Promotional Merchandise In Action

Redbows is an Accredited Member and Charter Distributor of the British Promotional Merchandise Association. This gives us access to a set of information, research and statistics that show why promotional merchandise and advertising gifts work and the most popular items used by British businesses and organisations. The following responses were based a sample size of 1000 people, from the IT, retail services, insurance, charity and education sectors for the 2013 Market Research survey.

Products That Motivate You

Promotional Products That Motivate

Question: which promotional products are most likely to motivate you to take action or lead to a more favourable impression of the advertiser/company?

Redbows comment: whilst hampers are a special gift for holidays like Christmas and Easter, the most popular motivational products were flash drives. This is not surprising given growth in IT laptops but we wonder if Cloud computing and file sharing services like Dropbox and Google Drive will reduce the dependence on flash drives. In addition some organisations prohibit the use of flash drives as part of their security, anti-hacking and anti-virus policies.

Items Percentage
Hampers 43.0%
USB Flash drives/Memory Sticks 31.1%
Clocks and Watches 26.2%
Luggage 21.8%

Products You Keep

Promo Products You Keep

Question: which products are you most likely to keep the longest (at least 1 year)?

Redbows comment: here USB relates to any USB device including flash drives. There are a wide range of USB gadgets to choose from that are powered from the USB on a PC, laptop and even some tablets. Promotional gifts that are both durable and useful will be kept for a year or more and therefore continue to promote a company. Some promotional merchandise is almost like a consumable and giveaway and low-cost pens are a classic example of this.

Position Items
1 USB 63%
2 Mugs
3 Umbrellas
4 Clocks/Watches
5 Pens

Products To Put On Your Desk

Desktop Products

Question: what are the most prevalent products that you have on you desktop? Out of 1000 respondents there was quite a widespread response?

Redbows comment: Pens are of course the most popular item for desktops and often these can be found in a mug or pen pot or desk tidy (other great gift ideas). USB and sticky pads feature quite low down and this may be because they are kept in the drawer or a briefcase or laptop bag.

Position Items No
1 Pens 124
2 Mugs 56
3 Calendars 50
4 Mousemats 44
5 USB 29
6 Sticky Pads 23
7 Diaries 19

Initial Reactions

Marketing Reactions

Question: what are your immediate actions and reactions upon receiving a promotional product?

Redbows comment: at least 50% remember the advertiser after six months but the product must be one that is matched to the promotion and need(s) of the client if they are to keep it and use it.

% Note
46.1% like receiving promotional products that have an advertising message
61.4% generally keep the product if they like the particular product
66.9% generally keep promotional products if they have a use for them
97.7% think promotional products are not a waste of money
94.1% would like to get promotional products more often
50.5% do not forget the advertiser or product advertised after they have had the promotional product for more than six months

Media Analysis

Media Analysis

Question: in your perception which one of the following media has the best ability to make you remember the product, brand or service because you saw it more often?

Redbows comment: TV is of course the most used media channel for advertising but the power of promotional products is demonstrated by them being the second most rated channel for promotional branding at 35%.

% Media Channel
39% TV advertising
35% Promotional products
10% Online advertising
10% Print advertising
5% Direct mail

Media Actions

Media Actions

Question: in your perception, which of the following advertising media has the best ability to get you to take action?

Redbows comment: the responsive driving nature of promotional products is demonstrated here in generation an action (over 50%). This is very much dependent upon matching the right product to the audience and promotion as well as the imprint and information printed onto the gift.

% Media Channel
50.7% Promotional Products
19.4% TV advertising
11.2% Online advertising
9.8% Print advertising
8.9% Direct mail

Office Product Numbers

Favorite Office Products

Question: how many promotional products do you have on/in your office or desk?

Redbows comment: this shows the wide spread usage of promotional merchandise and that it is being used by a variety of businesses and organisations as an established marketing mix and communications tool.

