20 PPAI Pyramid-Winning Programs Share The Ins And Outs Of Their Sweet Success

For almost 60 years, the PPAI Pyramid award has been the award to win, because it’s the ultimate recognition for distributor excellence in promotional program creativity, strategy and results.

At The PPAI Expo in January, 38 distributor companies (and one supplier company in the collaboration category) took home the coveted Pyramid trophy marking their achievement as gold, silver and bronze winners.

Their win is your gain for inspired campaign ideas. Read on to learn the behind-the-scenes strategy and execution that went into 20 of the gold and silver award-winning programs.

Gold Winners

Category: Business-To-Business

Distributor: Chilli Promotions

Type of client: Pharmaceutical and health care

Target audience: 12,000 influencers such as pet store staff, vet practices and veterinary nurses who, through access to education, were able to drive sales nationally

Other media used: Video, direct mail

Program’s primary objective: To provide education and awareness about the animal parasite, lungworm. A “babuscat,” an education tool (based on the design of a Russian nested doll) was used to highlight the importance of lungworm to vets, pet store staff and veterinary nurses. The “babuscat” highlighted the technical aspects of lungworm, and its transmission and lifecycle. The product did this in an engaging and interesting way.

Total cost (including promotional products, media, printing, packaging, etc.):  Approximately $55,000

Strategy and execution: In July 2015 a healthcare company engaged Chilli Promotions to develop a product that would educate the target audience, drive sales and position its lungworm treatment, Advocate, as No.1 in Australia. The distributor developed a set of three nested doll-type figures that pulled apart and replicated how lungworm physically presents itself once inside an animal. The dolls were an easy way to demonstrate how lungworm can spread, and the dolls were produced in three sizes to show the lungworm curled inside a cat, bird and rat. These were distributed with an information card. The sales team then spent time at veterinary clinics and pet stores and with other medical professionals to demonstrate the dolls. The materials selected and used for the dolls were crucial in clearly demonstrating how the parasite curls inside its host. Development of a prototype and a sample of the product took three weeks. Production and product testing was completed in 10 working days from preproduction to final approval, and the distributor airfreighted the final products to a destination for national distribution.

Results: The client’s medication, Advocate, grew by 10 percent in value and for the first time ever became the market leader against the rival medication, Revolution. This market position and growth continued through the first half of 2016 and is expected to accelerate.

Melissa Catania, Chilli Promotions, on the campaign’s challenges:

“The sampling took more time than we expected, and that was partly because we were working with a number of different factories. The production took less time than the sampling.”

Watch as Tina Filipski interviews Melissa Catania at Expo Live here.

Category: Business-To-Business

Distributor: HALO Branded Solutions

Type of client: Sports channel

Target audience: 350 media buyers, executives at Fortune 500 companies, and current sponsors and potential sponsors of sports channel who cover events

Other media used: Video, Pixaction

Program’s primary objective: To create excitement surrounding the sports channel’s “Summer of Golf” campaign and all the events it would be covering. The intent was to open doors to new advertising opportunities and re-book current ad partnerships.

Total cost (including promotional products, media, printing, packaging, etc.): $50,000

Strategy and execution: The concept was initially formed between the network and the client at a bar as the account executive was pitching BIC Graphic’s Pixaction calendar, which uses augmented reality to bring calendar artwork to life. Ten minutes later, the concept morphed into a one-dozen custom package of ProV1 golf balls. That grew to an 18-pack of golf balls and over the next three months the program grew. One brand wouldn’t work out of the box, so Bridgestone balls were selected. Video development (by the client) and a box design and layout were next. Keepsake Boxes made a custom sleeve and matte black box; BIC supplied the balls and the Pixaction technology. A total of 650 dozen golf balls were unpacked and repacked in-house, which included assembling the boxes and sleeves, and fulfilling the project into 350 mailer boxes with shredded tissue paper.

