The Pen Supplement new edition is launched

The Pen Warehouse is has released edition two of The Pen Supplement, its collection of best-selling products. The range offers something for any type of promotion, whether it’s low cost plastic pens for event giveaways, budget-friendly pencils for large campaigns, or high-quality metal pens for executive gifts.

New additions include the Sparta Ballpen which utilises double-injection moulding technology, and the Quad-i Ballpen with four coloured refills and touchscreen stylus. A 360° laser engraving service is now available on their improved version of the Electra Ballpen.

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bpma patrons meet at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze restaurant

Another successful patrons dinner was held on the 10 November at the highly acclaimed Gordon Ramsay restaurant, Maze.

Traditionally the events have been held at the House of Commons or the Carlton Club with Brian Binley MP leading the after dinner debate. A new format is now working with a guest speaker, and first up was the turn of Chris Daly, director of customer experience at the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

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BIC named official partner of COP 21

The BIC 4 Colours pen and the BIC Evolution pencil were the official ball pens and graphite pencils for the COP21 Convention on Climate Change.

This major international conference, which took place from November 30 to December 11 at Le Bourget in France, saw many state and government leaders attend.

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Ready for RemaDays 2016

Nearly six hundred exhibitors from across Europe have confirmed their participation in RemaDays 2016.  Opening on February 16 in Warsaw, this is the 12th year of the Fair for Advertising and Printing.

One of the largest exhibitions in the industry in the world, RemaDays is changing its image this year. Featuring spacious, modern and comfortable halls with a total area of 35,000 sq m, the event will play its part in Warsaw EXPO being attended by a record number of visitors this year.

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Ask Clive – Garment Decoration

Clive Allcott, the Essential Branding guru, on Garment Decoration

Q. Are there trends in promotional clothing?

A. Marketing results are often calibrated on the “impressions and impacts” that the brand will incur from the planned activity, of which clothing can be a major contributor, hence the realisation that fashionable, well-branded clothing will deliver better results.

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The bpma vision for 2016

Matt Franks bpma chair and CEO of Fluid Branding, sets out plans for 2016.

It seems 2016 is set to be another big year for the bpma. Relocating to our new Cambridge offices, and with an expanded team being recruited as we go to print, we’re excited to be offering more value to the industry and our members than ever before.

Having achieved ATO status for the association, we’re delighted to provide government-backed funding for bpma members exhibiting at PSI this month. Helping our supplier members export their goods and services overseas is a double win, bringing external money into the UK market and further strengthening our sector.

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What marketers really think about promotional gifts

Rising demand for electronic goods is among findings in bpma research into marketers’ attitudes.

The findings from extensive research by the bpma into what marketers think of promotional merchandise were launched during Promotional Products Week in September. Brand awareness is the main reason for using branded merchandise but increasingly they have more specific uses for seminars and conferences.

Two-thirds are now purchasing electronic goods, notably power banks and all manner of USB options. Marketers also believe the key to a successful promotional product is finding something that is both high in quality and memorable in some way.

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Mystery shoppers provide insights into industry

The bpma’s mystery shopper programme will help to improve standards, writes Gordon Glenister.

The bpma conducted its first-ever mystery shopper programme in the summer of 2015. In all, 30 distributors were selected by leading researcher Facts International, across a range of turnover bands.

Each distributor was shopped four times, twice on email and twice on the telephone. A number of interactions were measured. With regard to the telephone responses, 73% had their call answered within three rings and 9% went straight to voicemail. At its best, the phone was answered with one ring. At its worst, six calls were made and an answer-machine was noted each time.

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The Great British brands abroad

Phil Morgan, the CEO of SPS, offers tips on exporting.

It may seem a cliché but, with the massive developments in communications technology, the world really does seem a smaller place, especially when it comes to doing business around the world. There are huge opportunities for taking Great British brands abroad, and a wealth of support to help companies do just that. Chambers of commerce, UKTI and of course the bpma offer a wealth of guidance and support.

As CEO of a British manufacturer, I can offer a few “dos” and “don’ts” when it comes to exporting your products. 

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Be protected with passwords

With hackers and scammers on the prowl, digital security is more important than ever, but one basic step you can take is to avoid the most popular passwords. Research continues to reveal that the world’s favourite passwords are “password” and “123456”, followed by “iloveyou” and “qwerty”. Pet names and birth dates are also popular.

According to Wolfpack Information Risk, the best way to create a strong password is to use spaces and/or combinations of upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters (for example, @ # $ % ! ?), with a minimum of seven characters.

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Craig Sibbald of Creative Promotions issues a warning to the industry

One of the things I love about this industry is the people. It’s an industry full of genuine folk working hard to bring the best range, price and service possible to one another to build their businesses while serving the needs of those around them. It’s not often the industry is tarnished by an unscrupulous individual. However, one person has proven a consistent thorn in the side for three years now and it’s high time he was driven out the industry for good. 

