Promo, Brand & Marketing News

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13 Funniest April Fool’s Pranks From Big Brands


In years past, big brands have pulled some pretty clever April Fool’s shenanigans. We have to hand it to them – their off-the-wall products and bogus offerings turned out to get them some great free publicity. (We’re still laughing about these ones a year after the fact!)

Here are 13 of our favorite April Fool’s high jinx from 2013:

1. Google launches Google Nose.

The world is just a sniff away – at least with Google Nose. Touted as “Google’s flagship olfactory knowledge feature enabling users to search for smells,” this one was almost believable. Almost.

 

2. Virgin unveils glass-bottomed planes.

Leave it to Virgin to create the world’s first glass-bottomed plane. It’s terrifying and fascinating at the same time, but it’s not real (yet).

 

3. Gmail goes all blue.

Blue is better – at least when it comes to Gmail. Here’s a technology that’s six years in the making, according to the pranksters at Gmail. The future is exciting!

 

4. Barclaycard lets dogs pay with PayWag.

When your pup is craving a new bone or some fresh kibble, let him pay. That’s the idea behind the PayWag, a contactless payment device for dogs.

 

5. Scope tempts the taste buds with bacon mouthwash.

Bacon enthusiasts everywhere were hoping this was a legit product, but sadly, the bacon-flavored dental hygiene product turned out to be a hoax.

 

6. Google Maps offers “Treasure Mode.”

Google did it again with this hoax that invites people to find a pirate’s long-lost treasure by tapping into “Treasure Mode” on Google Maps. Time to strike it rich! Or not.

 

7. Snickers unveils Snickettes.

When fun-size or bite-size Snickers are just too cumbersome, open a package of Snickettes, which are basically pop-able peanuts. It’s a cute name and it’s chocolate, so we’d try it if it were real.

 

8. Sony introduces Animalia.

Got any tech-savvy pets? They’ll love Sony’s faux line of tech products for dogs, cats and hamsters. There was even a hashtag (#techforpets) for this April 1 hoax.

 

9. Samsung makes SMART Eco Trees.

If it’s from a tech brand and it features the word SMART, you can bet we’re paying attention. Only thing is, Samsung’s big new thing was just trees. That are powered by sunlight and produce oxygen. It was a good try, but they weren’t fooling anybody.

 

10. Honda introduces HondaHAIR.

Talk about the ultimate in convenience – Honda jokingly offered up the HondaHAIR, an accessory that allows for in-vehicle haircuts. Because who wouldn’t want one of those?

 

11. Twitter goes vowel-free.

Last year, the social media site unveiled Twtrr, a free consonant-only service. For regular Twitter, people were told they had to pay for their vowels. Wht??

 

12. BMW gets into the baby products market.

Remember the hype of the royal baby last summer? BMW jumped all over it with the launch of its BMW P.R.A.M. (That stands for Postnatal Royal Auto Mobile.) Marketed to those who are “too posh to push,” it’s a stroller with the works: air conditioning, two- or four-wheel drive, and a soft-top convertible. It actually sounds pretty cool.

 

13. The White House releases a video message.

Okay, it’s not a brand, but we had to include The White House in our roundup of April Fool’s Day pranks. It joined in on the fun by having internet celeb, Robbie Novak (aka Kid President), hop on the official White House YouTube channel for a special message.

 

We can’t wait to see what kind of pranks brands have up their sleeve today. Tell us: Which is your favorite April Fool’s Day hoax?


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Why Plastic Bag Bans Are A Golden Marketing Opportunity


Plastic bag bans are sweeping the globe, and whether you’re all for them or you hate the inconvenience, one thing is certain: they present a major marketing opportunity.

As more and more shoppers are left with two choices at the checkout line – pay a fee for paper bags or purchase canvas ones – custom reusable bags make more sense than ever.

People have a need for them – now. There’s no longer the option of paper or plastic for shoppers in many cities.

In California alone, there are 90 cities and counties that have banned single-use bags. On New Year’s Day, Los Angeles joined the list, becoming the largest city in the United States to ban plastic bags. See the other U.S. cities with plastic bag bans here.

Nobody wants to plunk down upwards of $4 for a canvas sack to tote home their groceries. And they certainly don’t want to pay for paper bags they’ll just throw away anyway.

custom tote bag

The best promotional gift when plastic bags are banned? Reusable bags.

