What promotional giveaways will you be branding in 2018?

Nostalgia, smartphone wallets and more: here’s our guide to the top-trending promotional giveaways for 2018.

There may only be 40-something sleeps left until Christmas, but for any keen marketer the next big date in their calendar is 14-18 January, 2018. That’s when PPAI Expo 2018 kicks off in Las Vegas and we’ll get to see the hot trends in promotional giveaways for the coming year.

However, we’ve been busy with some predictions of our own in order to give you a heads up on the biggest promo product trends for next year.

The interactive app

Augmented and virtual reality is definitely here to stay, and is set to have a huge impact on the way we present promotional giveaways in 2018 and beyond. App integration is set to completely transform the way we use promotional items by transforming them into fully interactive media that can inform, entertain and create real buzz around your message.

Smart notebooks that can transform your conference notes directly into digital copy through an associated app are one promotional VIP gift we like, these play into everything we believe a promotional gift should be – useful and functional; attractive and high quality.

But interaction is available where any image can be scanned by a smart phone and automatically open a video delivering your message, no need for USBs and the clunky journey to opening and playing your promo video with low conversion and views as a result, let us convert almost any promo product into an AR ready promotional item, scan your printed message and immediately play your video.

The ethical gift

As more and more companies commit to sustainability, environmentally friendly promotional gifts will continue to be welcome. Why? Because implicit in the exchange is the understanding that both the giver and the recipient are ethical, and concerned about their environmental impact and sustainability.

Bags for life have made a huge impact in the reduction of polythene carrier bag usage and subsequent number of bags heading to landfill & worse finding their way to the ocenas when not properly disposed of. Up next we really want to see Bottles 4 Life and Mugs 4 Life creating the same impact with reducing the numbers of single use plastic water bottles and single use take-away coffee cups. Within this booming sector there are some really nice quality products and /or options for mixing & matching colours of bottles and lids to allow us to provide you with either high quality business gifts or alternatively lower cost promo product offerings.

Image shows a great example of eco promotional products - a branded Americano re-useable take-away coffee cup
The Americano with full colour wrap print is the Ultimate Mug 4 LIfe

Focus on health and wellbeing

We’re all more health conscious and it’s a trend that isn’t going away. Health trackers will continue to be big promo news into 2018, and there’s now a new emphasis on health and mental wellbeing in the office. Gifts that tap into mindfulness like aromatherapy oils or other high-quality stress busters including art therapy books and journals make much-appreciated promotional swag.

A yoga mat is an excellent choice of promotional gift. It promotes healthy lifestyle choices, is useful to the recipient and supplies a huge print area for your brand message. With 77% of UK millennials agreeing that being healthy is the new being rich, health and wellbeing related promotional items are a savvy way to get your branding in front of your clients on a daily basis.

The key of course is to understand who is your target audience.

Nostalgia makes the old new again

One trend we’ve noticed recently is the widespread love of nostalgia. It’s all over social media with a rash of Twitter accounts and Facebook pages referencing our love for all things retro, including sweets, TV themes and childhood games. Tap into the zeitgeist with a vintage-shaped bluetooth speaker or a simple game that can then be shared with all the family.

The smartphone wallet

There’s a huge amount of buzz around the smartphone wallet and we foresee this continuing to grow in popularity as a must have promotional item. The smartphone wallet plays into our love of – and dependence on – the technological gadgets in our lives while being supremely functional. The branded silicone pocket attaches easily to the back of your smartphone to hold credit cards and hotel room keys without stripping the magnetic strip. Start thinking now about how you’ll differentiate your wallet from the rest, because this is set to be very popular next year.

Inspire a sense of adventure

Useful as office-related gadgets are, they can be a little dull. Of course, printed pens, powerbanks and USB sticks aren’t going anywhere and continue to make excellent promo gifts, but similarly to the move towards health and wellness, a gift that is useful for the great outdoors speaks to the work-life balance we all value.

Keep it as simple as a collapsible coffee cup that’s always with you when you’re on the move to a smart flashlight or multi-tool that can help out in any situation. So why not unleash the inner Bear Grylls in your customers with a thoughtful outdoorsy gift?

A retail-branded backpack

Surfing brand Animal has just entered the promotional products scene in America and its retail-branded backpack looks set to be a gamechanger. With millennials demanding retail brand products of a higher perceived value and quality, it’s a smart move by Animal and only looks set to get more popular as millennials continue to enter the workplace. Not only are retail brands popular for promotional giveaways, but the whole retail experience is set to be a powerful influence in 2018.

Create a gift set

Can’t get the gift you want off the shelf? Then create it. Bundled gift sets are set to be huge in 2018, with a focus on whatever is relevant to your organisation or your campaign, whether that’s road safety, pampering, or creating the ideal office environment. This kind of gift works best when you pay attention to the unboxing experience, which promises to be another breakout theme for promotional swag in 2018.

