This One Time... at Brand Camp

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

This Week at Sonic Promos 7.2.13

Take a peek at some recent client projects!

Mint boxes for Herndon, Virginia, used to promote local restaurants.

T-shirts, bags and display materials for Taste of Wheaton 2013, held last month in Wheaton, Maryland.

Golf items for BGC, to be distributed at their golf events throughout the summer.

"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.

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The Tab Bracelet

One of our favorite (and inexpensive!) items of late is this simple vinyl bracelet with tear-off tabs.

We find that they're an excellent tool to motivate and organize event attendees. As is the case with most promotional products, the power is all in how you use them. Read on to learn how this piece was used at two different events.

Family Obstacle Course-

A few months ago, Sonic staffed a table at a KazokuFit Family Obstacle Course Challenge. Every child that came to our table received sunglasses and a wristband. Each wristband had five removable tabs printed with numbers, as you see in the photo above. For each lap of the obstacle course completed, the bracelet-owner was permitted to tear off a tab and drop it into Sonic's raffle. 5 tabs, 5 potential entries. At the end of the event, we drew tabs and awarded gift cards to the prize winners.

Not only did the bracelets generate interest and draw attendees to our table, they also really motivated the kids to push themselves and complete additional laps.

Property Management Expo-

At a recent property management event, we used the tab bracelets to organize a scavenger hunt. Every person who visited the table was given a bracelet, a magnetic clip, a sticky flag booklet and the task of retrieving a promotional product from another booth at the expo. We kept a big bucket at our table to collect their promo finds.

Similar to the KazokuFit example, bracelet-wearers were allowed to tear off a tab for each promo item collected as an entry into our raffle. We gave away three prizes: a barbecue/music set, a Cosi gift card covering lunch for 10, and two Stormtech jackets.

The PMA Expo and Kazokufit Challenge were two very different events serving two very different markets- outdoor family-oriented activity versus indoor business expo- but the bracelets were a big hit at both. I think the biggest appeal, at least from our perspective, is that they helped generate conversation. Let's face it; trade shows and expos can sometimes be a little awkward. Anything that helps break the ice is a big win in our book!

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This Week at Sonic Promos 6.25.13

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

... drawstring backpacks, Malibu sunglasses and Game Day cups for Broadway Technology, to be distributed at college recruiting events this summer and fall.

... items for Vertex that were gifted to their corporate clients attending the US Open earlier this month.

... and colorful racerback tank tops and reversible pinnies for Texas Play Hard women's lacrosse league and camp.

"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.

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Ideas That Stick

Good morning, friends! I have a funny story to share with you today. Last week, I received a call from Colonial Parking in Washington DC regarding a returned transponder with a note on it. Our conversation went a little something like this-

Me- Hello?

Colonial Parking- Yes, is this Lindsay Hixson?

Me- Yes.

Colonial Parking- This is Sarah with Colonial Parking in DC. Someone found your parking transponder and returned it to me.

Me- That's weird. I don't have a parking transponder... And I haven't been downtown in months.

Colonial Parking- Well, your name, number and address is on this note.

Me- What?! How did someone get my address? Is there anything else on the note?

Colonial Parking- Yes, there's a name or note of some kind in blue ink. I can't really read it.

Me- Wait... Is my name printed or handwritten?

Colonial Parking- Printed.

Me- Okay. Yea, that transponder isn't mine. Only the sticky note is.

Colonial Parking- What do you mean?

Me- Is my name and number part of the sticky note? Does it also say "Sonic Promos"?

Colonial Parking- Yes.

Me- Right. I work in promotions. The sticky note is branded with my info, but I have nothing to do with that transponder. One of my clients must have just used a note I gave them to label the transponder. I assume it belongs to the name written in blue ink.

Colonial Parking- Ah, I see.

Me- Sorry about that! I hope you're able to find them!

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Dollar Store

You can get great results with promotional products, even on a shoestring budget. Looking for a good item under $1? Here are some of our favorites:

Flavored lip balm

Adhesive screen cleaner

Nugget car charger

Coloring and activity books

Plastic sunglasses

Mini sticky flag book

Oval car magnet

Javalina pen

Mint box

Gum envelope

Power clip

I especially like that the standard decoration method on many of these items (lip balm, car magnet, mint box, gum envelope) includes full color artwork. If you have a logo with multiple colors in it, those are great options for a tight budget. Keep in mind that screen-printed and pad-printed items often require additional color run charges, adding expense to your project.