Results: Statistics are tough due to the nature of the project, according to the client, but this promotion opened up many key new partnerships with media such as Men’s Journal, CNBC, Mashable and Rolling Stone. The sports channel loved the final product and reordered.

Category: Business-to-Business

Distributor: Propel Promotions, LLC

Type of client: Freelance graphic design group

Target audience: 100 marketing and communications managers of medium-sized to large-sized businesses and creative directors of advertising agencies in Michigan

Other media used: Web, direct mail

Program’s primary objective: To increase awareness, and gain new clients and a steady stream of projects

Total cost (including promotional products, media, printing, packaging, etc.):  $2,500

Strategy and execution: To attract the attention of marketers and art directors, the Design Disaster Relief Kit was created as a self-promotion for design services. The kit described the challenges marketers and art directors face in terms of different disasters (flash flood, wildfire, avalanche, tornado and tsunami). Recipients rated their design disaster on a scale of one to five based on the descriptions inside the kit. Each corresponded to a promotional branded item in the kit with instructions on how to relieve the disaster. Kits were mailed monthly to 10 of the 100 targeted recipients. A call to action encouraged recipients to visit a landing page and share their design disaster stories.

Results: For every 10 kits that were distributed, five appointments were generated and one yielded a new client with ongoing projects.

Category: Consumer Programs

Distributor: Axis Promotions

Type of client: Cable and satellite television network whose programming is aimed at children and adolescents aged 8-17

Target audience: 130,000 attendees at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con convention

Program’s primary objective: The network asked us to help them create wearable products that would support a nostalgia theme surrounding popular characters and TV series from the 1980s and 1990s. Our objective was to create products that would cut through the noise of Comic-Con and draw attention to the client.

Total cost (including promotional products, media, printing, packaging, etc.): $75,900

Strategy and execution: The product we chose had to serve two functions: complement the client’s nostalgia marketing theme and compete with the larger-than-life nature of Comic-Con. The immersive environment was comprised of characters and references from the programming block, The Splat, including three supersized replicas of the network’s most beloved characters and concepts. These served as our inspiration, and we based our product selection off their specific character traits. We decided that wearable products would draw attention and intrigue within our space and throughout the convention. We created custom, oversized tote bags and custom foam wearables shaped like Chucky’s hair from The Rugrats, and produced matching paper eyeglasses so that attendees could emulate the character as they walked around the show floor. To create buzz around the Legends of the Hidden Temple movie release, we created a pin that could be worn during the show or saved as a collectors item. We also created t-shirts for cast members.

Results: The network’s “nostalgia” theme drew a lot of media attention. They sold the 1,000 t-shirts at $20 each, generating $20,000 in profit. The products were also featured on the network’s social media, which generated more than 147,220 reactions.

Category: Consumer Programs

Distributor: Progressive Promotions, Inc.

Type of client: Creative Agency

Target audience: 7,000 Chicago Blackhawks fans

Timing: Items went on sale in December 2015 in Chicago

Other media used: Web, video on NHL site

Program’s primary objective: To raise funds for the Chicago Blackhawks charities

Total cost (including promotional products, media, printing, packaging, etc.): $220,000

Strategy and execution: The agency tasked us with creating a commemorative item for the Chicago Blackhawks in honor of their 2015 Stanley Cup win. Part of the challenge was to create a piece that would be durable, high-end and would hold an ounce of the melted ice on which the team won the cup.

We designed and produced two different designs: 1. A vial with ice melt that lights up and 2. An acrylic ice cube with ice melt, both branded with the Blackhawks logo. Each commemorative item came in a special box and was accompanied by printed collateral that verified the authenticity of the vial or cube and its contents.

Results: The commemorative items were sold out within one week. Additional units would have been produced had there been more ice melt. The project came in significantly under budget in all aspects of the program (merchandise, water transport, domestic fulfillment and freight).

