Wednesday 29 July 2020

Keep updated and inspired with our top blog picks for the month of July!

JEM Promotion Products

Father's day is on the 6th September, its time to take out our promotional product ideas and giveaways to appreciate all the Father's out there. Take your pick from this selection of branded Father's day gifts by JEM Promotional Products.


Society has become more and more conscious about keeping our daily items germ free. Items such as medical masks have become part of our daily life and essential to society's safety. As we live in an increasingly tech filled world check out this UV Germ-Free Phone Sterilizer Box that comes with a Wireless Charger and the blog by E-Promos.

4 Imprint Promotional Products

Stickers and magnets are some giveaways ideas that are budget friendly! Something that has become important in the promotional products industry with the hit that businesses have taken due to the global pandemic. You don't have to break your marketing budget for a great and effective marketing strategy. Find out more in this blog.

Promo Marketing Magazine

The famous furniture brand IKEA just launched their first-ever branded merchandise collection. Branded merchandise is an amazing marketing strategy to promote your brand to customers. Take inspiration from this famous label, you do not want to miss this blog!

Promo Direct - Business and Marketing Blog

As lockdowns start to ease and businesses start to resume with employees beginning to return to work, the situation and global economy recovering can be hard to navigate. Find 4 vital marketing trends you need to know to navigate the new normals in 2020.

Perfect Imprints - Creative Marketing

Covid has without a doubt changed the way we work and the environment we work in. Staying concentrated amongst the noise and distractions that come from working from home can be a challenge. In this blog find reasons why work at home earbuds make great gifts for employees.


In this blog PPAI covers Payroll Protection Program Extension, Gathering Industry Sales Data and PPAI's Rapid Re-planning Efforts. As well as steps PPAI is taking to ensure the well-being of the association. Definitely a good read for a brief update on not only the company but the industry

RC Denver - Promotional Products Blog

Virtual events are becoming the new normal amidst the global pandemic. Maximising your brand impact through promotional products and events merchandise. Check out this blog by RC Denver on the tips and tricks for your next virtual event.

Sourcing City News

Make your clients 'Virtual Visit' and a tasty one at that! Get some product news in this blog, a product topped with a customised colleague and a special message for each customer. A perfect addition to a tasty virtual visit.

The ODM Group

Perk up your sales with this promotional coffee idea. Brew excitement and hype with your customers with branded promotional giveaway. This branded promotional giveaway is one of the most wanted gift items this year. Check out this blog by ODM to find out more!

Marketing Movies

What better time to come across this blog when movie theatres are beginning to resume business. Marketing Movies is the one stop partner for all your marketing movie merchandise needs. Take a look at this blog and find ways that you can boost start the reopening of cinemas.

Monday 27 July 2020

Why choose an environmentally friendly promotional item

Examining the marketing thinking behind environmental messaging

One the most significant trends in the world of Promotional Products is the demand for items which are environmentally friendly. But, environmentally friendly products made from recycled materials or biodegradable materials tend to be more expensive than plastic based products. So why spend the extra money? What do you get in return? This is not a glib question and needs to be answered by each brand, so that you gain from the additional expenditure rather than merely jump on a trend.

1. Because you are a ‘green’ brand

Some brands are entirely focused on their environmental position. Lush Cosmetics, for example, are natural products with an eco-friendly ethos running through the whole company. From the product, the packaging, to the store lighting and the charities they support. For them, any promotional item have to be made from recycled materials from leaflets printed on recycled paper to gifts. To use anything else would be an anathema.
For some companies it is not really the additional expense of environmentally sound promotional goods but rather there is no alternative. But, you do not have to be in this position because…

2. Because you have an environmental message as well

We work with a number of brands who you would not class as ‘eco’ companies who nonetheless have a message about their Social Responsibility. Energy clients are a good example. Drax Power is known across the UK for its large scale coal fired power stations. The power stations emit huge amounts of carbon dioxide and so that puts Drax in the firing line for the environmental lobby.  But Drax has been changing to removing coal from its power stations and investing in renewables. Their issue is that their customers and potential customers do not know of their changes their issue is getting that message out.
Drax is an example of a company which has a message to communicate – one which unlike Lush is not immediately obvious. Hence, it is more important that literature and promotional items push that message out to clients, consumers and government.

3. Because we need no more plastic in the world

Other businesses may not have a particular environmental message but they do not want to be seen as adding to the problem. For them it is not a particular message that needs to be sent but rather part of a wider Social Responsibility. Not trying to look like eco-warriors but not looking to add to the problem either.
The rationale here may be more subtle – the message may be that you care for the environment, society or feel a level of social responsibility. Whilst the promotional item is important it must fit within a wider marketing and communications package. Their needs to be a consistency across all 
forms of communication.