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What WE Get When We Race

Each year on the last day of Expo East, one of our annual promotional marketing trade shows, a few brave souls get up (or stay up) at 6 AM from a night of drinking and hit the Atlantic City Boardwalk to run a 5K and raise money for a great cause. The Howard Blum 5K 4 5K raises money for the SAAGNY Foundation's various charities, including: its scholarship fund for industry children, Happiness Is Camping, a camp for children battling cancer, Hilltop School, a school for disabled children, and www.WavesforWater.org, a hurricane relief initiative.

Last year's race raised $7.500; the goal for this year's race was $10,000.

Mallory Scott and I were up bright and early to help the cause and burn off the last few drops of beer and tequila. Mallory did amazing... and I finished.

But what do the swag-makers get in their own swag bags? Funny you should ask- a lot. A whole lot. And it's the good stuff!

Event T-shirt, running hat, and retro sunglasses.

Zipper tote, drawstring backpack, and Foundation T-shirt.

Microfiber cloth, lip balm, sunscreen, mobile phone holder, safety reflector light, and first aid kit.

T-shirt shaped collapsible bottle, blender bottle, and sport bottle.

Great events and lots of great items. If you or your organization has an event coming up, and you are looking to rev up your swag bag, give us a call. We'll show you what's hot.

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This Week at Sonic Promos 5.29.13

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

... baby bibs for Sitter City with tagline- There's a Nap for That.

... full color calculators for summer interns at the Macy's office in New York City.

... and tournament T-shirts for the Mid-Atlantic Cup at the Maryland Soccerplex, Saturday June 8th through Sunday June 9th.

"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.

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And the SWAGger of a College Kid

Between college fairs in May, summer internship programs, and early planning for fall job recruiting, we've been brainstorming and creating a lot of college-friendly swag at Sonic lately. Here are some of our favorite product ideas:

Flash drives. I had a flash drive on me at all times in college. Group projects are so prevalent, it's really rare to complete an assignment using just one computer. Flash drives make it easy to bring the latest project draft from dorm to class to library, passing it off among group members as needed. If your budget will allow, I recommend going with at least 2GB of memory space. The smaller drives aren't all that desirable.

Food and drink. Free food and drink items are universal crowd-pleasers, but they're especially attractive to hungry (and cheap) college students. Energy drinks, bottled water, granola bars, gum, trail mix, candy... they're all great promo choices.

T-shirts. Quality T-shirts that is. Cheap, starchy cotton tees with a boxy fit might get passed over, but students will still snatch up a soft, well-made tee. Even better if you offer them in a few different colors and styles with a wearable design.

Digital download cards. Download cards make keeping in touch with interested students a piece of cake. In order to redeem the reward, card recipients must first enter a unique code online, giving you an opportunity to capture data, like an email address or contact number.

Tech. Tech items- like media stands, stylus pens, screen cleaners, mobile chargers and grip pads for cell phones- have been pretty popular this year. A student is never without their phone; choose a practical phone accessory for your swag lineup, and they'll never be without your logo either.

Sunglasses. Ah, bright sunglasses. If I had to pick just one promotional item to summarize 2012, this might be it. Still just as popular this year too. Go for the brightest colors you can find.


Drinkware. I like to recommend drinkware to clients attending college job fairs because it makes for a great table display. And students, well, they drink a lot. Stadium cups are inexpensive, durable, easy to stack, pack and transport. The Game Day cup (seen above- resembles a red Solo cup) has also been an extremely popular item this year. It's much nicer than a plastic stadium cup- double-walled, appropriate for hot or cold beverages- so the price point is a bit higher than you'd want to spend on a job fair giveaway. Keep it in mind for intern gifts or new hire swag!

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Sonic Mutts Strut

This Saturday, May 18th, the Rotary Club of Bethesda Chevy Chase will host its 8th Annual Strut Your Mutt Dog Parade and Festival in downtown Bethesda, MD. If you live in the area and own a dog (or just love them), be sure to swing by. In addition to the parade, enjoy dozens of vendor booths, kid-friendly games and activities, and a raffle. The event runs from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

Unfortunately, not all of us are able to attend Saturday's event, so we've opted to celebrate with a mini Mutt Strut of the Sonic dogs, here on our blog.

Lexi and Sade- belong to Seth and Julianne

Banjo- belongs to Courtney

Blaze- belongs to Debbie

Griff- belongs to Josh

Jordan- belongs to Brandon

Oscar- belongs to Debbie

Renley- belongs to Lindsay

Simba- belongs to Jamie

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This Week at Sonic Promos 5.14.13

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

... foldaway bags to promote the Citi Open.

... coolers for the launch of a new product by Sigma-Tau.

... and ear buds, Cubicool speakers, jelly bean jars, coffee tumblers, and media stands for Baker Tilly's employee referral program.

"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.

Continue reading
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