Food for Thought: Finding the Right Food Promotion for Clients
Food doesn’t have the staying power that a tote bag or a stylus does, so why are you selling them? Because it tastes so good. Also there are ways to get your client’s brand on food promotions. No matter how quickly it disappears, it’s still appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed.
“So, we feel the purpose of promotional products is to ‘engage the senses,’” David Katz, executive vice president of Midnite Snax, Bethpage, N.Y., said. “What better way to do that than with food? I would argue that edible promotions are the only promotions that engage all five of the senses. You can’t taste a pen! You get no satisfying crunch from a polo shirt. So, we have a bit of a monopoly on that claim.”
We spoke to Katz, as well as Kecia McKinnis, manager of 1919 Candy Co., a line of The Magnet Group, Washington, Mo., and Thomas Riordan, president of Maple Ridge Farms, Mosinee, Wis., to get some more insights on selling food promotions. Why food? Aside from its deliciousness, its uses are very diversified. Food can be the life of the party—a trade show snack, a holiday gift, an employee reward—but it also plays well with other promotional products. Here are three examples of successful food promotions:
1. A distributor sold 10,000 units of The Magnet Group’s Business Card Magnet with Bag of Swedish Fish to a manufacturing company that wanted to reward its employees nationwide.
“A corporation was celebrating 5,000 days straight without any injuries, and wanted to hand out an item to all employees to highlight the event,” McKinnis said. “The focus for the giveaway was single-color candy to match their corporate logo colors, along with a magnet to hang on the fridge or filing cabinet to remember the day. Each employee received a packet before the kickoff luncheon event at each manufacturing facility across the country.”
2. At Midnite Snax, a distributor pitched Hot Chocolate on a Spoon with Marshmallows as a giveaway for Macy’s 89th annual Thanksgiving Parade.
“The end result was a white mug with purple imprint and a sweet surprise inside—our best-selling Hot Chocolate on a Spoon with Marshmallows,” Katz said. “Each mug was decorated with a hangtag displaying a festive illustration of the parade. … It was the perfect gift for executives to indulge in while they watched Snoopy and friends float down Sixth Avenue in New York City.”
3. Food promotions can be much more than food, as a distributor discovered when Maple Ridge Farms contributed to a bank promotion for new clients.
“Every time the bank gets a new commercial customer or a new customer for their private banking service they have us send a gift basket to the customer,” Riordan said. “The basket includes a number of promotional products—travel mug, desk diary, power bank and earbuds. Also included are individually wrapped cookies and brownies.”
How to sell it? Sometimes the right option might be a higher-end food gift.
“Everybody loves to receive gourmet, quality food—something they might not go out and purchase for themselves, Riordan said. “But remember, it needs to be gourmet quality.”
Other times, something that the brand relates to may be the big selling point.
"People make unforgettable memories associated with the taste and smell of food,” McKinnis said. “How many times have you tasted or smelled a food item that brought back a memory from earlier in your life? All brand marketers will want to associate their logo or brand message with the warm and fuzzy feeling that food items bring.”
But remember—when dealing with food that could spoil or melt, weather is another key thing to consider.
“If you are using food in a promotion and it is being given out in Arizona in July, you probably should avoid chocolate because it melts in the heat,” Riordan said.
How to imprint it? Imprints on food promotions can take a few different routes.
Packaging: “Our magnet packs have attached magnets that will stick around long after the candy is enjoyed,” McKinnis said. “The card and candy combos, tins and jars keep the logos top of mind.”
Direct to food: “We offer a wide array of items that feature this trendsetting method of printing,” Katz said. “From conversation hearts to cookies [and] from graham crackers to mints, [it’s] always a hit with the end-users.”
Accessories: “Our cheese and sausage packages are different in that each of ours comes with a hardwood cutting board that will be used for years, long after the food has been enjoyed,” Riordan said. “Each cutting board is firebranded with the logo of the company who provided the food gift thus generating goodwill for years to come.”
Amanda L. Cole is the editor-in-chief of NonProfit PRO. She was formerly editor-in-chief of special projects for NonProfit PRO's sister publication, Promo Marketing. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.