In the marketing world, ubiquity is king, and there is perhaps no product more ubiquitous than the stress reducer. Think about it: what desk, what workstation, what cubicle is complete without one? A promotional pen might spend much of its life in a drawer or buried under those forms you've been meaning to file, but a stress ball—with all its potential for quirky, colorful and eye-catching design—is a conversation piece, a reflection of its owner's personality. A stress reducer demands not just to be squeezed, but to be displayed—and that means a whole lot of brand visibility.
"Great, I'll take 35,000!" you might be exclaiming. But there's more to stress reducers than smiley faces, soft foam and shouting large numbers to no one in particular. In order to capitalize on the substantial promotional opportunities offered by stress reducers, you need to be prepared. You need to know all about durometer (or hardness) and its effect on imprint quality. You need to understand the capabilities and limitations of different printing methods. And most importantly, you need to get creative.
KEEPING IT REAL
Blind date-goers and Pittsburgh Pirates fans discovered long ago that realistic expectations are essential for success, and many industry insiders agree that the same can be said for any marketing campaign involving stress reducers. If this seems like a defeatist attitude, it's not. The reality is there are unique challenges present in the manufacture of stress reducers not found in the production of pens, water bottles or other promotional goods.
Eric Levin, CEO and founder of Jetline, Gaffney, S.C., cited the porous qualities and varying durometer of polyurethane—the primary material used in stress reducer construction—as the main culprits. "On a hard plastic product it's kind of like screen printing onto paper; imagine printing on a sponge—not so easy," Levin said. "Make sure that your client understands that the orientation [of the imprint] from unit to unit is going to vary slightly based on the durometer of the stress ball."