I'm sure you can think of a million and one uses for this item.

Glass jar with handle. Add a handle. Drink with greater ease.

Silicone pint glass. Glass jars are great, but if you're looking for something a little more durable, silicone is about as durable as it gets. You can bend, freeze, bake, bounce, microwave, and dish wash these puppies. They're FDA approved, non-toxic and BPA-free too. Perfect for a company picnic or for taking to the beach.

Game Day Cup. This piece has appeared on our blog more than once for good reason. We seriously love it, as do our clients and their customers and clients. Styled after the infamous red Solo cup, the Game Day Cup is double-walled and suitable for hot or cold beverages. Stain-resistant, odor-resistant and BPA-free.

Vino2Go. No summer drinkware list would be complete without the Vino2Go. For only the most sophisticated of day drinkers. We're the first to admit that this piece is pretty silly, but you can't deny it's functionality.