Despite the high-tech world we live in, the British still love a freebie pen best when it comes to promotional give-aways, with a staggering 150 million pens given away in the last 12 months.
That’s the surprise findings of research by the British Promotional Merchandise Association (bpma), who wanted to establish the most popular promotional products for companies trying to get their brand or message out to the widest audience possible.
The total amount spent by companies on promotional merchandise in the UK last year was approaching £1bn and firms are happy to spend an average of up to £5 an item to get their marketing message across to consumers.
The top ten products the British public like to take home as freebies are:
1. The promotional pen
2. Branded bags
3. Electronic items (such as branded memory sticks and power banks)
4. Branded or personalised mugs
5. Promotional clothing such as tee-shirts
6. Note pads
7. Mints / sweets
8. Stress balls
9. Mouse mats
But many more unusual branded items are being given away, these include ice cream, plants, shoe polish and screen cloths.
The approaching Rugby World Cup has sparked a new demand for branded promotional items, with sponsors and brands hoping that the euphoria of the event will allow them to engage with their customers on a very personal level, trying to give them mementoes of the event that they will keep for years.
The idea of spending approaching £1bn on promotional items might seem like madness, but Gordon Glenister, director general of the bpma says that branded products have a proven marketing and economic value for companies, who are actually looking for high quality products that stand out, are useful and memorable or have a high perceived value.
“Many of our members are using technology now to personalise the promotional merchandise with people’s names alongside the brand,” said Mr Glenister. “This makes the merchandise even more valuable to the recipient and increases the probability that the company name will be visible for longer. This is why everyone from hotels to technology companies like to have their names on products like pens.”
The global head of marketing for pen manufacturer A T Cross, Melissa Chevin commented on the findings. “The A T Cross brand of fine writing instruments is inherently strong, with impressive recognition and retail presence which adds to its appeal as a memorable promotional gift with high perceived value. It’s no surprise therefore, that it features prominently in the promotional pen stakes, as the ‘go-to-brand’ for aspirational gifting solutions.”
Britain’s attachment to toys hasn’t diminished either – millions of meerkats have been given away with insurance purchases and now Brian the electronic robot and Churchill the insurance dog are growing in popularity as promotional premiums.
“Identifying a company with a robot like Brian for example and then giving away miniature versions to the public is a very cost effective and proven way of advertising. Promotional gifts work,” said Mr Glenister.
The research was published to support Promotional Products Week which is happening between the 14 -18th September 2015.