This One Time... at Brand Camp

Come for creative product campaign ideas and branding advice. Stick around for obscure movie references.

Staff Favorite Summer Drink Recipes

We all love a good cocktail at Sonic; happy hour is a favorite office pastime. In celebration of the summer solstice (several days late) and the start of summer, we thought we'd share a roundup of our favorite summery drink recipes.
classic margarita Custom

Mallory's Classic Margarita

1 shot Triple Sec

2 shots Tequila (preferably silver tequila)

0.5 shot Rose's Sweet Lime Juice

1.5 shots simple syrup

1 shot lime juice

Mix well and serve over ice.

Seth's Drunken Seth

1 liter (yes, liter) Malibu Black

1 gallon pineapple juice

Enough club soda to make it bubbly


Mix liquid ingredients and serve over ice in a glass. Makes one serving if you're Seth.
Pepino Custom

Simone's Pepino


1.5 oz. 901 Silver

0.25 oz. agave

0.75 oz. lime juice

0.5 oz. pineapple juice

0.5 oz. Cointreau

3 basil leaves

Muddle cucumber in the bottom of a tall glass. Roughly a quarter inch is right. Top with ice. Mix liquid ingredients and pour over ice. Garnish with basil leaves and a cucumber slice.
jack and ginger Custom

Jamie's Jack and Ginger, for the Ginger





Exact measurements are not required. Mix and drink.

Ellen's Fuzzy Navel

Peach Schnapps

Orange juice

Mix to your liking.
moscow mule Custom

Jen's Moscow Mule

Crushed ice

Juice from half a lime

2 oz. vodka (Tito's Handmade Vodka is recommended)

4-6 oz. ginger beer (Bundaberg is recommended)

Fill a copper mug halfway with crushed ice. Add the juice of half a lime. Add vodka, then top with ginger beer, 4-6 ounces depending on how strong you like your drink. Stir gently and enjoy.

Allie's Cucumber Martini

2 oz. vodka

0.5 oz. lime juice (roughly the juice from half a lime)

0.5 oz. simple syrup

2-3 slices of fresh cucumber

2 mint leaves

Mix all liquid ingredients in a shaker with ice. Pour into a martini glass, garnish with cucumber slices and mint leaves, and drink.
DeepEddy Custom

Lindsay's Ruby Red Sipper

1.5 oz. (1 shot) Deep Eddy's Ruby Red Vodka

Splash of St. Germain Liqueur

Fresh lemon juice

Club soda

Mint leaves

Pour vodka into a tall glass filled with ice. Top with club soda, lemon juice, and a splash of St. Germain. Stir gently. Garnish with mint leaves and sip!

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DiVine Drinkware

Blog readers, sit up straight. We've got some news for you.
DiVineDrinkware 1
For centuries, people have dismissed the desire to turn water into wine as a hopeless pursuit. Not anymore, my friends. Our agency made history this month with the introduction of DiVine Drinkware. As a result of the molecular properties infused into DiVine Drinkware polymers, ordinary water can now be transformed at the molecular level into almost any fermented grape beverage.

Each DiVine Drinkware cup (BPA free, dishwasher-safe) contains the chemical properties of a particular wine. When filled with regular water, the DiVine Drinkware activates the transformation, and the liquid instantaneously transitions into Sonic's signature merlot, a light sweet moscato, or a rustic, mid-bodied malbec.

See DiVine Drinkware in action:

During a press interview last Tuesday, Seth provided some insight into this week's product launch: "My wife owns several pairs of yoga pants and drives a minivan. Needless to say, we go through a lot of wine at our house. With the springtime holidays coming up, DiVine Drinkware stands ready to help take the edge off all that 'bonus' family time, when conspicuously carrying multiple bottles of wine might seem awkward."

Click here for the official press release.
DiVineDrinkware 3
Stay tuned for additions to our DiVine product line. We expect to roll out DiVine Beer Steins in August, just in time for the football pre-season. DiVine Shots & Rocks are scheduled to launch by Thanksgiving.