Regular trade press readers will likely know who I’m talking about but for the avoidance of doubt, I’m going to say his name loud and clear…. So take note and inform your colleagues he must be avoided: ALAN WESTON. Affectionately known as @AlanGingeWeston on Twitter, Alan Weston on Facebook and Alan J Weston under various online directory enquiry and directorship listings. It seems he’s giving redheads a bad name too, tut tut… Mr Weston!

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SC-M goes back to the future

SC-M Creative Merchandise has gone Back to the Future to show how technology showcased in the 1985 film really might exist in real-life 2015.

With today’s advancements in charging tech, and a large dose of creativity, SC-M’s team are celebrating the virtual launch of the Mr Fusion USB Energy Reactor concept. Powered by domestic waste, it can charge up to 100 USB items or even an electric car in only 10 minutes!

Mr Fusion, invented by Doc Emmett Brown in Back To The Future, gave the DeLoreon its 1.21 gigawatts of power just from recycled waste. A product from the Mr Fusion range would be an awesome asset in any office.

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Suppliers tee off with Brand Addition

With the Costa del Cheshire weather set fair, the fourth annual Brand Addition Cup at Shrigley Hall Hotel in September proved to be a great success.

The team competition was won by Supplier Victory, while the victor of the individual competition and nearest the pin was Clive Allcott of Essential Embroidery Design. The winner in the long drive was Nicky Gold of Brand Addition.

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Success for Falcon Promotions gift show

Falcon Promotions, based in Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, held another successful exhibition – it’s first since it was acquired by Fluid Branding this year.

The Business & Advertising Gifts Show was held at the Rowley Mile at Newmarket Racecourse, offering guests a chance to meet around 36 suppliers and take a close look at the business and advertising gifts they offer. Alongside a free goody bag, there was a chance to win an iPad Mini.

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Portable Power

Matt Pluckrose of Desktop Ideas on 10 things you need to know about power banks.

1) A power bank is a battery to charge your gadgets and electronic devices. They are generally rated in their battery capacity (milliampere-hour or mAh), in their output capacity 0.5-1A (smartphones only) or 2.1-3A (smartphones and tablets) and by the speed at which they charge input voltage/mAh and output voltage/mAh – the higher the input rating, the quicker it will re-charge your device.

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Winning ideas ahead at Trophex

The annual Trophex show is returning, taking place on January 17 and 18 at the NEC in Birmingham – a must-attend event for anyone who works in the trophy, awards and personalisation industry.

Visiting Trophex will help you to diversify and grow your business, look for new suppliers and get better deals, and find out about new innovations and products on the market.  See the latest engraving machinery in action via demonstrations, see the latest trends for the coming season and take advantage of special offers that exhibitors will be offering exclusively to Trophex visitors.

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IPPAG looks to the future at 50

Members past and present helped the IPPAG Cooperative celebrate its 50th anniversary in the beautiful setting of Saint-Paul de Vence and Nice in the south of France.

Events included a two-day Open Forum about the future of the Cooperative and the industry, a 2CV rally through the countryside, a pétanque tournament and the 50th-anniversary gala dinner.

Florence Mosnier, IPPAG Cooperative general manager, commented: “We are very fortunate to count such brilliant minds and industry players in our group and evolving at their sides has been a privilege. Our 50th anniversary is an opportunity to honour the past with the presence of our ‘old tigers’ and look to the future with our Open Forum meetings exploring the true value of IPPAG.”

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Process over product

Alex Turner, managing director of Listawood, explains how  the best solutions are about more than just product.

As a printer over the years, I’ve seen too many orders going through the system where the process could have delivered so much more than the design chosen. Bland pictures of delivery lorries or shipping vessels, even PowerPoint slides or clip art used as the basis for a promotional product that will have cost the end user many thousands of pounds of jealously guarded marketing budget. This is not something that the ultimate recipient is very likely to retain, which is, of course, the great strength of promotional merchandise as an advertising medium when targeted properly. Worst of all, the end user might conclude that the blandly branded mugs or diaries that they bought were a waste of money and be turned off from using merchandise in the future.

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Film role for Promo the Panda

Great Central Plastics demonstrated how promotional products are about fun with the help of Promo the Panda.

The company ran a competition themed around the mascot of Promotional Products Week, offering UK distributors the prize of £250 off their next order. They had to watch a short video and email how many times they spotted the panda.

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Ancestors helps bpma mark 50 years

The Ancestors Group, trading as ANC Manufacturing, created a 3D metal bookmark as a gift to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the bpma.

Carrying the association’s logo, it was given out to guests on the bpma’s anniversary cruise on the Thames, designed to be something that would be kept, have a practical use and be valuable as well as being made in the UK.

A sculptor made a model of the logo, using a silicon mould and casting the pieces in lead-free pewter onto a brass bookmark template, 24ct gold plating, laser engraving and finally the packaging.

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