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Tracing The History Behind The Issuing Of Promotional Merchandise
The practice of giving out of free merchandise in order to create a positive image about a brand is not as recent as many people assume. In fact, as far back as 1798, the campaign of George Washington used commemorative buttons to create awareness. Since then the practice has grown and witnessed a plethora of shifts and adoption of standards.
Despite this early start, it was not until late nineteenth century that the industry picked up in earnest, driven by the rejuvenation of the newspaper industry. It is perhaps understandable that newspaper owners who had their own printing presses saw the opportunity in providing promotional products ads printed on their pages. This gave them an extra revenue stream at a time when paper sales were low in a sluggish economy.
Then, as is the case today, the promotional products that were most popular were commonplace items that people needed. The most popular nineteenth century promotional items included such things as calendars, horse blankets, bags, fans and aprons. The use of newspapers to provide a medium of advertising such products was a stroke of genius in creating brand awareness at a period of time before the rise of radio and television.
Down the years promotional goods have come to attain an iconic status in the development of corporate brands all around the world. Other than the fact that they are practically useful in people's everyday lives, they have also come to attain a measure of historical and artistic value. They also have such versatility in them to allow any business or not-for-profit organizations use them to create sentimentality and loyalty in the marketplace of consumer products, services and ideas.
The success of any promotional campaign that makes use of these products has always been determined by strategy and proper research. Some authoritative studies have shown that close to 40% of people who receive a promotional product with a certain brand name will not forget the advertiser for a period of no less than half a year even where there has been no other mention of the name that they come across.
Today, the continued evolution of corporate gifts has moved from just targeting customers to helping companies manage productivity from within. A well established practice in this sense is the use of these products in promoting employee sales contests. A recent study has shown that sales contests stimulated by regular distribution of promotional merchandise were more effective than those that do not include the option by a factor of up to 50%.