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This One Time... at Brand Camp

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

Best of Dallas: Part 2

Happy President's Day!

We're in the office today- feeling a wee bit jealous of schools and government employees- ready to kick off the week with another recap of the ASI Show in Dallas.

If you missed Part 1 on Friday, we covered apparel and drinkware. Go read that first, then join us below to learn about new items for 2013 in audio, desk and displays. Grab some coffee too- this post is a little lengthy.

Audio

Every time I attend a show, one of the first suppliers I visit is OrigAudio. These guys know quality audio products, and they always always have something superbly cool to demo. You might remember me gushing about the Cubicool speakers in last year's Orlando recap. This year, the spotlight was on their new portable vibration speaker, the Epishock. OrigAudio has had great success with their other vibration speaker product, the Rock-It, but unlike the Rock-It, the Epishock produces excellent sound quality on any firm surface (the Rock-It works best on hollow surfaces) with ten times as much power.

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Best of Dallas: Part 1

I spent last Thursday and Friday scoping out new product at the ASI Show in Dallas. You all seemed to enjoy our recap posts after the OrlandoShow in 2012, so I made sure to snap plenty of pictures this time too.

I've got a lot to share with you, so I'll be splitting the info up across a few posts like last year. If you're not particularly interested in reading about everything from mini silicone spatulas to ladies' work apparel, I'm planning to split up the posts like so:

Friday-- Part 1: Drinkware and Apparel 

Monday-- Part 2: Desk, Audio and Displays

Wednesday-- Part 3: Health & Home, Auto and Fun

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Custom Treats

Happy Valentine's Day, all! Hopefully you're reading this before 10:00 AM and aren't yet burnt out on all things chocolate and sugary, because we've got a sweet post for you today.

Edibles is a huge category within promotional products, encompassing everything from restaurant dinner mints and personalized M&M's to holiday snack towers and cheese boards. The whole goal of promotional marketing is to put your logo on an item that people will take, keep, use and like, so candies and food items, which we all enjoy, are very popular choices. With most promotional food items, your logo is placed on the packaging or an accompanying item. I mean, you can't exactly brand a nut (or can you?), so you brand a sticky note holder or crystal bowl instead. Mints, gum, nuts- generally the imprint goes on something else. With cookies, brownies and certain other treats, however, you can get away with a direct imprint on the edible itself. Surface area isn't a limiting factor and edible inks keep the piece safe for consumption. A current favorite in our office are these chocolate dipped picture treats with sprinkle border. We're partial to the Oreo, but there are also graham crackers, Nilla wafers, brownies, marshmallows, sugar cookies, crispy rice treats and fortune cookies. Am I making your teeth hurt? Relax, here's an apple. The edible inks allow for full color artwork, and there are more than 45 sprinkle varieties available to accent your design. If you go the fortune cookie route, you can even customize the paper fortune inside.

Next time you're in the market for an edible promotion, keep these creative picture treats in mind. They're almost too pretty to eat.

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This Week at Sonic Promos 2.12.13

This week at Sonic Promos, we're working on...... laminate bags for Discover Tile in Boston.... hooded zip sweatshirts with a vintage print, coffee sleeves, bags and lanyards for the Schusterman Family Foundation.... and table throws for the Phelps School's recruiting efforts.

"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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Sonic Staff: Meet Onecan... er Julianne

Meet Julianne:How long have you been working at Sonic Promos?Well, the company came with the spouse, so I have been at least tangentially involved since 2000. I began actually coming into the office back in 2006.

What role(s) do you play here?I am the COO and have my hand in HR, accounting, marketing and sales.

Best part of the job?On the personal side, I love getting to see Seth (my husband) during the weekdays, being able to bring my dogs to work, and a flexible schedule that allows me to make it to every kid school play and parent teacher conference. On the professional side, I love when we come up with a cool image or a super witty tagline. And having clients respond to our work feels incredible. I remember one order of T-shirts where the client wrote in to say this was the first time he had seen his company name on something real- it was the realization of a lifelong dream. Pretty cool to share in that!

Worst part of the job?When I am wearing my HR hat and need to put an end to the "fun", whether it be a heated discussion that is getting a bit political (any mention of Chick-fil-A has been banned from our internal group chat) or language not appropriate for use around our high school interns. It makes me feel like a spoil sport. Also, the horrible, painful spot in the pit of my stomach when, for some reason, an order doesn't go right. The stress of waiting for the UPS truck to arrive, with minutes to spare before an event starts- just ugh!

What's your favorite kind of project to work on?I keep the T-shirts and mugs and pens from experiences in my life that have significant impact. I like doing projects where I feel like the recipient- not necessarily the client, but the person they are giving the item to- will get that same sentiment. Medals for individuals completing races, items for employee appreciation, shirts for a big conference or concert... those things hold memories for years. Memory totems, if you will.

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This Week at Sonic Promos 2.5.13

This week at Sonic Promos, we're working on...... stuffed bags for Huntington Bank's health and wellness program. The drawstring cinch packs contain a water bottle, paper mouse pad, apple stress ball and informational card.... table tents advertising Gold Eagle products.... and sticky notes, temporary tattoos, and plastic and paper bags for the Washington Kastles.

"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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Sonic Staff: Meet Seth

If you've ever worked with Sonic Promos and don't know Seth, I'd be very surprised. Still, I hope you at least learn something new with today's interview!

Meet Seth:

How long have you been working at Sonic Promos?Since Day 1. Which means close to 16 years. I'm still waiting on my gold watch.

What role(s) do you play here?I was classically trained at Juilliard. I have played MacBeth twice. I enjoyed playing Dannie in the all-male version of Annie.

Best part of the job?It's a toss-up. Either the people, the dogs or the chocolate.

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What's Hot in Corporate Apparel for 2013?

Happy Wednesday, readers! Before we get too deep into the New Year, let's talk a bit about current trends in corporate apparel. What's hot right now?

Hansel. So hot right now. Hansel.

Sorry, I couldn't resist! Please don't click away. I'll stay on topic for the rest of the post. I promise.

Performance Materials:

In polo shirts, polyester and blended materials are still very popular. These performance materials are extremely comfortable to wear and easy to care for. Look for pieces that wick sweat and absorb moisture, resist snags and stains, manage body odor, body map for temperature control, and protect from sun exposure. This isn't a style column, so I'm not going to say that cotton pique polo shirts are out- I don't think they'll ever be out; pique polo shirts are a classic and traditional look- but if you're looking to dress your employees in a sharp piece that they'll wear in and outside of the office, we recommend a performance polo. In outerwear, microfleece jackets are popular as always, but bonded knit and soft shell jackets are particular trendy. As with polyester performance polo shirts, the main appeal of bonded fleece and soft shell is comfort and durability. They're extremely warm, breathable, and water-resistant or water-proof in some cases. They also tend to be less bulky than fleece with a more stream-lined cut, so the fit is very flattering.

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Sonic Staff: Meet Jamie

Meet Jamie:How long have you been working at Sonic Promos?6 years.

What role(s) do you play here?Mainly, I work with clients on their branding needs. I oversee everything from the beginning stage of coming up with a concept to the final stage of making sure the right products are delivered with the correct imprint. I also help build our business through other avenues, such as our Premier Partners program. Have you attained that level yet?

Best part of the job?Pretty much everything. I know it's cliché, but I really do love what I do. Simply put, it's fun almost every day. I love my relationships with my clients, vendors and our Sonic team. The greatest reward is when we help develop a project from its inception and it turns out perfectly.

Worst part of the job?When a factory screws up something that is completely out of your control. We try to work with only a select group of trusted vendors, but once or twice a year, someone just makes a mistake, and it's extremely frustrating. On the bright side, though, we are almost always able to fix it in some way.

What's your favorite kind of project to work on?Complicated ones! Projects where it's not just one item, but a few that go together. Maybe a conference with a padfolio with a pen inserted and placed into a tote. Or where we take two completely separate items and group them together as a gift, like a lunch bag and water bottle. It's a little more of a challenge, and I enjoy that.

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JCCGW Mystique Mug

Tuesdays are typically reserved for a weekly roundup of client projects, but we're mixing things up today and giving the spotlight to a very special piece for the JCCGW. The Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington celebrates its centennial anniversary this year. To commemorate the occasion, we helped them create a mug with a fun twist.

When empty, the mug displays black with a white logo near the lip. Fill it up with a hot beverage to reveal a charming photo from the Center's early days. On the backside, you'll find the centennial logo. Thank you, JCCGW, for the opportunity to collaborate on such a fun piece. Congratulations on 100 years of service! We wish you hundreds more.

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"I really enjoy your company- from your efficiency to your demeanor. I can honestly say that you are the only vendor I work with that doesn't make it seem like work! Thanks for the excellent customer service and for making me laugh out loud, even on my most hectic days!"
-Suzy P.