Do Novelty Promotional Items Work?

Whilst clearing off my desk a few days ago, I threw lots of bits of paper away, a broken ruler that had found its way to the back of my monitor stand, some rogue staples, a few paper clips, and more paper!

When I reviewed what was left it suddenly became apparent that was left, beside my PC and monitor, was a desk full of branded items! 3 pens, 1 ruler, 1 calculator, 1 desk calendar, 2 staplers and one puzzle. Now, if everyone looks on their desk, they are going to see very similar items – but I suspect that most will not have a puzzle on there. Well, you can’t even really call it a puzzle – it is called a Tangle and is like a plastic snake that clips together and you can move each section to make different shapes.

I have had this for getting on for close to two years now and funnily enough, the marketing company that sent it, I actually do stay in touch with quite regularly. When they sent me this as a sample, I was asked by 3 other colleagues to ask if they could have one too. Of course, my next e-mail was to my contact and 3 days later, half a dozen turned up which, as you can imagine, made my colleagues happy. The other three landed on other desks as I announced there were a few spare.

All this over a novelty plastic gift! You could probably get these sorts of items for next to nothing at your local toy store! And if you can’t, then they are missing a trick!

On a day to day basis, whilst I am on the phone, I pick this item up, wrap it round my fingers, unclip it and make a different shape and just generally play with it. This thing is hugely addictive even though it does nothing!

This lead me to start looking at some other novelty items that will be almost guaranteed to not only manage to stay away from the rubbish bin, but to also keep your name in front of your clients on a daily basis!

And remember, these are all items that are relatively inexpensive and that can sit happily on a work space.

1- Piggy Bank
These small, clear, plastic piggy banks are a great way to keep loose change off your desk. After all, when you have been for a coffee, do you really want a few pennies rattling around in your pocket? Probably not! This is unlikely to get thrown away because who throws away money? A good sized clear size is perfect for your logo and contact details.

2- Plastic Beaker with Straw
These look too good to just be relegated to the litter! The sturdy plastic beaker is a great way to take your iced tea or juice with the straw following a contour of curves running from the bottom to the top! Like the piggy bank, these have quite a good sized area for you to place your brand details.

3- Hand Clapper
This item is one that is sure to stay on a desk. The Hand Clapper is essentially a plastic handle with two hands at the top. When you shake this, it causes the hands to move and clap together. There are so many fun uses for this, plus it has quite a good sized hand for your logo and contact details.

4- Stress Balls
These come in any shape and size you can imagine but in order for it to stand the test of time, get one that is likely to not snap too quickly – that will just see it in the bin then. Popular shapes that last include rugby balls, footballs, mobile phones, golf balls… you can probably see that the shapes that last do not have lots of small pieces that could be pulled off – after all, they have to take a lot of punishment! Your available print space depends on the style you choose.

5- Bean Bags
Like the stress balls, bean bags are unlikely to just be thrown away. These, however, have the added benefit of not being able to be pulled to pieces – you will still find yourself squeezing and playing with it whilst on the phone though. Because of the shape and durability, these are a good idea and have plenty of room to get your message across on two sides!

6- Bendeez
Resembling a large plastic pipe cleaner, the Bendeez items are perfect if you want something that is going to sit on a desk and get played with all the time. However, their small, thin footprint means you are limited to just a single line of text. However, these will last quite a while so still worthy of consideration.

7- Hacky Sacks
Another great item that is pretty much guaranteed to stay on your desk, until confiscated by the office manager! Hacky Sacks are quote small but because of their construction, offer room for a logo and contact information that will easily sit in the palm of your hand. A safe bet!

8- Pack of Mints
Whilst these will have a limited life, because the case will be thrown away when they are finished, you will probably get a few weeks of people clicking away to get a mint out now and then. The mints are small like sweeteners and capacity is anything from 50-100. Because the packet is a small, thin plastic box, it has two nice flat sides for you to print your message onto. Relatively inexpensive so get some of these in anyway. Trust me, they do come in handy!

9- Tangle
This is the item mentioned at the beginning. If you haven’t yet seen these, just Google “Tangle Novelty Gift” – you will soon see them! Whilst they are only a small footprint, there are various ways you can print your logo or contact details on them but more than anything, these are guaranteed to stand the test if time! These have actually had quite a lot of press more recently so if you haven’t yet considered them it is time to do so!

10- Rubiks Cube
Everyone know what these are. Probably one of the most frustrating puzzles dating back to the 80’s. However, because of the shape ( a square!- , this offers lots of chances for branding and printing. However, these do come with a downside that if someone can’t get it together again, then your logo is lost! Luckily they have though of this and you can now get a smaller version with just 4 squares each side, making this much easier to twist and get back to the original message. Again, another one that is unlikely to end up in the bin!

So, having had a look at 10 novelty gift ideas, just have a think about these landing on your desk – what would you do with it? Unless you have a fear of these items, then it is very unlikely that they will end up being discarded and as long as you choose wisely, they will last longer than a pen or other standard item.