Karen Friedland of Progressive Promotions on the difficulty factor:

“We had to figure out a way to get the home ice melt all the way to California and create a piece that could hold a certain amount of it. We had to manage the amount of ice melt because we had to make all the pieces—7,000 of one style, 2,500 of another. And our biggest concern was running out of material to fill them.”

Watch as Tina Filipski interviews Karen Friedland at Expo Live here.

Category:  Employee Incentive Programs

Distributor: Sunrise Identity

Type of client: Telecommunications

Target audience: 40,000 retail associates

Other media: Twitter

Program’s primary objective: To educate retail associates and create excitement around a new device that would be launching soon. The secondary objective was to engage the associates in social media.

Total cost (including promotional products, media, printing, packaging, etc.): $298,000

Strategy and execution: The company’s new smartphone was about to hit retail shelves and the company wanted to promote sales by creating an interactive multi-day contest. The solution was to create a sleek, matte-black-with-foil advent calendar-style box. Each day retail associates would open the corresponding compartment, which called out a specific key feature of the device and revealed a daily prize. Prizes included candy, screen cleaners and light-up badges, all branded with the phone’s logo. The kits also included a fun, photo-booth-style selfie stick kit. Associates were encouraged to pose with the kit’s contents and use a hashtag to be entered to win additional prizes.

Results: The hashtag created more than 160,000 impressions on Twitter, and the retailer sold out of the majority of the colors that the new device came in. The phone has been the best device launch yet in this retailer’s stores, and employees were extremely excited about the kit.

Ash Mitchell of Sunrise Identity talks about the concept that was key to this promotion:

“We wanted to get all the retailers engaged and excited about selling the Samsung S7. We used a seven-day countdown where associates could lift open the custom box each day to reveal a certain promotional product. We used a flashing badge, some really nice candies, cleaning cloths and alligator-clip lip balm There was also a social media component and a hashtag promotion. T-Mobile ended up being one of the top sellers of the S7 and Samsung was incredibly excited about how this promotion turned out.”

Watch as Tina Filipski interviews Ash Mitchell on Expo Live here.

Category: Internal Communication Programs

Distributor: ePromos Promotional Products

Type of client: 27,500 education company employees

Other media used: Web

Program’s primary objective: The internal program was designed to introduce the client’s rebranded identity to a majority of its employees with one unified message and allow an immediate opportunity for  employees to interact with the new brand elements through the use of promotional products

Total cost (including promotional products, media, printing, packaging, etc.): Approximately $413,000

Strategy and execution: Our company was asked to produce and distribute a personal desk calendar reflecting the client’s new identity. It included 12 unique brand-inspired cards displayed on a reusable wooden stand. A non-calendar version was designed for lunar calendar markets. Production was split between the U.S., UK and China. Distribution of bulk cartons to 81 offices worldwide was completed during the week prior to the launch date with holding instructions. On launch day, the global rebrand was announced and individual delivery was made to each employee attending the rebranding events to reinforce their experience. We also integrated the message with the client’s internal website so that employees could immediately engage with new brand elements. The site was designed using virtual product images and an on-demand purchase model to accommodate the unbudgeted request.

Results: 100-percent delivery was completed to all global employees in 38 countries on the launch day.  Merchandise costs were within budget and the website was designed at no cost to the client; more than 4,000 employees visited during the first month. Year-to-date sales have hit 257 percent above 2015 figures.

Caren Aardema of ePromos on overcoming this program’s obstacles:

“When you are dealing with people from different parts of the world, you have the barriers of language, geography and they also chose to do a calendar—so we had people who were on a lunar calendar. We also split up our production around the globe and worked with different production facilities in China, for example, and had half of our production done in Asia. We also had organizational issues where everyone was working in different time zones and we had volunteers around the globe, so we worked with Google Docs so everyone had access in real time and we could all share our information.”


