Dear MetaFilter, can you recommend marketing companies who specialize in producing small-yet-nifty promotional items?
January 20, 2010 3:25 AM   Subscribe

O, MetaFilter, I seek your wisdom! I work at a local Health Club, and my General Manager has tasked me with searching out marketing companies which offer promotional items with which to emblazon with the Club's logo. Can anyone offer any recommendations? My employers are particularly interested in pens and keychains . . . thanks!
posted by caseymichael to Work & Money (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe I'm missing the point here but a 2 second google search got me Pens and Keychains

They were just the #1 result, there are hundreds of companies online offering this sort of thing.
posted by missmagenta at 4:10 AM on January 20, 2010

missmagenta's right - they are all over the place and once they have you, they'll stick to you like leeches.

Try 4imprint (for everything) or Amsterdam (particularly for pens).
And the old favorite vistaprint does this stuff now.

It's also the sort of thing that many local people do - although they then sub it out of a kinda wholesale printer for the actual products.
posted by Xhris at 4:16 AM on January 20, 2010

Do a Google search for 'Customizable Promotional Products' and you'll get a whole bunch of custom printing websites. In my experience they are all pretty much the same. Most places will send samples if you request them. You could order the samples and then compare the quality if you were really ambitious.

If you want you could try contacting some local print shops. They will probably have a company that they use. There may even be somebody in your area that does that sort of thing. Printers would know.
posted by TooFewShoes at 4:18 AM on January 20, 2010

Water bottles might be good, thematically.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 4:37 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Find a local screenprinting shop, you know, the places that do t-shirts and embroidered shirts. Almost all of them can get damn near anything with your logo or whatnot printed on them. Pens, keychains, flash drives, water bottles, stuffed animals, and on and on and on. You may spend a little more than what you'd pay online (but not always) but I think you'll find the service and the fact that they know where to get everything to be worth it.
posted by azpenguin at 6:11 AM on January 20, 2010

Speaking as someone who worked as the art person for a marketing manager who really loved putting the logo on everything...Make sure you have good, clean reproducible logo art. Preferably a vector EPS file. You do not want to send some fuzzy, low-rez jpeg from your website to the printer, even for water bottles.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:49 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

You could buy an engraving system and a stock of pens/keychains/whatever and custom engrave them with your customers name and/or ID number.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 7:08 AM on January 20, 2010

Leed's is one of the companies that makes and prints those items.
posted by qwip at 7:31 AM on January 20, 2010

Oriental Trading usually can do things like this
posted by dolemite01 at 8:04 AM on January 20, 2010

This thread has a few suggestions in it.
posted by Billegible at 8:48 AM on January 20, 2010

If you do water bottles, make sure they're of good quality. My son's hockey team was given water bottles from a new start-up hockey business in town, and they're useless. As soon as you tighten the lid down, it jumps its threads. Hey, thanks for the addition to my recycling bin!

I'm sure the owner shopped entirely on price.
posted by chazlarson at 11:24 AM on January 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

2nd 4imprint. they can put your logo on literally anything.
posted by negative1 at 4:40 PM on January 20, 2010

I've had stuff done at local companies, ePromos, and Oriental Trading.

You didn't ask explicitly, but Thorzdad is right to give you advice on preparing your files for the best results, and he gives good advice.

Those speaking up to recommend things that will last, be thematic and useful should really be heeded. This will keep the promo item in use in front of your customers and others in their market. Pens are fine, but generic. Keychains, we only need one of for each group of keys. It's hard to stand out. Small washcloths would be cool gym-useful things. The water bottle is a good idea, when the quality is right. Etc.
posted by whatzit at 9:01 PM on January 20, 2010

Response by poster: MeFi! I thank you for guiding me through this dizzying array of promotional companies.

You rock so hard my face hurts.
posted by caseymichael at 3:14 AM on January 22, 2010

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