Joanie Loves Tchotchkes
It’s September and next month is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so magazines across the United States are filled with breast cancer goodies.
The ad above is from Successful Promotions
magazine, a kind of in-house organ/catalog from the Advertising Specialty Institute, a trade group for the advertising specialty industry.Successful Promotions
frequently weighs in on the business value of imprinted promotional products for cause campaigns, which I’ve never found entirely persuasive.
- In March 2007 Successful Promotions highlighted a campaign to draw attention to Merck’s controversial vaccine for the human papillomavirus that causes cervical cancer. The tchotchke utilized was a bracelet-making kit targeted at teen girls.
- Also in the March issue was news of the Florida Grand Opera in Miami which gave away real stone beverage coasters on the occasion of the premier of Verdi's opera Aida.
- In November 2006 the mag gave some pub to the Verb campaign from the Centers for Disease Control, which encourages kids 8-13 to be more physically active. The tchotchke was a yellow six-inch rubber ball imprinted with a website that encouraged kids to blog about their experience.
Most trade association web sites have a research section that tells you how important they are to the world of commerce, usually in excruciating detail. Aside from a fact sheet like entry stating that more than $18 billion in advertising specialties were sold in the United States in 2006, I didn’t see a corresponding section on ASI’s website
I went looking for that missing section to answer questions like: “what role do promotional products play in business?” What proof is there that promotional products increase employee morale? Move the sales needle? Increase brand awareness or customer loaylty? Help nonprofits raise more money? Etc.
I expect that carefully-selected promotional products could help do any those things. But because of the breadth in the number and type of promotional items, how would ASI test effectiveness at a universal level?Successful Promotions
said that the Verb ball was effective. The CDC could test it because the ball had an exclusive access number imprinted on it that allowed kids full use of the website. Smart! (Although, isn't checking a fact-filled website the polar opposite of actual physical activity?)
But for every campaign that uses a promotional product well, I’ll bet there’s a million coffee mugs sold imprinted with company logos.
So here’s my question to all of you. What’s your experience using promotional products in cause-related marketing campaigns? Did it make a positive impact in your campaign? How did you measure that impact?
Please share your experience in the comments section.
Labels: cause-related marketing, imprinted promotional items