So what’s a shopper to do? Bring their own bags.

Smart marketers want shoppers to be using their promotional tote bags. They know it’s not just about marketing their brand – it’s about establishing goodwill.

By giving people something they need, they naturally feel more favorable toward you. You’re helping them out. In the case of the plastic bag bans, people need a solution for transporting their purchases. Problem solved: custom tote bags.

You can get reusable bags imprinted with your logo for as low as 62 cents a bag. Not bad, especially considering that the need for these bags has just skyrocketed. In L.A., the bag ban law applies not only to grocery stores, but big-box stores such as Target and Wal-Mart as well. By July 1, the ban will also include convenience stores.

Seize the marketing opportunity created by plastic bag bans. By giving out promotional tote bags, you’ll be getting your company name out there and putting something truly useful into the hands of your audience.

Not sure where to get started? Click through ePromos’ Slideshare on custom totes.

 


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3 Ideas For Using The Pantone Color Of The Year 2014


Pantone, the global authority on color, has announced Pantone 18-3224 Radiant Orchid as its Color of the Year for 2014, replacing the 2013 color, Emerald.

The purply-pinkish hue, a “captivating, magical, enigmatic purple” according to Pantone, is set to pop up everywhere from consumer products to fashion runways.

pantone's color of the year

“It’s a little different, it’s a little off the beaten path, and it’s not a primary color,” Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, said in a news release. “It’s an invitation to innovation. The purple family offers an opportunity to do creative things.”

So how did Pantone arrive at this hue, anyway? The forecasting process begins in the spring, when Pantone’s color experts begin tracking trends.

“To arrive at the selection, Pantone quite literally combs the world looking for color influences,” the company said in a statement. “This can include the entertainment industry and films that are in production, traveling art collections, hot new artists, popular travel destinations and other socio-economic conditions.”

While last year’s Emerald was symbolic of prosperity, growth and renewal, Radiant Orchid is on the other end of the color wheel, inspiring imagination and captivating the eye.

For marketers, Pantone’s Color of the Year is an opportunity to freshen up their brands. Even if your logo and branding don’t have a hint of purple, you can still incorporate Radiant Orchid into your marketing. Here are a few ways how:

1. Give it.

One of the best ways to show that your brand is in line with the latest trends is to give promotional products in shades of purple. Pens, tote bags, mugs – there’s a world of options for every marketing campaign and every budget.

2. Wear it.

You don’t need to overhaul your corporate apparel program, but consider weaving purple into employee uniforms or your company’s apparel giveaways. When it comes to fashion, Pantone recommends pairing Radiant Orchid with turquoise, light yellow or olive green to make a bold statement.

3. Infuse it.

Add pops of purple to your store, waiting rooms, conference rooms, or website. It could be incorporating purple décor elements such as vases or artwork, or refreshing the look of your website with purple banners or buttons. The key is to subtly add touches of purple so your brand feels relevant and fresh.

What do you think of Pantone’s color selection for 2014? Will you incorporate it into your marketing?


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Custom Products Allow Domino’s Old Logo To Live On


What’s old is new again – at least for Domino’s Pizza. The pizza giant has launched a program that turns its old-logo materials into custom products.

promotional apparelRather than all those old pizza boxes and employee uniforms winding up in the trash, they’re being upcycled into some pretty cool promotional items: notebooks, scarves, quilts and more.

It’s all part of the Domino’s “Second Hand Logos” program. Ten artists were selected to repurpose Domino’s old memorabilia into keepsakes for the brand’s die-hard devotees. Their masterpieces are displayed on Domino’s Pinterest page.

custom notebooksRussell Weiner, Domino’s Chief Marketing Officer, said in an article: “We are truly giving our fans and customers the chance to own a piece of Domino’s history. It’s incredible how quickly our old logo has become cherished as a throwback, which is a credit to both our new branding direction as well as the nostalgia of the old logo.”

As if the idea isn’t cool enough, Domino’s isn’t requesting a slice of artists’ sales of the promo items. The group of artists gets to sell their handmade goods to a national audience and keep the dough. From logo t-shirts to custom notebooks, they are not holding back when it comes to awesome ecological office products.

What a smart move by Domino’s. Not only is it creating positive press by upcycling its old products, it’s ensuring that its former look lives on in the form of custom products.