The ideal gift set may not exist, so let us create it,  select 3-4 gifts, brand them discretely, create a gift box to suit, laser cut a foam inlay for your gifts, wrap, and voilà the perfect bespoke gift set for your target audience.

Your most effective marketing tool

Branded merchandise is an invaluable marketing tool if it’s well thought through and a good match with your target audience. The perfect promotional gift will create that bond with your recipients, and act as a constant reminder of your business.

Invest your budget wisely – old and tired products are an ineffective use of your resources. For example, if you can only afford a pen make sure it’s a pen that’s well designed, feels good to hold and looks super stylish. Promotional items are being updated and reinvented all the time, so it makes sense to keep abreast of what’s happening so you can make informed and strategic choices.

Keep these trends in mind for your trade shows and conference events in 2018 and you’ll be sure to create a buzz around the stand with the best, most forward-facing swag in the hall!

Focus on the Target Audience and let us help you find the gift that is Useful & Desirable to them.


Chocolate Promotional Products, one of my favourites!

There are literally thousands of promotional products but some are real winner, one of my favourites are using Chocolate Promotional Products!

My first job was on a graduate training programme within the Office Products market, part of the programme was working with sales.

It struck me that sending a catalogue to a new client in the post in an envelope was exactly what all the competition would do.

So instead we starting hand delivering (that change the delivery time from all other post).

We used a printed carrier bag (that changed the packaging) instead of an envelope and inside was a catalogue, some product samples and in summer we added the treat of a bag of skittles and in the winter chocolate.

This was my first foray into using Chocolate as a sales & marketing tool and it certainly made for warmer follow-up calls.

Since entering the promotional product market I’ve realised the opportunities available with printed chocolates and confectionery items and it’s definately one of my favourites!

Little Fireworks of Happiness!

One of the key strengths to Promotional Products is their longevity, ensure a product is useful and it has the potential to hang around a long time communicating your message.

Printed chocolates and sweets are of course consumed, the packaging often discarded, although sometimes the packaging can make a useful container / pill pot.

But the use of promotional confectionery is not about ongoing promotion, it is about breaking the ice, saying thank you, building relationships, it is heart warming and cracks a smile on your customers and/or prospects’ faces.

I like our analogy of promotional products being Marketing Ninjas, they typically occupy Prime Marketing Real Estate such as your customer’s desktop, if useful they sit there everyday, being seen, being used and 24/7 deliver your brand, your logo, your message – silent ruthless marketing assassins!

Promotional sweets and chocolate promotional products however are more like little fireworks of happiness, they don’t hang around, they don’t continue to deliver that message but they do for a very short instance deliver happiness and when starting a relationship or building a relationship the little details matter.

We have many promotional sweet and printed chocolate solutions available in innovative packaging that can all be printed, there are also biscuit tins, mints, jelly beans, certainly plenty of choice.

The right Packaging for your Chocolate Promotional Products

Part of the decision making process as to the right sweets or chocolates is going to be largely influenced by the packaging available.

How the sweets and chocolate promotional products are going to be distributed will influence the choice of packaging and then narrowing the decision further will be the print requirements of the marketer and what print options either the sweet itself or the packaging offers.

If we are giving out promotional confectionery at a trade show or using a sales force to hand deliver then the size and shape of the packaging might have little bearing on the decision, however if the campaign is to create lumpy mail for a direct mail postal campaign then of course weight & size is going to have a major influence.

A Tin of Sweets, literally using a can with ring pull just like a tin of baked beans is a great form of packaging for trade shows and handing out sweets, however while certainly lumpy not necessarily the best mailer.

Chocolate Promotional Products Mailers

In our video below we love the 9 pack of Neapolitan Chocolates that will make a great addition to any mailing, we have a mortgage adviser client who adds these to his final mailing pack to his clients with all the contracts. He has of course done the deal but his little added treat is firstly unexpected and secondly just says thank you, and for Dean a major source of new clients is via referral, it can be the little things that just make the difference.

We use the Neapolitan Chocolate Squares ourselves for our own little thank yous, we send mugs to new clients after a job is complete and add to that mug a little bag of 6 printed Neapolitan Chocolate squares that always go down a treat and encourage customers to say a little thank you back. Another little firework of happiness!

In the video we also look at the box of 4 printed (scrummy!!) handmade Belgian chocolates come in a wide range of fillings and flavours! Yes the actual chocolate itself is printed! That in itself makes people stop, look, smile raise a question if at a trade show or conference. While they might not get shared, they do often get talked about!

So if you are looking to create that little firework of happiness, open doors, start an event with a smile, treat your audience with tea & chocolate, surprise and delight with a little lumpy mail then I recommend promotional sweets and printed chocolates, just remember to consider the logistics of delivery and the amount of print and we can help you narrow down the options. A good starting point is the web category: Promotional Sweets

Alternatively please just call us and we’ll find you the right printed promo sweets or chocolates for your marketing campaign, 01273 493618

If you’ve used Sweets or Chocolates we’d love to hear what you’ve used and how you presented them and have they worked?