% Products
88.1% At least 1
74.8% 2 or more
18.2% 5 or more

Free Products

Free Products

Question: if free promotional products are given away at an event which are you most likely to take

Redbows comment: over 50% would take the product if it was useful and again this show the need to match the right product to the event and audience.

% Products
53.9% I would take the promotional product if it was useful
20.2% I would get it regardless of it was useful
17.4% I would get the item if it was attractive
5.6% I would pick it up if I thought is was collectable
2.9% I would not pick it up

Message Recall

Message Recall

Question: which of these products if they are useful enable you to recall and advertiser or message?

Redbows comments: mugs have a large print area and are available in a range of shapes and vibrant colours as well as being able to take a full colour image and wrap around print. Mugs therefore provide a great communications and advertising medium for your brand and message. Pens and flash drives again rank highly thanks to their wide spread usefulness.

% Products
47.1% Mugs
47.1% Pens
40.6% USB Flash Drives
36.7% Calendars
35.2% Diaries or Notebooks

Promotional Response

BPMA Product Response

Question: think of one promotional item, tell us your responses based on what you remember.

Redbows comment: over 55% used the product given to them and with at least 34% a favorable impression was created. When you look at recommended, purchased and contact almost 45% took a positive action which reinforces how promotional products can influence a call to action.

% Products
55.9% Used the product several times
34.3% Favorable impression of advertiser
16.7% Recommended
15.1% Purchased
13.3% Contacted

Advertising Medium and Appreciation.

Product Appreciation

Question: which advertising medium has the ability to make me feel appreciated?

Redbows comment: people like to receive promotional products. The action creates a positive feeling which and the gift is tangible when the right gift is matched to the right audience.

% Products
64% Promotional Merchandise
11% TV
9% Direct Mail
8% Online
8% Print

Positive Reactions

Positive Reactions

Question: I feel positive when exposed to this advertising medium.

Redbows comment: promotional products come out top at 60% and they create the most positive reaction out of the listed advertising mediums, most probably due to the fact that the targeting can be very precise and match to the audience.

% Products
60.1% Promotional Products
16.9% TV
8.7% Print
7.9% Online
6.4% Direct Mail

Memory Reminders

Constant Reminders

Question: I like this medium because it is a constant reminder to me.

Redbows comment: promotional products are a form of subliminal advertising. When the recipient uses the given product they are subconsciously reminded of the brand, supplier and their marketing message.

% Products
61.1% Promotional Products
15.3% TV
9.6% Print
8% Online
6% Direct Mail

Incentive To Take Action

Take Actions

Question: this advertising medium provides me with an incentive to take an action.

Redbows comment: the responsive side of promotional products is clearly evident at over 50%.

% Products
50.7% Promotional Products
19.4% TV
11.2% Print
9.8% Online
8.9% Direct Mail

Creating Loyalty

Invoking Loyalty

Question: which advertising medium is best suited to invoking loyalty to an event or cause?

Redbows comment: to get such a high response the right promotional product has to get to the right audience. This is the essence of marketing whatever the channel or element within the marketing communications mix. Promotional products top the list at almost 59% as the advertising medium that is most likely to invoke loyalty for a cause or event.

% Products
58.6% Promotional Products
16.5% TV
8.9% Direct Mail
8.6% Online
7.4% Print

Grabbing Attention

Grabbing Attention

Question: which advertising medium allows for unique attention grabbing delivery?

Redbows comment: again promotional products come out top and at over 48% this reinforces the effect that such items can have in getting a person’s attention.

% Products
48.4% Promotional Products
22.5% TV
11.7% Online
9.4% Direct Mail
8.0% Print


The research carried out by the BPMA is part of longer-term study into the use of promotional products within the marketing mix. The results collected demonstrate how powerful promotional products are in generating a positive outcome for your brand and organisation.

If you would like to discuss any of these finding or a particular promotional marketing project please contact us.