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5 of the Best Promotional Merchandise Campaigns to Inspire your Next Campaign

Updated: Jul 30

Promotional merchandise is everywhere. From branded pens to promotional tote bags, who hasn’t picked up a freebie when it was offered to them?


But how many of these promotional products do you actually remember?


The key to ensuring your branded merchandise is remembered is to be creative.


To inspire your next branded merchandise campaign, we’ve put together a few of our favourite promotional product campaigns.


What is a promotional merchandise campaign?


Promotional gifts are low-cost, high-impact products that are printed with your company logo and branding. Branded merchandise can include anything from promotional caps and mugs to branded pens and umbrellas. When distributed to your target audience to achieve a particular marketing goal, they form part of a promotional merchandise campaign. Your campaign goal could be increasing your brand awareness, driving sales, or improving your customer loyalty.


Here are some great examples of branded merchandise campaigns:


1) Tony Hawk’s Branded Merchandise Scavenger Hunt

Tony Hawk's Scavenger Hunt Promotional Merchandise Campaign

In 2012, the skateboarding company Birdhouse launched their ‘Twitter Hunt’. The campaign took the form of a scavenger hunt that spanned the entire world. The brand’s followers could find 80 boxes hidden in major cities. Birdhouse's gift boxes were filled with promotional merchandise including embroidered caps, promotional drinkware, and speciality merchandise like skateboards.


How did it work?


The brand used Tony Hawk’s Twitter account to tweet clues about the mystery locations of the hidden gifts. The lucky winners had to tweet a photo of themselves with the promotional merchandise, the location of the box, and the branded hashtag.


Why did it work?

  • Tony Hawk’s campaign showcases the power of combining your offline and online marketing efforts. He used promotional merchandise to create something different and turned to social media to ensure his campaign reached thousands. The result was a fun, exciting campaign that sparked conversations both offline and on social media.

  • This campaign also demonstrates the importance of investing in quality over quantity. Birdhouse invested in fewer high-quality branded products and as a result, had more people interested in the merchandise he had to offer.

  • Hawk used the marketing technique gamification (using typical elements of game playing in marketing). The competitive nature of the scavenger hunt made his campaign fun and exciting, something his followers wanted to be involved with.


How can you use this in your marketing?


Although many small businesses may not have the budget for a campaign as big as Birdhouse’s, the principle can still be applied on a smaller scale. Why not set up a scavenger hunt in your local area? Hide several exciting promotional products and post clues online for your customers to find throughout the day. Don’t forget to create a branded hashtag to get your clients talking about your brand online!


2) Coca Cola’s Happiness Truck


Coca-Cola is no stranger to branded merchandise. With a range of collector's items available, Coca-Cola has used the power of promotional merchandise to their advantage.


In 2012, Coca-Cola launched their Happiness Truck campaign. One of their iconic red trucks took to the streets of several cities worldwide to spread smiles to passers-by.



The video above shows the residents of Malaysia receiving items like branded t-shirts, promotional sunglasses, customised footballs and bottles of Coca-Cola.


Why did it work?

  • Coca-Cola played on the theme of emotional marketing to make their audience notice, remember, and share. They launched videos of the campaign on their Facebook page that led the brand to be associated with the spreading of happiness.

  • Coca-Cola branded their truck with their company colours and logo. As a result, the Happiness Truck and its positive connotations became associated with the brand.


How can you use this in your marketing?


Coca-Cola’s campaign showcases the delight that customers feel when they receive a piece of branded merchandise. To incorporate this into your marketing, why not visit a few of your top clients armed with promotional products in hand. You are bound to make them smile and, it will ensure your brands remembered.


Or, if you want to take it one step further, why not have a go at recreating your own branded happiness truck? Van livery is a great way to brand your company vehicle and is fantastic for getting your business noticed whilst you are out and about.