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ASI Orlando 2015: Marsha's Favorite Kid-Friendly Items

Good morning! We've got one final list of product finds from the Orlando ASI Show to share with you today. Marsha discusses kid-friendly items below. If you're catching up on our recaps, click here for Marsha's favorite bags and here for her favorite health & wellness items. I (Lindsay) will be attending a show in Dallas this week, so we will have even more ideas to share in the weeks to come. Heeere's Marsha!
Granddaughter Custom
I pay attention to children’s items, as all grandparents should, so this is a fun product category for me. My granddaughter (that's my sweetie in the above photo) and I are “girlfriends”; we watch movies together, play games, and share new clothes and jewelry. She is only three years old, yet she notices when I have on a new pair of shoes. Really?! I have another grandchild on the way, this time a boy (!!), so I will have to start paying more attention to sports.

Here are some new kid-friendly products:
Paws Claws Neoprene Lunch Bag and Bottle Custom
Paws Claws Backpack Custom
Paws Claws Storage Cube Custom
Paws Claws Lunch Bag Custom
I love the entire Paws N Claws line of animal-themed lunch bags, coolers, storage cubes and backpacks.
Even Flo Bottles Custom
Evenflo brand baby bottles are available for custom imprinting.
Paci with cap Custom
This pacifier has a cap to keep the mouthpiece clean when it's buried at the bottom of your purse or diaper bag. 
Silicone Bib Custom
Silicone bibs are so durable and easy to clean. I love the crumb-catching pocket too.
Magic art scratchers Custom
MagicPaintSheets Custom
These Magic Art Scratchers and Magic Paint Posters are perfect kid activities for a doctor's office or restaurant. No mess!

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ASI Orlando 2015: Marsha's Favorite Health & Wellness Items

We're back with another recap of Marsha's favorite products from the ASI Show in Orlando. Today's selection is health & wellness-themed. Check back tomorrow for her final post with kid-friendly items. Take it away, Marsha!
Fit Bracelet Custom
I loved this piece. It's a less expensive version of popular fitness tracking bracelets like the FuelBand, Jawbone and FitBit. This wristband will track steps, distance and calories burned. It also monitors your sleep quality, including the number of times (and length of each period) you are awake during the night. 
Heart shape hot cold pack Custom
We used gel bead hot/cold packs for several client projects last year, but I like that this version has one side covered in ultra-soft plush material. The heart is 5" x 5" in size, and there are a total of five shapes available. Easily cleaned with soap and water.
SudsNToss Custom
These soap-infused disposable towels are so handy. Just dampen with water, use, and throw away. They come in three sizes and are perfect for camping, sports, the gym, pet care (two towel sizes can be infused with dog shampoo), boating and more.
antimicrobial screen cleaner Custom
This screen cleaner uses antimicrobial microfiber to keep your tablet and phone free of bacteria and smudges. 
nurse doctor drawstring bag Custom
How cute is this bag? Choose from nurse, doctor, dentist, fire fighter, and police officer prints.
medical history journal Custom
Keep on top of your medical history with this great journal.

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ASI Orlando 2015: Marsha's Top 10 Favorite Bags

In the promotional world, New Year = new product. Per usual, our staff has been busy these past few weeks meeting with suppliers and checking out new-for-2015 bags, drinkware, apparel and more. Last year, Jamie visited THE industry show in Vegas, and I attended an industry show in Dallas. We love to report back with our favorite product finds, and this year will be no different. Marsha just returned from a show in Orlando, Florida, so we'll kick off the product recaps with her experience. Take it away, Marsha!
Marsh and Krusty Custom
I love attending the ASI industry show in Orlando. I find it to be more manageable than other shows; it only takes two days to complete, and I do not have to deal with a change in time zone. This year was an especially pleasant trip because ASI blocked off an area in Universal Studios, and attendees were able to enjoy attractions like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Men in Black Alien Attack and the Simpsons Ride. I even got a photo with Krusty the Clown.