Nostalgia is a powerful thing, and fans are eating it up. Domino’s had global sales of more than $7.4 billion last year, and the brand has more than eight million Facebook likes.

Does your brand have a loyal following of fans? Give them what they want: custom products.


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Five Mistakes You Might Be Making At SES NYC


SES NYC 2013It’s always an exciting week when the SES Conference & Expo comes to New York. The search and social marketing event is the place to learn about all things digital marketing.

From networking events and cocktail hours to topnotch education and a packed expo hall, SES NYC has it all.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to work to glean great pieces of knowledge at the conference.

If you want to get the most out of SES, you have to take the right approach. Here are five mistakes to avoid if you’re attending this week:

1. Not knowing your goals.

What do you want to accomplish during SES? It helps to jot down specific goals about topics you want to learn more about and questions you want to ask. The conference runs through Thursday, so try to set two to four goals a day. Then, get your conference on and hold yourself accountable for your goals.

2. Skipping out on networking events.

SES is a prime opportunity to chat with like-minded professionals, get your name out there and get to know others. Don’t stay holed up in your hotel room—make plans to attend those dinners, parties and breakfasts. Try to connect with people you don’t know, and remember: Networking is about listening and exchanging. Genuinely listen and then add something useful to the conversation.

3. Trying to commit it all to memory.

SES is chockfull of colorful experiences and ideas. It’s impossible to recount it all when you’re back in the office, so take a moment to write down the lessons. It could be a useful nugget learned after an education session. Or perhaps it was a tidbit mentioned by a colleague at lunch. The goal is to learn from each experience at SES NYC.

4. Checking in on work.

It’s a four-day conference—you don’t need to constantly be on e-mail and calling into meetings. If that was the case, you could have stayed at the office to work. Delegate what you can and tackle the rest when you get back. To maximize your SES experience, forget work while you’re here and focus on the digital marketing lessons at hand.

5. Forgetting to bring business cards.

You can’t expect people to remember you if you have nothing tangible to leave behind. Bring those business cards to SES every day. Even better if you bring small promotional products to hand out—think pens, magnets or USB drives.

As with all conferences, you get out of SES New York what you put into it. Don’t muck things up by committing these SES blunders.


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What You Can Learn From 2013’s Best Retail Brands


Best Retail Brands 2013

It’s out: Interbrand’s Best Retail Brands report for 2013. The annual report ranks the top 50 U.S. retail brands by brand value. The usuals such as Wal-Mart and Target are there, but there are also some rising stars on the list: Cabela’s and Anthropologie, for example.

Are you watching how these brands have found success? There are lessons to be learned, no matter the size of your business.

Here are four strategies to borrow from some of the brands that made the list:

1. Make your branding rock-solid.

Almost 10 years ago, Macy’s wasn’t just Macy’s. It was also Bon Marche in Florida and Marshall Field’s in Chicago. Now, it’s just Macy’s, which is working out wonderfully for the department store’s branding. Macy’s has an unwavering brand strategy throughout the U.S., and its brand value is up 62% from last year.

2. Give customers what they want.

Amazon is a prime example of how it pays to know your customers well and consistently meet their needs. Everybody wants the best deal on their purchases, whether they’re buying diapers or electronics, and Amazon offers the goods quickly and for less than many retailers. As a result, the e-commerce brand’s value skyrocketed to the #4 position on this year’s list, up from #9 last year.

3. Serve up the best-ever customer experience.

Cabela’s, the “world’s foremost outfitter,” landed on this year’s list for the first time (it claimed spot #49) because of its steadfast commitment to the customer experience. Cabela’s has become a place for outdoorsmen to shop in their own habitat. There are majestic wildlife displays right alongside miles of aisles of outdoor gear. But it’s not just about the shopping—it’s about the experience. Shoppers can tell and hear stories, and connect with people who share the same outdoor passions.

4. Strive to be inimitable.

Anthropologie, the ever-inspiring spot to shop for women’s clothing, accessories and home décor, doesn’t want to be like any other retailer. It has carved out a gorgeously unique niche, and it constantly explores ways to bring its charm to a broader audience. Anthropologie only opened 15 new stores last year (and there are less than 200 total locations), but each has a refreshingly different feel.

Promo know-how tip:

Use promotional products to help shape your brand. They can educate, inspire and motivate your audience. Our Brand Consultants are a great creative resource—reach out to them for your next campaign.