4. Greenwash

“I have heard there are lots of customers to be won by saying you are environmentally conscious. Not sure what it all means but if I can win more business then why not?”
 Clearly the last statement was somewhat tongue in cheek but not massively. We have been asked by plastic polymer manufacturer for cotton carrier bags and have in the past been asked by a well-known burger chain for sporting products. Beware, your consumer is not stupid. There needs to be alignment. This applies to all aspects of marketing and messaging but for some reason gets lost when discussing promotional products.

5. ROI

So if investing in environmental promotional products is more expensive can there be a more quantitative justification than the arguments above. Measurement appears to be difficult although regional A/B testing may be possible on a regional basis of your spend is large enough. We also know of a company who presented two promotional gifts at an exhibition to test responses. But this is not digital marketing with masses of data. Whilst the evidence may be deemed little more than anecdotal a glance at your social media feeds will indicate the feelings of your clients if you get this wrong.

Author: David Platt Director of Pavilion Group a promotional goods distributor, including environmental products at

Thursday 16 July 2020

Will Covid 19 kill environmentally friendly promotional goods?

At the start of 2020 one of the fastest growing market sectors for promotional branded merchandise was those
products which were either recycled or non-plastic. The eco-friendly product was the one that all marketers were interested in and the product the brand wanted to use to demonstrate their social responsibility credentials.

Now 7 months later the world has changed as millions have fallen ill with Covid19. Many sectors of the
economy have come to a standstill including the events and exhibitions industry and many marketers have
found themselves either furloughed or working from home.
So what will happen as things get back to normal? What will be the new normal? Has Covid killed the ideal of
eco-friendly? Will we focus on other things or has Covid demonstrated that we can live our lives differently in a
way that does not impact the environment. Let’s examine the two sides of the argument.
1. The Optimist - the environment will be top of everyone’s agenda in 2021
We have all read the stories of the change to the environment during lock down. Cleaner air and rivers – fish in
the canals of Venice and wildlife venturing into urban streets free from cars. The BBC reported that ‘pollution
in New York has reduced by nearly 50% because of measures created to contain the virus’ and ‘coal use fell by
40% at China’s six largest power plants’  - as well as –‘China’s CO2 emissions fell 25% at the start of 2020’. 

As Kimberly Nicholas, sustainability science researcher at Lund University in Sweden told the BBC “It may be
the case that people who are avoiding travel right now are really appreciating spending time with families and
focusing on those really core priorities. These moments of crisis can highlight how important those priorities
are and help people focus on the health and well being of family, friends and community.” The argument being
that we can change our lives in quite drastic ways we can live more sustainably and we can make a difference
by the millions of small actions we take.

If this argument hold true then any promotional merchandise in the future will have to be eco-friendly. Plastic
giveaways simply become socially unacceptable like drink driving or smoking in public. The promotional goods
industry will only be able to sell products if they have proven sustainability credentials and the eco-product
goes from being a growing trend to being the norm.
2. The Pessimist – economic recovery will be top of everyone’s agenda in 2021
The National Geographic magazine reported a very different view under the heading ‘Why Covid-19 will end up
harming the environment’, in the article they interviewed Corinne Le Quéré, professor of climate change at the
University of East Anglia and lead author of the original study and subsequent update. “So as soon as the
restrictions are released, we go right back to where we were.” Now, “the risk is very high” that carbon output
could surge past pre-pandemic levels, she says, “especially since we’ve done it in the past, not very long ago.”
During the 2007-08 financial crisis, emissions dropped but then bounced back. We still have the same cars, the
same roads, the same industries, same houses.” Whilst accepting that global carbon emissions are down 17%
she fears that the rush to economic recovery will mean the environment falls from everyone’s agenda.

The National Geographic draws on a couple of examples to reinforce its case. Pointing to the financial aid given
by the US Federal Reserve to industry they quote Lukas Ross of Friends of the Earth who points to ‘companies’
pleas for cash, regulatory rollbacks and other special favours and worries that “There’s a serious risk that
polluters could emerge from this crisis bolder and potentially more profitable than ever.” The other example is
the situation in Brazil where illegal loggers have accelerated the destruction of the Amazon Rain forest while the
nation deals with the pandemic.

The danger is that the need to recover the employment levels will be far in excess of the environmental need.
For eco-friendly promotional products, which tend to be more expensive than their polluting counterparts, the
danger is clear. A rush to create economic activity will push the environment to the bottom of priorities.
Marketers will seek volume at the expense of brand authenticity.


For the promotional goods industry predicting the trends of the marketer and the brand promotion business is
a thankless task. We can only stand by our principles and listen to the needs of our customers. We can state our
environmental case in the strongest terms but we do not make buying decisions. Truth is it is likely that different
brands and companies will react in different ways.