I returned with a long list of new favorite promotional items, and I will share them on the blog over the next few days. Since I am a self-proclaimed Bag Lady, we'll start with totes and backpacks. Here are 10 that caught my eye!
1 White Essence Backpack Custom
1. I love this item because a white imprint area can be hard to find on a backpack. The base is dark and will disguise any dirt that gathers from setting it on the ground. Other available colors include black, royal, red, apple green and orange. 600D poly/ front zippered pocket /zippered main compartment/ side mesh water bottle pocket/ top grab handle/ padded, adjustable shoulder strap.
2 Messenger Bag Custom
2. Here's a messenger bag that easily attaches to your wheeled luggage. 600D/ adjustable padded shoulder strap/ front zipper pocket/ side mesh pocket/ Velcro closure. Available in beige, gray, olive or slate blue.
3 Cyclone Sports Pack Custom
3. I love the heavy-duty drawstring cord straps on this backpack. Microfiber with mesh inside zippered pocket/ built-in slot for ear buds/ reinforced eyelets. Available in gray, lime green, red or royal blue with black trim and mesh back. 
4 Marina Tote Custom
4. The colors offered with this tote are bright and reminiscent of retail trends: fuchsia, teal, gray and black. 600D/ top zippered closure/ 24” cotton handles.
5 Laptop Bag Custom
5. This laptop portfolio is slim, but it has a lot of padding. 300D/ 16” x 11” x 2 (fits a 17” laptop). Available in silver gray, royal and red. At 300 pieces, the price is just $5.99 with a one color imprint.
6 Wheeled Shopping Tote Custom
6. Nothing is better than a wheeled shopping tote. I was thankful to have a wheeled backpack during my time in Orlando so I could easily collect and carry product samples. This wheeled tote has a large main compartment with drawstring closure and a sturdy frame. The zippered pocket in the back keeps your phone within easy reach.
7 Laminated Jute Tote Custom
7. Laminated jute will be a popular trend this year. Lamination adds strength and makes the product easier to clean. I think the striped webbing gives this eco-friendly tote an upscale look. Available in red, royal and black.
8 Horizon Tote Custom
8. This bag is great for everyone. It is large enough to easily fit a beach towel. Rope handles with wrapped loop attachments are nice details.
9 PVC Trim Shoulder Bag Custom
9. I think the silver/black coloring of this bag is what appealed to me most. 600D/ soft touch PVC trim and handles/ 28” shoulder straps with pinch grip/ zippered top closure/ front zippered pocket/ zippered interior security pocket.
10 Printed Utility Tote Custom
10. I love the prints available for this round utility tote. 7 oz. cotton duck canvas/ laminated interior/ 24” handles/ collapsible wire frame opening.

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Bear Creek Mountain Resort & Conference Center

Well, hello there! Hope you're having a superb Thursday. As promised last week, I'm back to share another favorite project from 2014. Really, a series of projects. Several of these projects are winter-themed, so truly my procastination in typing up this post is more like a timely and intentional scheduling for the month of January. I am very good at this blogging thing.
Bear Creek Mascot Scarf Custom
Bear Creek Mountain Resort & Conference Center in Berks County, Pennsylvania kept us pretty busy last year. And we were happy to help! Before I move on to sharing the materials we produced for them, I have to brag a bit about this resort. During the winter (as in, right now... GO!), they offer skiing, snowboarding and tubing. When the weather warms up, you can hike, boat, and play golf of the disc and, um, golfball varieties. And, as the name suggests, it's a great location for your next corporate conference or retreat. Check out their website for more information! 

Now to discuss promotional items. You know, what you came here for.
Bear Creek Decals 1
Bear Creek Decals 2
We produce a lot of decals for Bear Creek. Some of them are given to resort guests, and others are distributed to local ski shops and ski centers.
Bear Creek Sail Sign
Bear Creek Disc Bag
Bear Creek Umbrella Scarf Lanyard
We also provide a number of items for their youth programs and sale merchandise for the gift shop. You might recognize that seat cushion from this blog post discussing their chair lift seat promotion at Coca-Cola Park last year. We even created a special scarf for their bear mascot; see the photo at the top of this post.

Thank you, Bear Creek Mountain Resort & Conference Center for the opportunity to work with you. And to all of our blog readers, please consider booking yourself a winter vacation!

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CBRE and 1000 F Street

Happy New Year, blog readers! 2015 sure seems to have arrived quickly. So quickly, in fact, that we never got around to sharing a few of our favorite projects from 2014 with you. Better late than never? Before we forge ahead into the new year, we'll take some time today and next week to reflect on these projects. Up first, CBRE's groundbreaking event at 1000 F Street.
Men Posing Custom
Back in November, Sonic produced hard hats and golden shovels for CBRE in celebration of their new development at 1000 F Street. 
CBRE hard hats Custom
CBRE Golden Shovels Custom
CBRE shovels in dirt Custom
1000 F street Custom
We were thrilled with how their items turned out and appreciated being a part of the groundbreaking. Thank you for sharing these photos, CBRE!