Category: Business-To-Business

Distributor: Club Colors, LLC

Type of client: Medical

Target audience: Conference Attendees

How many people comprised the target audience? 5,000 qualified attendees

Other media used: Web, email, direct mail

Program’s primary objective: The client wanted to make a statement at the show, which is attended by newcomers, new potential clients and those who are involved in cutting-edge medical processes from all disciplines of medicine. With this high-level clientele, it is a challenge to make a statement and drive traffic.

Total program cost: $18,551

Strategy and execution: The overall theme used by the client was “Let your clinical research rise above the ordinary.” We provided fully customized drones as well as a number of aviation-themed items. First, we mailed a flyer printed to replicate an airline ticket to drive traffic to the booth. Attendees who came to the booth were qualified and then given the mini drone. The booth had a “safe flight” area where the drones could be flown and “aviators” to help with the flight practice. The visual drove additional traffic to the booth because everyone wanted to try a drone. Once visitors received their mini drone, they could sign up to win a larger drone and were invited to a later event the client was hosting.

Results: The client was able to increase both booth attendance and attendees to their later event. They experienced a 245-percent growth in booth card swipes (vs 2015) and 125-percent higher attendance to the client event for a relatively small investment.

Category: Consumer Programs

Distributor: Chilli Promotions

Type of client: Automotive

Target audience: Motorsport enthusiasts and followers of the 86 Racing Series

Timing: The program took place at a media launch and race day at Sydney Motorsport Park in May 2016, in Sydney, NSW, Australia

Program’s primary objective: To create and produce a new range of merchandise for the 86 Racing Vehicle that would support and raise awareness of the new vehicle and the series. Merchandise was sold at the events and through the client’s web store.

Total cost (including promotional products, media, printing, packaging, etc.): $180,000 was spent on the range of custom items and the packaging

Strategy and execution: The range of 86 Racing Series items included a drink bottle, boxed key ring, race jacket, race shirts, hoodie jacket and polo, t-shirt, socks and caps. These were selected with careful consideration for the demographic and the objective of raising awareness of the new vehicle and series. The colors were consistent with the client’s general brand guidelines, but the logos and graphics were custom and unique to this range with a signature grid plate added to some of the items. The result was the most unique range of products introduced to the client’s portfolio in a couple of years. Each piece was custom made or branded to engage with enthusiasts and continue to drive traffic to the series for the next three years. Quality and price were important influences in the products’ success, and in the number of replenishment orders coming through. From concept and pre-production sampling through to distribution we had only four to six weeks to air freight into Australia many of the items to meet the media and launch day in May.

Results: The program will be measured over a three-year period, but initial results were outstanding, having sold out of the items and with replenishment orders under way again.

Category: Consumer Programs

Distributor: Jae Associates, Inc.

Type of client: Real estate brokerage

Target audience: Approximately 110,000 homeowners in the Burlington, Ontario, area

Timing: The program ran in the Burlington area from fall 2015 through the first half of 2016

Other media used: Direct mail, billboards, bus shelters and wrapped moving vehicles

Program’s primary objective: Increase visibility and gain market share in a region where the client had little to no recognition and very few sales

Total cost (including promotional products, media, printing, packaging, etc.): The entire campaign was approximately $90,000 with promotional products being about 70 percent.

Strategy and execution: The client’s mission is to make moving a celebration and help homeowners sell their homes in record time and move with ease. The company has the knowledge and resources to sell homes quickly and at a fair price. It entered the Burlington market virtually unknown and wanted a direct-mail campaign, and homeowner gifts and tools that would show they were committed about their deliverables and wanted to earn listings. We reinvented an earlier memo board they had previously done to make it more user-friendly and included core values of the brokerage. We also created a moving kit, a mini moving box that included all the tools one would need on moving day such as tape, zip knife, etc. Then we printed actual moving boxes to correspond with their transit and billboard ads. To complete the sale, candy jars were given to clients on moving day with custom candy. The direct mail piece, moving kits, client gifts and street ads delivered a powerful message: “Pack Before You Call.”

