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Promotional Products for Themed Events

An Unforgettable Event
How to use promotional products to make themed events memorable

Want to make sure the next function you organize is talked about for months afterward? Consider the impact a theme will have on your audience. Whether your goal is to recognize employees, thank $125-a-plate donors, rollout a corporate initiative or celebrate a success, a carefully selected and well-executed theme that serves as the backbone of your message is certain to be remembered.

With every event, opportunities abound to incorporate a motif - from the invitation and name badges to centerpieces and thank-you-for-attending gifts. And as a corporate event/meeting planner you have access to a multitude of products to catch your audience's attention.

Consider your audience
Before you and your associates gather around the conference table to kick around possible themes, spend time thinking about who will attend the event. If you prepare a profile of the typical invitee it's bound to increase the effectiveness of your brainstorming session. What percentage of attendees are men? Women? Clients versus employees? How old are they? What is their professional status? Your profile should answer these questions and include any other demographic information you have. Many motifs are universally appropriate, but some will have a greater impact if selected specifically for your audience.

"A theme that ties your message together will have memory value for your target audience," explains Mitch Silver, Printable Promotions Director of Marketing. "People remember feelings. We encourage clients to strive to evoke positive feelings through an effective theme."

Effective brainstorming
An effective method for generating a list of themes to consider is to review our online database of products and brainstorm related messages suitable for your audience. In addition, it's a good idea to ask us for examples of how other clients have effectively incorporated promotional products into theme-based events. A few case histories follow:

Case History #1 - Trade Show
We helped the client create a multi-step direct-mail campaign to invite prospects to an upcoming trade show. Their theme: We want you to entertain the idea of using our company's products or services. They reviewed the Entertainment Theme category on our web site (with more than 50 related products to consider), and kicked off their campaign by sending prospects a chocolate ticket to the show. At their booth they greeted prospects with a Hollywood clapboard movie/action box filled with literature about their company. After prospects heard a sales presentation, the company bid them farewell with a Hollywood director's chair-shaped paperclip holder and a message indicating that they'd welcome the opportunity to direct future productions.

Case History #2 - Recognition
An event planner was charged with planning an awards dinner for his company's top salespeople. Each guest received a three-dimensional, star-shaped invitation to the "Evening with the Stars" banquet. At the event, guests were seated at tables with star-shaped candle centerpieces; each place setting included a star-shaped pin and a star-shaped box of candy. During the award presentations, the greatest achievers were presented with engraved star statuettes.

There are countless themes to consider regardless of your type of event or activity. Consider the following examples:

Sports. This theme is ideal if your department has reached a significant milestone or you have an occasion to encourage or recognize teamwork. Replicas of sporting paraphernalia are plentiful (e.g., blow-up baseball bats, basketball-shaped stress relievers) and suitable for recognizing high scorers in your organization. We also offer a vast selection of sports-related promotional products to support or reward the theme of "Go for the Goal-d."

Medical. Do your sales reps call on healthcare professionals? If so, at your next sales meeting, present them with an imprintable shirt designed to look like a doctor's white coat with paraphernalia (same concept as a tuxedo shirt); they'll make quite an impression on their next appointment. Sales calls will be even more memorable if they give prospects a Dr. Bobble Head doll, an imprinted doctor's bag stress reliever, a coffee mug featuring a handle shaped like a caduceus (the medical symbol) and a miniature die-cast ambulance imprinted with the message "we're here for your emergencies."

Music. Do you have an audience you want to persuade to listen to your pitch? Note your array of services? Take advantage of your sound strategies? Are you convinced your product or service is music to prospects' ears? (Get the idea?) If so, deliver your message along with a musical note-shaped product (e.g., a clock, pen, paperwork, compressed t-shirt, or memo clip).

Repeat your message
Strive to incorporate the theme throughout every aspect of your program. Begin by designing a logo or slogan that ties into the theme. Then make certain you incorporate the logo into the following:
  • Pre-event announcement
  • Invitation
  • Signage (i.e., directional signs at the facility where the event is being held)
  • Name badges
  • Centerpieces
  • Favors
  • Décor
  • Prize drawings.
Regardless of the theme you select, you will find imprintable products to support it. However, you'll have more options (as many as 600,000) if you rely on artwork and a slogan as well as specific products to help depict the event.

For example: A start-up technology company plans to celebrate its one-year anniversary with employees and their families and adopts a safari/jungle theme. The underlying message: we embarked on a demanding "expedition" (the development and launch of a new company), encountered many challenging situations (unforeseen "weather" conditions and unexpected competitor "inhabitants") and returned from our inaugural "safari" healthy, strong and ready for future missions.

A search for safari/jungle related products in our database will yield limited results. However, there are many ways to communicate the message outlined above (and we're happy to assist you). Consider the following:
  • A plush lion table centerpiece, sporting a T-shirt with a message about the company's determination to soon become the king of the technology jungle
  • A khaki-colored travel bag for use on future safaris (off-site meetings or visits with clients)
  • A heavy-duty, large-capacity water bottle (for particularly "hot" days in the wild business world)
As you can tell, the possibilities for adopting a theme and supporting it with promotional products are virtually endless. To make the most of it, keep your message simple, be consistent when you use it and select products your audience will deem useful and interesting. (Don't forget to enjoy the opportunity to creatively use promotional products!)

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