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The Color of Your Coffee Mug Can Affect Coffee's Taste

We think of ourselves as both coffee and coffee mug connoisseurs at Sonic, so this article in Tuesday's Washington Post caught our eye for obvious reasons. The color of your coffee mug can change the way your coffee tastes? Say what?!
In a recent study, participants were served coffee in three similarly shaped mugs of different color- one clear, one white, one blue- and asked to rate different flavor points. Drinkers commented that the coffee in the white mug tasted more intense and bitter, while the coffee from the blue and clear mugs was comparatively more sweet.

Other studies have also proven a correlation between color and how we experience food, but the reason why is still unclear. The researchers who conducted the coffee study offer one explanation:

The color brown, they believe, might be something people associate with bitterness. "The white mug may have influenced the perceived brownness of the coffee and this, in turn, may have influenced the perceived intensity (and sweetness) of the coffee," the researchers wrote. That would help explain why clear, glass coffee mugs, which dilute the color, tended to have the opposite effect.


I have long favored my red Sonic mug above all other mugs in my cabinet. I like the shape and size, and now I wonder if I also subconsciously prefer it because the red color affects how I taste my coffee.

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Drawing Inspiration from Famous Artwork

With the Thanksgiving holiday just a couple of days away, we thought we would help our readers get in the spirit with a festive photo series by artist Hannah Rothstein. The collection, titled "Thanksgiving Special", showcases plates of holiday food, artfully arranged in the styles of several famous artists. Can you guess the artists? I'll name them below.
Piet-Mondrian Custom
Vincent-van-Gogh Custom
Rene-Magritte Custom
Jackson-Pollock Custom
All photos sourced from Visit Hannah's website to see the full collection, to purchase prints and to view more of her work.

Answers: 1) Piet Mondrian 2) Vincent van Gogh 3) René Magritte 4) Jackson Pollock. Is anyone else made queasy by the Pollock plate?

This art project caught our attention because we often find ourselves looking to famous artwork for inspiration when designing promotional products. Like Rothstein, we are admirers of Piet Mondrian, and we channeled his style when creating these Sonic mobile phone wallets earlier this year.
Clever artwork can really take your marketing materials to the next level, and it doesn't always require reinventing the wheel. Find inspiration in designs that people already like and know, and adapt it to your product and branding message.

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Wipe It Down Wednesday

In an effort to reduce sick days this winter, we've instituted 'Wipe It Down Wednesday' at Sonic. The name is pretty self-explanatory, but basically, every Wednesday we grab a few antibacterial wipes and give our phones, keyboards, computer mouses (mice?) and other germy surfaces a rub-down.
Blog Health wipesb
The idea for Wipe It Down Wednesday came from our handy flu prevention tip sheet from the United Health Services Tang Center at Berkeley. Here is the full list of tips:

Wash your hands frequently using warm water and soap, scrubbing all surfaces for about 15-20 seconds. Some flu viruses can live up to two hours on surfaces such as desks, phones and door knobs. When soap and water are not available, hand sanitizers containing 60- 90% ethyl alcohol or isopropanol may be used.
Blog Health sanitizerb
Avoid touching your face, unless you have clean hands. The eyes, nose and mouth are entry ports for flu viruses.

Cover your mouth with a disposable tissue when coughing and sneezing. Dispose of tissues and wash your hands immediately.

Avoid sharing objects (cups, utensils, etc.). Wipe down shared equipment such as phones and keyboards.
Blog Health wipes2b
Get enough sleep and manage your stress. Lack of sleep and high levels of stress can reduce immune functioning, thus lowering the body’s ability to fend off colds and flu.

Drink more water. You may not feel as thirsty during fall and winter, but it’s important to make sure you don’t get dehydrated. Consume at least 8 glasses a day.

Maintain a moderate exercise program 3-4 days a week. It will strengthen the immune system and increase the body’s natural ability to fight infection.

Eat healthfully. Remember to eat the recommended 5-9 servings per day of fruits and vegetables.

Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol can be dehydrating which, in turn, may decrease your resistance.

Finally, listen to your body. Stay home if you have a fever and are coughing. You will feel better, recover faster if you rest and reduce the risk of infecting others.

Minus 'limit alcohol intake', I think we're doing pretty well at Sonic! No one has gotten sick yet- knock on wood- and we hope to keep it that way.

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