Results: Data as of June 2016 showed this brokerage firm as the leader in the Burlington/Hamilton area in both sales volume and number of transactions. Overall it achieved 410 transactions during the campaign period, the most in the company’s history.

Jae Rang, MAS, of Jae Associates, Ltd., on the campaign’s results:

“We knew Woolcott Realty had captured some of the market share, but they came back to us and said, ‘The results are staggering.’ They went into Burlington, Ontario as virtual unknowns, and they totally dominated the marketplace [after this promotion]. They shot up in the Re/Max market—I think they were No. 4 in Canada—and became the No. 1 broker in Burlington within the year.”

Watch as Tina Filipski interviews Jae Rang, MAS, on Expo Live here.

Category: Distributor/Supplier Collaboration

Distributor: Adwerx Communications, an iPROMOTEu Affiliate

Supplier: Visions/Awardcraft

Type of client: Healthcare

Target audience: Approximately 50 department managers within the hospital and medical facilities in the Harbor City, California, facility.

Program’s primary objective: To create a sought-after reward for exceptional performance achievement by managers and their departments. The focus and measurement for earning the “Wave of Excellence” award is aligned with achievement of the goals embodied in the facility’s strategic plan initiatives and objectives.

Total cost (including promotional products, media, printing, packaging, etc.): Approximately $32,000

Strategy and execution: The award, the client emphasized, should stand out as a unique and coveted prize that’s reflective of its name and which is designed to be won repeatedly. They hoped the program would have a life of five or more years. We created a conceptual sketch for a custom award which was then submitted to our development partner Visions/Awardcraft. They went through seven design revisions before we felt ready to show the client. The final design of the “Wave of Excellence” award–made of wood, glass and acrylic–embodies the client’s “Sun, Sand and Surf” theme using a dominant wave-shaped backdrop with individual awards in the shape of surfboards. The base holds surfboards won for up to five individual achievements. The client enthusiastically embraced the design, noting that it addressed all of their goals in a dramatic and desirable presentation. The client ordered 100 bases and 300 surfboards, and looked to initiate the program once the overseas-produced custom product arrived.

Results: The client set up a committee to define the achievements necessary to win. They aligned the award’s goals with their strategic plan. Following the initial award presentations, departments are now more focused on meeting and exceeding strategic goals.

Category: Educational Programs

Distributor: Image Source, Inc.

Type of client: County library system

Target audience: 30,000 children ages 6 to 12

Other media used: Print and direct school outreach was used to create awareness for the program

Program’s primary objective: To serve as an incentive and roadmap to encourage children to read

Total cost (including promotional products, media, printing, packaging, etc.): $75,000

Strategy and execution: The goal of this annual reading program is simple: to encourage children to read during the summer so progress in learning is not lost while school is out. Those who complete the reading challenge win a prize. The product selection process was done in a very unique and effective way. Our team focused on the target demographic, annual theme, budget, unique decoration needs, product safety requirements and logistical implications for distribution to 49 libraries in the county. The ideas were narrowed down to four to six items, and focus groups were conducted with children from the community where they  voted for their favorite idea. Product safety was a key element of this program since the majority of the children targeted were under 12 years old.

Results: More than 20,000 children attended the summer program; 15,000 wallets were given to students who completed the requirements; 43,000 notebooks were also given away and, best of all, 7.5 million minutes were spent reading.

Category: Employee Incentive Programs

Distributor: Progressive Promotions, Inc.

Type of client: Consumer packaged goods

Target audience: All 300 employees at the client’s Chicago plant

Program’s primary objective: This is an ongoing employee appreciation program focusing on the core value of “People Make A Difference.” Its purpose is to make employees feel good about their jobs and their daily contributions, and that every employee plays a part in the company’s success. This was the program’s second year.

Total cost (including promotional products, media, printing, packaging, etc.): So far, $3,500 has been spent on the first round of products.

