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Calendars: Pencil Me In!

By Charlotte Thomas

These days, our lives are chaotic and overscheduled. That's good news for purveyors of calendars. And one calendar per household isn't enough anymore. We need one for work, one for school, one for our social lives, one for our kids' social lives … you get the idea. So make a date with your ASI calendar source today.

Here's a test: From where you're sitting, count the number of calendars you can see. It's not unreasonable to assume that most people have more than one. Jenny McCarty, manager of customer service and marketing at TradeNet Publishing , has four. "I've got a monthly, a yearly that I use for shipping, one on my monitor and one that I like because it's got a pretty picture on it," she says.

In case it isn't obvious, calendars - because of their very nature - have real staying power. Not many promotional products get looked at numerous times a day - every day, day after day. We've all heard stories of businesses that stop sending out calendars, only to have customers call up and ask, "Where's the calendar you always send me every year? I thought you went out of business."

Planned Obsolescence
Chuck Pecher, president of Skinner & Kennedy Co., offers some hard-to-argue-with calendar facts: "Midnight, December 31, all calendars become obsolete," he notes.

It Takes All Kinds
Calendar selection is enormous. Calendars come in all shapes, sizes and types - from the simple "hang it on a push pin stuck into the wall" variety to magnetic calendars with business card inserts to calendar cards that take the place of holiday cards.

There are tri-folds, all-in-one calendars, note holders and photo-frame calendars that include large areas to write on/wipe off that come with a pen and clip. Did we mention multiple-color imprints, personalized ad copy, tip-in coupons and cover letters? Have we forgotten about "spiral," "twin-loop" or "stapled?" How about electronic and computer-based calendars?

Needless to say, you've got a lot to choose from.

Consider TradeNet's magnetic calendar that comes with a die cut that can be removed, leaving a picture-frame cutout for a business card. You can mail the calendar with a first class stamp. And they even give you free envelopes with the order.

The Inside Scoop
Let's talk customization. And not just the cover, but the inside pages as well. You can have a different imprint for every month - some companies offer the option of a different personalized message every day. Ideas: A stationery store could have a reminder to check your paper supply. Fire departments, hospitals, etc. can customize calendars to highlight specific work shifts. The sanitation department can note garbage collection and recycling days.

"Educational programs have really taken calendars to the next level by offering school calendars that are customized for each facility," says Donna Rosanswank, marketing director for Magna-Tel Inc. "They include very detailed information about school services - homework hotlines, important contact numbers, etc."

Some people even order more than one calendar - with different covers. And it seems that despite the proliferation of Palm Pilots and the like (although they certainly have their place), most people still want to jot dates down on paper.

"Consumers continue to incorporate new (high-tech) gadgets into their world without discarding the Photo-Mag calendar on their office filing cabinet," notes Rosanswank. "And you can bet they'll continue to use the magnetic calendar on their fridge."

The fact is, people like the "comfort zone" calendars represent. So despite a computer on every desk and an electronic organizer in every pocket or purse, the popularity of promotional calendars isn't likely to fade anytime soon. So, is it a date?

COPYRIGHT © 2002 The Advertising Specialty Institute. All rights reserved.
Charlotte Thomas is a frequent contributor to Strategic Promotional ADvantages.

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