Will Covid-19 have a lasting impact on the environment? - BBC Future –
Why COVID-19 will end up harming the environment | National Geographic – Thursday 18th June 2020 by Beth

Author: David Platt Director of a site dedicate to creating eco-friendly promotional
items and trade giveaways.

Thursday 9 July 2020

Case Study: A post Covid survival kit for In the Zone, Leyland

In the Zone, a serviced offices and business support provider in Leyland, Lancashire approached to provide them with various items they could put together as a COVID-19 survival kit for their clients.

In the Zone have been a client of for some time. BusinessGiftUK have supplied branded gifts such as branded pens and notepads to gift to their tenants, who are located at their serviced offices, or clients who use their boardroom for events. They have also supplied promotional gifts for expos such as teddy bears wearing branded t-shirts and place mats.
Return to work

As lockdown measures began to ease, In the Zone owner, Mandy Cardwell, was being contacted by tenants, keen to return to their serviced offices. To facilitate their safe return, she wanted to put together a kit to make the transition easy for clients, whilst also promoting In the Zone and the services they can provide.
BGUK and ITZ agreed that the kit should include a celebratory bottle of Prosecco (why not?), along with hygiene items such as a face mask, hand gel, wipes, tissues and gloves. For the branded gifts, we suggested a pen and notepad, which are always popular, and a sports bottle. The sports bottle was key in putting the package together; rather than use communal glasses which In the Zone haven’t been able to provide during the pandemic, each client could take ownership of their own bottle to avoid cross contamination.
The In the Zone meeting room is now available to hire again. At the time of writing, up to 4 people can safely use the room at any one time but eventually they expect to get back to the full 20 person capacity, complete with branded pads and pens for all delegates.

Customer Service

The COVID survival kits were gratefully received, and BGUK were given some wonderful feedback from the client: “Our promotional gifts have been a very effective marketing tool at networking events, and the personalised pens and pads are popular with clients who book our boardroom for meetings.  Overall, the service from is fantastic. We are always very impressed with the gifts, and the team go above and beyond.”
At, the experienced team always take time to ensure that the promotional business gifts we offer meet with our clients’ objectives.

Get in touch

For more information on how the team can help you choose branded corporate gifts that authentically reflect your business and services, get in touch. Over 35 years experience and branding know-how ensure you get the right promotional gifts to make a great first impression and leave a lasting reminder to make your business memorable.


Ben Ward, 01772 429111 –

P.S. Want an eco-friendly business gift for your next promotion? Talk to our experienced team.

Stephen WardDirector
Ad-Options Ltd t/as and
31 Momentum Place, Nook Lane, Bamber Bridge PR5 6EF
Call our experienced team on 01772 429111

Established since 1985. Members of the BPMA and Central Lancashire Business Club.
Reg. at Companies House, Cardiff  Reg. No.  3247174

Friday 3 July 2020

Don't miss June Promo Gifts Updates from Our Top 11 Picks

Promo Marketing Magazine

Spector and Co announces the newest addition to their team! Appointing Jamie Mair, who was a past client, former BDA marketing executive and co-founder of boutique merchandise agency SwervePoint as the company's new Chief Growth Officer.

4Imprint Promotional Products

Did you know? 94% of consumers say they are more likely to be loyal to a brand that offers transparency. 86% say transparency from businesses is more important now than ever before. Here are some transparent communication tips and brand giveaway ideas to keep your customers satisfied.

Sourcing City News

In Sourcing City product news we see this adorable promotional product - Cake Jar for Stars by Eat My Logo. These small 4 pack jars make the perfect snack and 'homeworker' gift to brighten anyone's day. It's a plus they look delicious too!

E Promos

One thing we have definitely learned in the past months is that social connection plays a fundamental role in many people's happiness and success - both personally and professionally. Find out the benefits of a local networking group and some tips to stay connected from e promos.

Jem Promotional Products 

Supporting local businesses during these challenging times has become more important than ever. Here is a blog by Jem Promotional Products on some Australian promotional products. Perfect if you are from the land down under.

Promo Direct

Selecting an Ideal Face Covering for Your Organisation. Face masks have become an essential item and part of our new normal. There are many types of masks that have different functions, find the perfect one that can show off your brand while keeping germs away.

Perfect Imprints

Plastics bags are not environmentally friendly and are not helpful to your brand image. Class things up with your customers by finding the right paper bags to replace plastic ones. There are more options of paper bags you can choose from than you think. Find out everything you need to know about paper bags from perfect imprints.