Strategy and execution: As an employee appreciation program, we wanted to provide products that helped remind everyone about the core values that focus on each other—People Make A Difference—so we decided to brand most of the products around that spirit. The decoration of the items selected tie into the company’s core values and mission statement, so we selected items that lent themselves to different climates and could be repurposed so they would not be seasonal, including a water bottle, a notebook, a towel, an umbrella and a backpack.

Results: Commitment to company events, energy and overall morale have increased. Not that it was low, but people are visibly happy to be selected as a public statement of appreciation by their department and to receive gifts of their choosing.

Category: Goodwill Programs

Distributor: Image Builders

Type of client: Manufacturer of harvesting equipment / agriculture

Target audience: 408 pre-qualified agricultural dealers and customers across the U.S. and Canada

Program’s primary objective: To reward these recipients by getting the 2017 pricing/product list in their hands by the first week of July and creating a conversation piece around the program

Total cost (including promotional products, media, printing, packaging, etc.): Approximately $24,000

Strategy and execution: The theme for the reward gift package was “Taste of Summer” and the client wanted items that would reflect summer and grilling, and at the same time show aspects of their products, introduce their 2017 pricing/product line, and provide good will and brand recognition towards future purchases. The items chosen for the gift included a laser-engraved grilling spatula and three different grilling sauces all tucked into an insulated, logoed wine tote with the 2017 Taste of Summer pricing/product brochure. We put all of these pieces together as a gift set, and packaged and shipped them out the last week of June to dealers across the U.S. and Canada.

Results: The Taste of Summer gift set was successfully in the hands of 408 dealers and customers by the first full week of July, as requested by the client.

Category: Health/Wellness Programs

Distributor: Vernon McGraves Promotions, Inc.

Type of client: Memory care facility

Target audience: 200 resident patients, caregivers and staff; family, friends, trade-show participants and  marketing sales groups

Program’s primary objective: To improve the quality of life for memory care residents

Total cost (including promotional products, media, printing, packaging, etc.): $250

Strategy and execution: Based on food consumption studies of Alzheimer’s patients, plate color was determined to be critical to increased consumption and red determined as the most influential color. The next logical observation was focused on liquid consumption. A bottle was selected that changes color when ice and cold liquids are added and it had a red leak-resistant push/pull lid.

Results: By using the new drinkware, consumption of cool and cold liquids has increased among residents. In addition to better hydration for the resident, the caregiver can now immediately observe how much liquid has been consumed.

Category: Internal Communication Programs

Distributor: Axis Promotions

Type of client: Global digital media platform

Target audience: 300 employees who work in the company’s New York City office

Other media used: Custom insert card provided by the client

Program’s primary objective: This company’s employees work extremely hard, so when throwing a holiday party for 300 of their NYC employees, the events department wanted to distribute a gift that was trendy and playful, with an objective to increase corporate morale

Total cost (including promotional products, media, printing, packaging, etc.): $7,394.53

Strategy and execution: The inspiration for this holiday party gift was a BizBash article which pictured a generic logoed kit with unbranded hangover essentials. As a creative agency, we knew that we could deliver a kit that was both branded and completely unique. We began by branding a custom retail-inspired laminated canvas pouch with the company logo instead of a plastic container or bag. The pouch had a higher perceived value, and the neutral canvas color was in line with company brand guidelines. While there was no specific theme to this hangover kit, it was meant to engage employees, and deliver some cheeky holiday cheer. A card was inserted into each kit that expressed the company’s desire for all to have a great holiday season, while reinforcing its collaborative company culture. When filling each kit, we selected equally fun items which complemented the tone and message of the insert. The final fillers included a custom Band-Aid pack, branded wet wipes, packets of Aleve and Tylenol, branded gum, sleeping mask, hand warmer and a packet of Emergen-C drink mix. The kits were drop-shipped to the company’s New York offices.

Results: Because this was a party favor for employees, the results were measured in employee satisfaction.  The hangover kit served as a great reminder that they work for a fun company that truly understands Millennials.

Category: Not-for-Profit Programs

Distributor: Distinctive Promotions, Inc., an iPROMOTEU Affiliate

Type of client: Horse show

Target audience: 40,000-50,000 attendees at a six-day equestrian event, which is one of the largest outdoor horse shows in the U.S., and a premier destination for horse people

Timing: The event took place in Bridgehampton, New York, in August, in the heart of the summer social season

Program’s primary objective: The client is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose main objective is to raise funds to help pay for the grounds and to help horse-related charities throughout the year. This annual program requires a careful product selection to deliver a mix of branded items worthy of “collectible” status. Annual event poster graphics carry over to a selection of products to meet a demanding budget and a discerning buyer audience.

Total cost (including promotional products, media, printing, packaging, etc.): $10,000

Strategy and execution: The client attended the Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York’s summer end-user show with us to search for products. Quotes were obtained to see how products fit into the budget. Virtual presentations were also created to show how the product would look with the event’s poster. The order arrived in mid-July and detailed instructions were provided to every supplier. Orders were shipped to a trailer put into place on the Monday before the show. The souvenir tent was erected and the products were set up. There was also a poster contest with submissions from artists all over the world. The winning poster was reproduced on the promotional products in the souvenir shop.

Results: In a typical year, the client purchases three or four items; at this event seven items were purchased for the 40th anniversary, with quanties increasing by 20 percent. All products were sold out by mid-week and the client increased revenue by over 35 percent.

Category: Recycling/Green Programs

Distributor: Progressive Promotions, Inc.

Type of client: Consumer Packaged Goods

Target audience: 300—the entire company workforce at a single plant

Program’s primary objective: To reduce waste and engage their workers with company pride by replacing the disposable cups, flatware, paper plates and napkins with sustainable and reusable pieces. We saw this as an opportunity make this a fun as well as an impactful and innovative campaign.

Total cost (including promotional products, media, printing, packaging, etc.): Approximately $8,000

Strategy and execution: We wanted the products selected to underscore the purpose of the campaign as well as the spirit of the brand so we carefully selected each component to ensure that the colors, design and materials reflected this. The plate clings, which use the brand logo, even had a write-on area for employees to personalize them. The clings also included the brand’s mission statement along with the full-color logo. The branded yellow cloth napkins were a washable cotton-poly blend for easy care. The Mikasa flatware, including plain stainless flatware for the plant and laser-engraved pieces for the executive dining/conference room, was layered with the logo on the base. We ordered clear glass salad and dinner plates with interchangeable clings to have mixed messaging. These were placed on the underside of the plates and then removed before washing; and they were reusable.

Results: Although the results can be quantified in savings of at least $25,000 to date, this program also has a positive impact on the environment. By no longer using disposable cups, plates, napkins or flatware, the company has cut down on waste, which is priceless.

Category: Sales Incentive Programs

Distributor: Progressive Promotions, Inc.

Type of client: Beverage industry

Target audience: The target audience was comprised of 400 New York City supermarkets trying to increase sales of a line of beverages

Program’s primary objective: This was to be a dealer loader program to help motivate supermarkets to purchase more products from this line of beverages and to choose it over other brands. The timing coincided with warmer weather and used a BBQ theme, making a beach cooler a great fit.

Total cost (including promotional products, media, printing, packaging, etc.): $22,512

Strategy and execution: When we were tasked with creating an item for this brand, we first wanted to learn more about it. We conducted in-depth research using the web, visits to supermarkets and consultations with our client. It became clear that we should continue with a beach theme to match their brand story as well as other company display items that were already being used in supermarkets. Since the program launch was going to take place in the late spring, we thought a beach-themed cooler would be perfect for the season, the program and the brand, and a great incentive for any supermarket.

Results:  The brand runs national promotions and offers its distributors and retailers a custom branded item as a purchasing incentive for 75 or more case orders. As a result of these incentives, more than $375,000 was generated in sales using our beach cooler alone.

