Promotional Items

How to Solve Creatively a Promotional Items Emergency

Even if you work at a big corporation, with large marketing budgets, there are times when you can find yourself in a pinch with your promotional objects. It may be because of an urgent, unexpected opportunity you want to seize, or because the quantity you want is too small for your usual suppliers or simply because someone made an oopsie. If you work in marketing for a long time, you know that sometimes you may need to be creative and quick on your thinking in order to have in time something to give to the clients. This article is about how to make in our office some promotional objects, along with a few practical tips about where things could go wrong.

There are a lot of options nowadays to order promotional items online, but, if you want to often change the message or if you need them urgently, this article might be useful for companies of all sizes. I will show you how you can make in house your own decent, reasonably priced promotional items. You can make in a few hours enough to cover a small event (50-200 people). If you are a big budget marketer, don’t crinkle your nose yet or bounce off this page. If you’re not the crafty type, just think of the marketing idea and leave the execution to your intern or assistant. Urgency does not discriminate, nor does opportunity.

In my case, the promotional opportunity was Base Conference. I helped spread the word about the event, so the organizers allowed me to place my business giveaways in the conference bag. I ordered something online, like a normal person, but, 5 days before the event I started to worry that they would not come in time. Most of the people would probably print some nice flyers and just hand them over, but personally, I like to give people something they can use and maybe have a little fun with it. So when I had to tell the conference organizers what I’d give, I proposed my backup plans and they choose the mints idea. 

Time for Action!

Step 1Find the product. Buying online was not an option because of the time constraint so I went to the stores to find some mints. It’s a trip you have to make, but you get to touch the object, see how it’s like and choose exactly what you want. I did not have time to go to buy wholesale, but you can do that if it’s easier.

This is the product that I chose for my project.

It was that or a Tic-Tac and Hit won because it seemed a better quality of a product. Also, I figured I could put my label on the front and keep the back label in place, so people would know what they eat and when it expires.

Tip – Buy a few extra pieces, even more if you can, you never know when you might need them and you may not be able to find them again. Not to mention the pieces that you may mess up in the process of customization. In any case, a backup is always useful.

While you’re still out shopping, buy some liquid glue and a cheap brush, the thinnest you can find. Choose a strong glue and make sure it dries transparent (check the label or ask the shop assistant). You won’t need much, a small bottle of water based, inexpensive glue (all purpose or the kind for decoupage) will do. If you want to use self-adhesive paper to print, that’s fine too, but make a test first. Sometimes this kind of paper is thin and see-through so it may not have good coverage of what’s underneath. Also, see if you can get a good print on it. The labels are small so your text might end up illegible and the colors ugly. Adhering the labels with glue and brush allows you to use thicker paper and better print quality. Test first with what you have in the office and if you’re not happy, go to a print shop and choose a thicker paper than 80g/sqm. You don’t need many sheets so it will be a small cost. They usually have laser printers so the image quality is better. Furthermore, the toner does not get runny in contact with wet glue, so less chances to mess it up.

Tip  – Look for big packages with multiple items inside. Those offer usually a better price per piece.

Step 2Design the label. Now that you have the box of mints in your hand, you can measure it and know the exact dimensions of the label. You can use any software you have, even PowerPoint to make those labels. Just cram as many as you can on a single page and align them vertically and horizontally so you can cut them easier.

Tip – If you cannot print on a thicker paper, try to cover in color the whole surface of your custom label. It will help with hiding what’s underneath.

Tip – If you plan to cut them with the paper trimmer, make one seamless background on the whole sheet and keep separated only the individual texts of the labels. They will be a whole easier to cut. Going for whimsical designs with no precise borders will help as well.

Step 3Make a prototype. You need to make sure that your dimensions are right for your object and that your glue sticks. Use the same paper, glue and box of mints for the test as they will be in the final object. Make adjustments in your design if necessary.

Tip – Leave the prototype to dry for a few hours (I left it for the night) in order to make sure the label does no fall off.

Step 4 – Print the labels and cut them. Use a paper trimmer and cut on the same guides, for equal, professionally looking labels. I used a die and a cutting machine, but only because I wanted round corners. You can skip this step and you’ll save a lot of time. A rectangular label will look just as good as long as you cut them with care.

Step 5 – Attach the labels. Using the brush, paint the face of the box with a uniform film of glue and stick the labels in place. The tiny brush will help apply the right amount of glue. If too much, the paper might crinkle when becoming wet and the glue might ooze out.

Tip – Don’t rub the label with your fingers while wet with glue, it might wear the toner off. You may move it a little to adjust it in place, but don’t rub. Just pat the label down with all your fingers to help spread the glue.

You can use these mints for any occasion and the beauty of a DIY project is you can change the message whenever you want or remake the same one all over again. The sky is the limit, be creative and have fun with these. If you follow my tips and test every step, they are fairly easy to make. I made my 120 pieces in 4 hours (prototyping, shopping and testing time excluded), but the biggest chunk of this time was consumed with the cutting (3 hours). I really wanted them to have round corners so I cut them one by one with a die. With a paper trimmer guillotine you will cut them in a few minutes.

That being said…

If you like how my mints turned out, but if you still don’t trust your skills to make your own promotional items, or you don’t have the time to try, send me a message at I have a lot of ideas for other types of promotional items and I will do my best to help you.

Also, if you think someone could benefit from this article, please share it or follow the blog, like the Supermarketing page on Facebook or Linkedin. Heck, do all of them, if you are in a generous mood! You’ll hear no complaints from us.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: