Whatever name was given to it years after years, starting from Promotional merchandise, promotional items, promotional products, product media, promotional gifts or advertising gifts, sometimes nicknamed swag, are articles of merchandise (often branded with a logo or slogan) used in marketing and communication programs.
The first known promotional products in the United States are commemorative buttons dating back to the election of George Washington in 1789. During the early 19th century, there were some advertising calendars, rulers, and wooden specialties, but there was no organized industry for the creation and distribution of promotional items until later in the 19th century.
However, it wasn’t until the 1880s that someone realized you could create a business out of promotional products. Jasper Meek from Ohio approached a shoe store owner and suggested he use his printing machine in between editions to print a message on to free shoe bags, advertising the shoe store. Henry Beach, another Coshocton printer and a competitor of Meek, picked up on the idea, and soon the two men were selling and printing marble bags, buggy whips, card cases, fans, calendars, cloth caps, aprons, and even hats for horses.
In 1904, 12 manufacturers of promotional items got together to found the first trade association for the industry. That organization is now known as the Promotional Products Association International or PPAI, which currently has more than 10,000 global members. PPAI represents the promotional products industry of more than 22,000 distributors and approximately 4,800 manufacturers.
- Eight in 10 consumers own between one and 10 promotional products.
- Fifty-three percent of these people use a promotional product at least once a week.
- Six in 10 of them keep promotional products for up to two years.
- Only one in five people will trash an unwanted promotional product.
- Before receiving a promotional product, 55 percent of people had done business with the advertiser. After receiving a promotional product, 85 percent of people did business with the advertiser.
- With nearly six thousand impressions, bags generate more impressions than any other promotional product in the U.S.
- Thirty-one percent of U.S. consumers own a promotional bag.
- At one-tenth of a cent, bags tie with writing instruments for the lowest cost per impression of any promotional product in the U.S.
- Fifty-three percent of the time, promotional products create a more favorable impression of the advertiser.
- Forty-eight percent of consumers would like to receive promotional products more often.
- Consumers hang on to promotional products for an average of 6.6 months.
- Sixty-nine percent of consumers would pick up a promotional product if they deemed it useful.
- Sixty-three percent of consumers pass along the promotional products they no longer wish to keep.
- Eighty-nine percent of consumers can recall the advertiser of a promotional product they’d received in the last two years.
- Ninety-one percent of consumers have at least one promotional product in their kitchen, 74 percent have at least one in their workspace, 55 percent have at least one in their bedroom.
- Seventy-seven percent of consumers say a promotional product’s usefulness is the number-one reason to keep it, with health and safety products, computer products and writing instruments ranked as the most useful.
- The top five buyers of promotional products are clients in education, finance, not-for-profit, healthcare, and construction.
- Wearables are the top product category, followed by writing instruments, bags, calendars and drinkware.
- The first promotional product tradeshow was held in 1914 – there were 32 exhibitors.
- Women are more likely to have bags, writing instruments and calendars, whereas men are more likely to own shirts and caps.
- Ownership of logoed outerwear is highest in the Midwest, with 15 percent of people owning an item.
- Logoed mugs in particular are more effective advertising than radio and television spots; 57 percent of people were able to recall the advertiser on a mug, versus 32 percent of radio and 28 percent of T.V.
- Adding a promotional product to the media mix increases the effectiveness of other media by up to 44 percent.
- Promotional products draw as many as 500 percent more referrals from satisfied customers than an appeal letter alone.
Thanks for reading – Jean Pierre Francois – Business Development Manager – Digitized Logos Inc. – jean.pierre@DigitizedLogos.com