YOUR LOGO HERE? – promotional gifts and tshirts

Two Gildan Heavy T-shirts – a present from my Mother this Christmas. Nothing wrong with that, a perfectly decent pair of T-s lovingly wrapped in sparkly red paper, with all the care and attention only a dear old Mum can give.


I’m sure as she was carefully applying the ribbon she felt she was doing her best for me, just as she did 30 years ago when she shot at me in the garden with my own air rifle for being cheeky. The fact of the matter is that giving a t-shirt printer the gift of T-shirts, is not dissimilar to proudly presenting a farmer with a bag of soil – and it got me thinking….promotional gifts….what do you get that you actually want?


Now I guess you can’t argue with all the old bankers, they’re about as interesting as the Boy’s Bumper Book of Knots, but they work, just as well as a sheepshank or an angler’s loop:


Clocks – the employers are looking at them, to see what time their new hairy fisted Neanderthal recruit has managed to drag himself in to work; the employees are looking at them, so that at one nano second to five they can explode from the running blocks and out of the door; and we’re all looking at them, over reps shoulders when they whip out the holiday snaps of the Mrs on a log flume in Fuengerola. They’re available for all promotional budgets, starting with a cardboard circle and a couple of drinking straws, through to those ones that also tell the time in New York and Beijing (in a sad attempt to convince people that you really have got an office outside Nuneaton) – so clocks are good.


Rulers…dreary? Well yes but be honest, when you’re on your own in the office, admit to me you’ve never sat twanging one on the edge of the desk in an attempt to create some Aboriginal style sound track. No? Or screwed up some paper and used your ruler to flick it into a distant bin, punching the air just a little bit as it goes in and growling ‘Cash back’. Must be just me then, but they are useful for holding up to your left nipple when deciding on the length of a print or embroidery, 8 centimetres or 10, so rulers work and I’m happy to receive them.


Mugs – safe as houses – garment printers and embroiderers drink more T than chimps who wear their own clothes and play the piano. It may well be a thinly veiled attempt to spend two thirds of the day going to the toilet, but there’s no getting away from it we need those mugs. What else are we going to bang down on the desk in front of our female business partners while shouting ‘Shut your mouth, put your knitting down and make us a nice cup of tea there’s a love’…….I now of course have exactly one month to live before Jane reads this, and for what it’s worth I would like to be buried at sea in women’s underwear.


And the list goes on;


Pens – mightier than the sword apparently, although I wouldn’t have fancied my chances at Bannockburn with a biro. Still, I suppose we all write so OK.


Desk pads – usually ending up as a mix of the Olympic coffee rings, a few phallic cartoons and a phone number for someone you can’t remember, but we use them so I suppose so.

Mug Mats and mouse mats – same thing really, and handy when someone else is using the desk pad, so I’ll have some of those as well please.


Diaries – never used one myself but apparently there are people who have a life and do find them handy – especially the one’s with a world map only readable with an electron microscope, and the conversion page that tells you how many cubic centilitres there are in a fluid ounce – vital stuff.


Chocolates – very nice, but I did know a promotional chocolate supplier once that had a set of choppers that made Albert Steptoe look like the fourth Bee gee, so proceed with care.

Pen knives – always useful for opening those boxes, and much appreciated by my seven year old tree carving son – according to my better half a ‘Good toe-ending up the street’ is not an acceptable punishment these days, and I had to settle for removal of TV rights.


And so on and so on, but beyond a certain point I wonder if it all starts to go off at a gradual tangent. We then move into a mid range of products that we don’t really need, and aren’t remotely useful, but that we hope people will quite like to receive – the teddy bear, champagne, and die cast model of a 1930’s bread van market.


Now I’m not knocking it – as a result of twanging my ruler in Maths and not getting a proper job, I’m right in it. Who really needs another promotional T-shirt? All we can do is try and introduce a few fashion values and make them so lovely that they won’t be used for lagging a pipe within two days of the event – but if the customer insists on having a six foot phone number and a date on the back of the shirt, there’s not much we can do to make them a lasting thing of beauty. Just think of how many times you’ve seen someone following a T-shirt trying to write down a phone number by the way – it just doesn’t happen, and if it does, it’s stalking.


But then we move into a final category, and it’s a very well intentioned one. It’s brought about by that most noble of human desires; to endlessy find new ways to communicate, a desire that has given us……. the promotional fire extinguisher.


Now I don’t know about you, but when I’m dousing myself in water from the spray booth and running into the flames to save a fluffy kitten from certain death, I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be looking at my logo emblazoned fire tool and thinking ‘That reminds me, I really must give Frank’s Cob Shop another go, I’ve been hearing great things about his pastrami on rye’. This is the sector that brings us the key fob that can be used for levelling a wonky table – great idea presumably until you grab your car keys in a hurry and leave to the sound of smashing cups.


But this stuff sells – it must do or it wouldn’t exist, so I must be wrong…….again.


You’ll let me put one promotional item into room 101 though won’t you? I thought about those flat pack things that build into a desk tidy – the one’s you have to be a Grand Master in Origami to construct, and then end up stamping on while repeatedly shouting ‘Die’ just relieve yourself of the whole experience. But I’m not going for that, because the promotional tool that really makes me poorly, and this may surprise you, is the badly over printed calendar from Nobby’s Caravans – you know the one, with the oh so bloody cheery English country scenes. If I turn over January to see another squirrel, head at a cheeky angle, tail a quiver, I’m going to ask my Mum where she put that air rifle and teach little Fuzznuts a lesson.


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