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Paws N Claws

Red Dress Pin Works As Powerful Reminder

The Heart Truth hosts its annual Red Dress Collection Fashion Show during New York’s Fashion Week each February to warn women of their number-one killer. The show is always a huge success with thousands of attendees, many notable celebrities, media personalities and fashion designers, and the event gets a boost with the effective use of branding elements.


The Heart Truth created and introduced the Red Dress as the national symbol for women and heart disease awareness in 2002, and each year at the fashion show, the hype and enthusiasm is tangible.


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Diet Coke sponsored the show, and its national promotional partner provided the branding. Banners and signs displaying the brand’s support of the Heart Truth could be seen throughout the venue, complete with spokespeople and reporters, all donning their brightest red garments. 


Brochures, pamphlets and other educational materials were handed out to attendees as well as the iconic Red Dress pin. According to Mariana Eberle-Blaylock, account director of social marketing at Ogilvy Washington, the Red Dress pin has become the organization’s staple promotional product throughout the years. 

“We give away pins at different campaigns year-round, but the fashion show is a big night for us,” Eberle-Blaylock says. “Each attendee gets a Red Dress pin and we always secure it to a postcard that lists facts and messages about heart disease. We change the messages to fit our audiences because every race faces different risks.”

Eberle-Blaylock notes that they translate all the materials into Spanish (heart disease hits Hispanic women especially hard). “The message is always customized to the audience, but the colors and symbols are the same in order to keep our Heart Truth brand consistent,” she says.


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Show attendees also received goodie bags of Diet Coke-branded products including a notebook, a straw and a bottle of the famous carbonated soft drink designed specifically for its partnership with the Heart Truth.


Although February is donned Heart Health Month, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute outreach continues throughout the year with social marketing campaigns and events. Red Dress pins, DVDs, cookbooks, fact sheets, posters and other marketing materials are distributed to communities worldwide and the organization grows every year with new partnerships and campaigns.

Promo Items Pump Up Album Sales

Making money through album sales is more difficult than ever, and strong radio play is no longer a guarantee of high earnings for artists. As it has gotten easier than ever to download a band’s new album, promotional products offer a way to encourage fans to buy the physical CD (or, increasingly, the vinyl record). 


In December, some major music acts used custom Christmas cards, including the card as a freebie for those who placed an order around the holidays. For DJ/rapper Diplo, those who bought his album received a custom T-shirt and pennant. For hip-hop group Three Loco, fans got a sticker and T-shirt.

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Singer/songwriter Josh Ritter worked with his distributor partner who designed lapel pins with a twist. Working off Ritter’s album art, which features a vintage aesthetic, the company created silver and bronze pins with an antique feel. Rock band Atom Strange went a more unconventional route, creating figurines of “Marv the Alien” – the band’s mascot – as well as alien stress balls to give out at shows.


Promotional products can help to enhance concerts and music festivals and attract more people to the event. Plus, a tour T-shirt or tote is kept as a memento, and for diehard fans, branded merchandise can turn into collectible items. 


During Rihanna’s 777 Tour, 150 journalists and guests who were invited on the tour plane received a swag bag packed with goodies including Skull Candy headphones, No Label watches and Rihanna’s own Nude perfume. The tote bag featured the tour’s logo, reading “7 countries 7 days 7 shows.”

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The tour itself received mixed responses from the journalists onboard, with reporters from Rolling Stone to New York Magazine complaining about lack of access to the singer and flight delays. The bags, however, got only rave reviews, with a number of journalists publishing photos of the prized promo totes.

Engage Employees With Team-Building Activities

A recent report by Gallup Inc. says that only 30% of full-time employed Americans are actively engaged and inspired at work. And yet, it’s the 30 million engaged employees in the U.S. that come up with “most of the innovative ideas, create most of a company’s new customers, and have the most entrepreneurial energy,” Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton writes in the report.

Keeping a team of employees happy, motivated and inspired can only be good for a firm’s relationships with its clients, and ultimately, its bottom line. Gallup’s survey indicates companies have a lot of room to grow in terms of engaging and inspiring their employees, and that’s where team-building activities and promotional products can play an important role.

As the economy continues to improve, the objectives of team building are evolving. In a better economy, “companies are more concerned about losing good people and the cost of replacing and training them,” says TeamBonding COO David Goldstein. “The goals of team building in this scenario are more about building balance and having fun at work. Companies want employees to like what they’re doing and feel like they have a purpose.” 

For example, Goldstein’s company works with a lot of technology-oriented events. The firm partnered with their ad specialty distributor and created a high-tech scavenger hunt using GPS technology for attendees at the Corporate Event Marketing Association Summit 2014 conference. 


The hunt consisted of 10 teams of 10, and each team leader used an iPad, iPhone or Android to get maps, messages and instructions about activities they needed to perform and upload. Activities included forming a letter of the alphabet with the team, jumping into a pool, and singing a song for points. The winning team received TeamBonding logoed Bluetooth speakers. Each team wore different neon-colored Malibu sunglasses to separate themselves and set their team apart.

Another of TeamBonding’s favorite team-building activities is charitable events. “This originated during the recession when some companies couldn’t necessarily justify team building, but could justify the concept of giving back,” says Goldstein. “Activities like assembling school supply backpacks or military care packages were good for the community as well as good for employees.”
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