Category: Tradeshow/Exhibit Traffic Programs

Distributor: E Group, Inc.

Type of client: Technology, global software leader

Target audience: 6,000 engineers with levels of experience ranging from NASA professionals to entrepreneurial college students

Other media used Web, email

Program’s primary objective: The goal was to provide opportunities for SOLIDWORKS users to interact with the brand

Total cost (including promotional products, media, printing, packaging, etc.): The budget for the social contest, promotional products and event management was $150,000

Strategy and execution: The overall strategy was to allow the SOLIDWORKS community opportunities to interact with the SOLIDWORKS brand. We helped generate excitement for the event through a social contest for users to design their own t-shirt. An online creative contest allowed users to submit their designs. The contest and voting process were promoted to the entire SOLIDWORKS community through email blasts, social media and a question on the registration form. Winners were announced and their designs were featured on t-shirts given out at the conference. We facilitated live screen printing at the conference so that attendees could instantly receive their custom design. A total of nine different t-shirt combinations were available. Other products used to promote the brand at the conference included water bottles, sunglasses, pens, a welcome bag, hats, cups and napkins.

Results: The top seven entries were put up to a vote with more than 8,700 total votes. This entire event is not about generating a profit, it’s about building community, brand awareness and engagement, and generating excitement about the latest technologies. The client labeled the event a success.

Tina Berres Filipski is editor of PPB.

2017 Pyramid-Winning Promotions

Winning a PPAI Pyramid is a distributor’s top validation that their promotion has hit the trifecta for creativity, use of promotional products and client results. The following 38 Pyramids were presented in 14 categories at The PPAI Expo 2017 in January. Find more PPAI award winners in four additional categories here.

Business-to-Business Programs

Gold – Chilli Promotions

Gold – HALO Branded Solutions

Gold – Propel Promotions, LLC

Silver – Club Colors Buyer, LLC

Bronze – Edventure Promotions, Inc.

Bronze – Geiger

Consumer Programs

Gold – Axis Promotions

Gold – Progressive Promotions, Inc.

Silver – Chilli Promotions

Silver – Jae Associates, Ltd.

Bronze – BAMKO

Distributor/Supplier Collaboration

Silver – Adwerx Communications, an iPROMOTEu Affiliate & Visions/Awardcraft

Diversity & Social Responsibility Programs

Bronze – Positive Impressions, Inc.

Educational Programs

Silver – Image Source, Inc.

Bronze – Team Iowa

Employee Incentive Programs

Gold – Sunrise Identity

Silver – BAMKO

Silver – Progressive Promotions, Inc.

Bronze – Geiger

Goodwill Programs

Silver – Image Builders

Bronze – Geiger

Health/Wellness Programs

Silver – BAMKO

Silver – Vernon McGraves

Internal Communication Programs

Gold – ePromos Promotional Products

Silver – Axis Promotions

International Programs

Bronze – BAMKO

Not-for-Profit Programs

Gold – Promotions ‘N Motion/AIA

Silver – Distinctive Promotions, Inc., an iPROMOTEu Affiliate

Bronze – Summit Group, LLC.

Recycling/Green Programs

Silver – Progressive Promotions, Inc.

Sales Incentive Programs

Gold – BAMKO

Silver – Progressive Promotions, Inc.

Bronze – Chilli Promotions

Bronze – Grapevine Designs, LLC

Tradeshow/Exhibit Traffic Programs

Gold – Pica Marketing Group

Silver – E Group, Inc.

Bronze – Axis Promotions

Bronze – Shumsky

Make A Date With A Pyramid

So you ran a campaign that looks like a winner? Enter it and see! The competition opens May 30, 2017 and closes July 14, 2017. All entry materials are due to PPAI by July 28. $50 per entry (PPAI members only). Get the details at www.ppai.org/awards.

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