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STUART DERRICK brings you some Christmas cheer in the shape of some rather nifty festive promotional merchandise.

ABOVE: Creative Emporium’s pad printed Rudolph Pen.

Dear Santa T

he run up to Christmas is sometimes called the ʻGolden Quarterʼ by businesses that rely on this time of the year for a large part of their turnover.

As well as obvious examples such as Christmas hampers, decoration manufacturers and the makers of Baileys, most sectors of the economy rely on having a good Christmas.

This is especially true when times are tight, as Britons traditionally still push the boat out, even when they can ill afford it. According to shopping site Kelkoo, Britain spent £68.7bn online and offline in 2010, which was an increase of £862m on the previous year. Thatʼs a chunk of change, and one that everybody from supermarkets, to pubs, restaurants and car rental firms want a slice of. So itʼs no surprise that Christmas is also a boom time for motivation and promotion in all its myriad forms. Companies want to ensure that their staff are gee-ed up for the crucial sales period, so incentives are

Christmas greetings. This Christmas there are plenty of ways to get your message across.

Physical cards remain top sellers, especially those that come with a twist. Listawood has come up with the ingenious MouseCard as a way of extending your brandʼs stay on the

messages and hearty seasonal greetings. Pens are a seasonal favourite due to their perceived value and ease of mailing, and there is something for every taste. Creative Emporium offers a pad printed Rudolph pen complete with wobbly head. At the corporate gifts end of the market, Senator supplies its sleek, sandblasted LAMY Econ or contemporary styled LAMY Studio Ballpen. They are ideal for writing all those post-Christmas thank yous.

And where would we be without pen pots? High Profileʼs Christmas range includes branded desk tidies that double as calendars.

BIG SELLER: Advent calendars from Sweet Temptations. Some include luxury chocs.

desktop. The card includes an ultra-thin mousemat which can be branded with Christmas corporate greetings. Printer Whitney Woods has a range of paper products such as cards and invitations that have novel twists. Itʼs wobbly card creates a 3-D effect that adds animation to a flat surface. It can also produce pop-up cubes that can be printed with a calendar to encourage retention.

Customised masks

One of my favourites has to be its range of masks. As well as coming in a standard Santa Claus design, they can be customised to any image you like, so particularly megalomaniacal bosses could insist that everyone wears his face to the Christmas party. That would really kick things off.

WOBBLY: 3D effects add animation and interest to greetings cards.

common. Others want to thank staff and clients for their efforts and business in the past year. And all businesses want to stay front of mind when it comes to the year ahead.

One of the great things about merchandise at Christmas is that it really does have cut through. It is arguable that with the number of companies opting for e-cards, the impact of a package landing on the desktop actually has more impact than a few years ago when the traditional card was the preferred way of extending

| 46 | November 2011

Advent calendars are another big seller at this time of year. Sweet Temptations supplies a range that include luxury chocolates behind each window. The company has a collection of festive products such as nets of toffee and fudge for sharing (or not) around the office. A traditional candy cane stuck to a personalised card makes a tasty alternative to a standard greeting card. When it comes to the office party, bunting can cheer up the most uninspiring of venues. The Hampshire Flag Company supplies it in a host of festive designs and in lengths of 10 metres. Then company will also produce Christmas banners featuring sales

The company has also come up with a range of products to help the party go with a swing. Itʼs half spoon, half fork, ʻsporkʼ enables you to eat on the go, while the buffet clip ensures you donʼt lose you glass of bubbly. And party animals will love the cocktail shaker, complete with its own shot glass. For those who are short on inspiration, there are a number of Christmas product brochures available. Wild Thang and Mid Ocean Brands both have bumper Christmas catalogues full of ideas, while the BPMA Sourcing website has its own festive selection of products. It is well worth putting in the effort to what can seem like the slightly frivolous activity of choosing a gift or card. There is a serious side to all of this jollity. As the BPMAʼs recent report into the value of merchandise concluded, promotional merchandise can deliver a higher or equal ROI than TV, radio, outdoor and print advertising. Not communicating with clients, staff and suppliers at Christmas can be a false economy, because you can bet that your competitors will be.

INGENIOUS: Listawood’s MouseCard.

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