3) IAMS Promotional Frisbee Giveaway


IAM's Promotional Frisbee Branded Merchandise Campaign

On a much smaller scale, IAMS Australia successfully brought to life the benefits of their dog food by giving away promotional Frisbees. IAMS Australia took to their local park to distribute promotional frisbees in the shape of barbell weights. When the dogs played with these heavy-looking frisbees, it made them appear big and strong, emphasising the health benefits of their dog food.


Why did it work?

  • As the frisbees were printed with the IAM’s logo, their brand was exposed to other dog owners who also frequented the park. Therefore, successfully increasing their brand exposure.

  • IAM’s successfully identified their target audience, using a relevant promotional product to make their prospects feel valued and grateful to have a promotional gift that they could enjoy with their pets. Giving them an incentive to consider the brand next time they shop for dog food.


How can you use this in your marketing?


IAM’s are a great example of a brand that successfully identified its target audience, understood their needs, and knew exactly where to find them.


Choosing a promotional product that resonates with your target audience and handing them out in places they often frequent is a great way to increase your brand exposure and incorporate IAMS' techniques into your marketing. For example, if your target audience is young people interested in sport, you could head to your local recreation ground or sports field to hand out branded promotional sports bottles.


4. Colgate’s Don’t Forget Lollipop Campaign

Colgate's Don't Forget Promotional Lollipop Campaign

Edible promotional products are a great way to keep your customers sweet and, Colgate did just this with their branded confectionery campaign.


During Oral Health Month, Colgate gave out branded lollipops to remind their target audience to brush their teeth after eating sweets. Once the lollipops had been eaten, a lollipop stick in the shape of a toothbrush that read ‘don’t forget’ was revealed. This simple message was paired with the Colgate logo to remind consumers to brush their teeth.


Why did it work?

  • Besides reminding consumers to brush their teeth and encouraging a healthy oral care routine, this fun promotional products campaign also enhanced Colgate’s brand recall. The use of a memorable product that appealed to their target audience made a big impact on their consumers.

  • Pairing their giveaway with a seasonal holiday (Oral Health Month) ensured that Colgate’s campaign was relevant and seen by the right people.


5. McVities VIP Club

McVities VIP Club Promotional Merchandise Campaign

McVities famously launched a reward scheme that rewarded loyal customers for choosing to buy their products. Consumers had to enter unique codes found on every pack of biscuits on the new McVities VIP website.


Consumers could exchange their points for smaller branded products like promotional fridge magnets, branded mugs and customised tote bags, or save up their points to win designer teapots and digital radios.


The campaign was supported by a TV advertisement, PR, email marketing and point-of-sale advertisements in-store to increase awareness.


Why did it work?

  • Consumers tend to choose brands that conduct promotions regularly. By offering promotional gifts to their customers, McVities successfully encouraged more consumers to sign up for the VIP Club programme. This meant that customers purchased more products from McVities regularly to earn points, leading to an increase in sales.

  • By offering promotional goods like branded mugs and designer teapots, McVities successfully cemented its association with the tea break, encouraging consumers to choose McVities over other brands.


How can you use this in your marketing?


Rewards programmes are a great way to encourage repeat purchases and to improve your customer loyalty. So, why not have a go at creating a loyalty scheme of your own?


You could create a points system where customers who earn the most loyalty points could be put into a draw to win a high-quality branded product. Whereas, customers who earn fewer points could win smaller promotional gifts.


A points-based loyalty programme can be a great way to reinforce brand loyalty and keep your customers coming back time and time again.


Find out more


Creative promotional merchandise campaigns are a great way to ensure your brand is remembered.


At Soar Valley Press, we offer a wide range of branded merchandise. Our brochure includes over 160 pages of it! Including everything from promotional pens and mugs to customised t-shirts and corporate workwear, ensuring that you have everything you need to make a lasting impression.


Click here to get your free copy, today!


Any questions? Our team are always ready and willing to help. You can contact us on 0116 259 9955 or email orders@soarvalleypress.co.uk. We’re always ready to get the conversation started.