RC Denver

Hand sanitisers has become one of our daily essentials nationwide. There is no better time to promote your brand with branded hand sanitiser. Check out RC Denver's tips on how to pick the right one.

Marketing Gifts 

Custom Bottle Openers make great promotional gifts, because its highly utilised and portable. There's so much bottle openers can do for your brand. Especially so if you are in the drinks industry. Check out these 10 bottle opener ideas by Marketing Gifts.

The ODM Group 

Retail merchandisers know the importance of on-shelf merchandising with the goal to converse with eye-level and stimulate impulse buys. That is already half the marketing battle won with effective shelf marketing! Find out why eye-level marketing is important and some live inspiration ODM found.

Wednesday 1 July 2020

The First Virtual Edition of the Canton Fair Sparks Mixed Reviews

Tracking #CantonFair on Twitter

It has been almost 2 weeks since the 127th Canton Fair began and we are at the grand finale of the Canton Fair on 25 June. Before reading this blog be sure to check out our guest blog from Mindsparkz published at the start of the Canton Fair!

Virtual Edition of Canton Fair

The coronavirus situation has forced organisers to move China's most famous import and export trade fair (since 1957) online. This first virtual edition of the Canton Fair has sparked mixed reviews from participants. Some buyers expressed frustration in the lack of interaction, low-quality user experience and alleged photoshop images, while others said it was a good first effort.

There are definitely limitations to the Canton Fair being held online with some buyers saying that the forum was not suitable for deals and trades. One of the best things about the Canton Fair is the interaction with the products and the immediate response you get when talking to suppliers. Of course these features are not at all possible when the fair went online this year.

In this online edition exhibitors could showcase their products through online showrooms via live streams while others prerecorded their showcases. We can see why some participants were disappointed in the lack of physical interaction. Furthermore online communication was limited and slow which took away from the whole Canton Fair experiences buyer and suppliers look forward to each year.

"At this online event, you do not see anyone. There is no interaction. The whole feeling of the exhibit is not there" a buyer said.

While the whole world is forced to move most of our interactions online and some people will say that it has brought some positive impact. The Canton Fair is no exception this year. What do you think? Did you think that this year's virtual Canton Fair could have been much better? Or did you think it was a good first effort? Let us know! Send us a guest blog or interview. 

Check out Mindsparkz

Branded merchandise and promotional products make great marketing tools for brands and factories alike. Saw innovations and products you liked at the Canton Fair? Give Mindsparkz a look, she is a full-service design agency that specialises in early product development, designing high-quality promotional merchandise for global markets. She can turn your vision into reality. Check out Mindsparkz - here!

What has been Happening at the 127th #CantonFair

Aside from the negative reviews surrounding the Canton Fair let's take a look at some of what brands have been showcasing on Twitter 

Eisho Display shows us how a live stream this Canton Fair looks like behind the scenes. Even a pandemic won't be able to disrupt the ongoing of China's largest trade fair. How did your live stream look like?

Meet Hisense's H.I.D.B made for the ultimate meeting experience. See the future of television and see the incredible in this year's virtual Canton Fair. Where technology meets technology online.

Have you been seen furniture brands like Ikea adopting a virtual approach for customers to better visualise their homes with the furniture they are planning to buy? Well you'll be seeing that at Canton Fair too. Explore office furniture online visualising them from your office or the comfort of your home. 

Again where technology meets technology online. Large domestic appliances can be broadcast live from all over the world. This is one example from KONKA experience exquisite product and wonderful life through their online booth

What have Tweeters Been Saying?

As we tracked the hashtags and data sets of Tweets surrounding the Canton Fair. We formed the word cloud above from the data sets from the past 3 weeks and as the trade fair was ongoing. The sizes of the words vary from the frequency of the words, the larger the word the higher the frequency. Let’s see what the Tweets have been saying! Just from a glance we can see that the words “Online”, “InnovationsFromHome” and “live”.

Many brands showcasing their products have to do so from their home country! Canton Fair organisers have promised “around-the-clock services for online product promotion, matchmaking and business negotiations” on their official website. Each exhibitor will get to have their own live stream where they can broadcast their content around the clock during the Canton Fair. With the limitations of physical interaction and exchange the industry is making the best of the situation at hand. This is truly innovation from home! 

Top Tweeters! Do You See Yourself?

Twitter allows for direct engagement from brand to customer, start conversations, begin retweeting and get your product and exhibitions out there! Do you see yourself as part of the top influencers with #CantonFair? As this year’s Canton Fair is held online, social media engagement has become more important than ever. With the limitations of this year's fair lets continue to spread product innovation and exchanging of ideas we got from the Fair!

This year's Canton Fair has definitely been one the world has never seen before. Send us a guest blog or interview on your experience on this year's CantonFair!

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