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Watches as Promotional Products

by Karen Akers

From grandmothers to inline skaters and everyone in between, all kinds of people wear watches. With the numerous styles available as promotional products today, there's one for every program.

But why should watches, like wearables, be on your short list of possible promotional products? Promotional consultant Mark Abels notes some reasons: "You don't have to worry about it sitting in a closet. A watch is something you wear every day. One of the things we've said for years is a watch is the most-watched wearable."

Try saying that five times fast. All kidding aside, your counselor can give you a ton of reasons to consider watches and show you a huge array of product choices.

Styles For Every Occasion
When you wear something every day, you can eventually tire of it. But that should be a good thing as far as your marketing efforts are concerned; most people can always use another watch, especially one they get for free.

"How many people do you know own only one watch?" Korn asks. "People need watches for all occasions." And whether you're looking for classic, high-tech, fashion, adventure, sport, fun, slim, chronograph or palm-piece types, you'll find them as promotional products.

Fun, Functional And Fashionable
What's driving the watch market right now? Here's what a few experts say:

Fashion
If you're looking for the latest styles, search no further. Promotional product watches can make style-conscious recipients happy because they keep pace with fashion. "We find ourselves sourcing based more on retail trends," Korn says. "Years ago, the promotional products industry was six months to a year behind retail trends. Now, [people] are more sophisticated; they see something in Macy's or Saks, and want the same thing now."

High quality
It's more important than ever to make sure employees feel secure and appreciated. "More and more, employers are willing to give something their employees can be proud of," Abels says. "[They're] trying to entice them to stay and keep them from looking around for another job."

Whether the watches you buy are for your employees or customers, it might be worthwhile to spend a few extra dollars for retail brand names they'll know. Bulova, Coach, Fossil, Helbros, Pulsar, Relic, Seiko and Timex are just a few familiar brand names available.

Function
While people appreciate an expensive-looking watch, they don't want to ruin it when they're out having fun. That's why many like watches that fit their lifestyles. Depending upon the message you'd like to send, rugged, multifunctional military, divers' or pilots' styles – or digital, chronograph, stopwatch or compass types – might be appropriate.

Cool colors
With the arrival of spring and summer just around the corner, the world tends to wake up with lots of bright colors. The same is true of watch styles. Fun, funky styles in the latest colors can keep your message around long after the summer's gone.

American-made
While many people don't have a preference for products made in the U.S.A., others may demand it. Consider American-made products if you work with the government (local or national), schools, transportation, manufacturing or entertainment industries, or anywhere else there's a strong union presence.

Heavy metals
Silver's futuristic look helped make it the hottest thing for millennium promotions. Now, millennium fever has died down, but silver's still stylish. "The biggest trend is toward a lot more silver," Abels says. "We [see] less gold watches, but more silver-tone and a lot more stainless steel than we used to."

The bottom line: Styles and tastes may change, but watches' popularity and effectiveness as promotional vehicles will remain unchallenged. "One of the greatest things about a watch is that it has a very high perceived value and it's something that people will use,"Abels says. "If they get it from their company as an award or recognition, they'll be proud to wear it."

You can't ask for better than that.

COPYRIGHT © 2002 The Advertising Specialty Institute. All rights reserved.
Karen Akers is associate editor of Imprint

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