Promotional Products, or, Advertising Specialties, as they have also been known in the past, are not a new marketing trend. In fact, they predate both radio and television advertising by over a century. The first documented use of a promotional product was a commemorative button dating back to 1789, when George Washington was elected president of the United States. However, the first purely commercial use of an “advertising specialty” item, has been credited to a Coshocton, Ohio newspaper owner name Jasper Freemont Meek. He suggested to a local shoe store owner, and personal friend, Mr. Cantwell, that his business might increase if school children were given book bags imprinted with the rather direct slogan, “Buy Cantwell Shoes”, which would be seen all over town. Mr. Cantwell agreed, and a new industry was born.
Ironically, Meek’s first competitor was Henry D. Beach, another small newspaper man in Coshocton, Ohio. Both men were aggressive and wanted to be the first to create new products by printing advertisements on anything that could be run through a printing press: cloth caps, aprons, hats for horses, bags for marbles, buggy whips, card cases, calendars and fans.
Fast forward to 2015, which finds the Promotional Products Industry continuing to grow and evolve. Companies such as Blue Planet Marketing are at the forefront of this continuing evolution, helping clients by creating and sourcing unique, innovative, and cost effective Branded Merchandise Solutions to address a wide variety of marketing, safety, recognition and other challenges. And, while we have yet to be asked to provide a custom printed buggy whip, you can be assured that if and when such a request is put to us by one of our valued clients, we will be up to the task.
Have you ever received what you considered to be a rather unusual Promotional Product? If so, we would love to hear about it. Please take a minute to share it with us.