Every Second Counts
When referencing such a broad concept as time, there are so many puns and expressions available to a writer, coming up with one on the fly is second nature. (There’s one, get it? “Second” nature?) As such, this paragraph represents a moment of truth (two) for its author—an exercise in candor that may or may not backfire, but here goes.
The jig is up. The following article overuses clever catchphrases about time. Yes, it details great tips for selling clocks and watches, but collateral damage is done in the form of exuberant quippy-ness. So read on, and learn the latest time trends down to the most minute detail (aaand there’s three, but it’s only the beginning). Just know this: Behind every groan-worthy pun, this Promo Marketing editor is sighing shamefacedly at her own flagrant disregard for self-editing.
AHEAD OF TIME
With the advent of new-fangled technologies—computers, cell phones, PDAs and the like—do consumers have a use for classic, analog clocks and watches? According to Jennifer Grigorian, director of advertising/marketing for Monrovia, California-based Sweda Company, their almost vintage-style appeal is exactly what’s giving these items traction in today’s marketplace, at least in the case of watches. “Traditional analog watches are always great gifts—a timeless timepiece that will last for years,” she exclaimed. Plus, since watches are great choices for gifting programs (employee recognition, anniversaries and the like), a more traditional style is often better to ensure continuity over the years, noted Tom Carroll, vice president of marketing and sales for The Selco Companies, Tulsa, Okla. “There’s not a week that goes by we don’t have someone calling saying, ‘Hey, we had this “X” brand in a program and it’s no longer available, can you help us find something that’s close?,’” he maintained.
But developments that are working for watches are actually contributing to a decline in clock promotions. “Within Selco Geneve [the company’s flagship line], we’ve always had the wood clocks … [and] those are the ones we’re kind of getting away from because the trend was we just weren’t seeing those move,” said Carroll. He named the proliferation of computersand an influx of cheaper imports as the culprits scattering market share.
However, don’t ring the death knell for clocks just yet. Though the classic wood-and-brass iterations aren’t pulling as well as in the past, Carroll has found that Oregon Scientific, a retail brand name offered through Selco’s Abelle Tech line, is hitting a different section of the market. “They bring a techy thing to it. Some of those clocks include weather forecasting … they have some built-in, barometer-type measuring devices so they can give a little bit of overview of the weather,” he reported.
Watches are getting in on the multifunctional game, as well. Grigorian noted sporty digital watches are similar to such clocks in that a distributor can get the most value for the least amount of money. “Popular features in this category include stopwatch, alarm clock, pulse monitor, temperature, calculator, etc.,” she said. In a similar vein, Selco’s Abelle Tech offers watches that measure heart rate and blood pressure as well as calculate calories burned. Carroll mentioned that these particular styles are often being used with wellness programs.
In the spirit ofmultitasking,one of the most important non-time-related demands watches are filling these days is that of a fashion piece. From a retail standpoint, Carroll frankly pointed out, “Somebody’s not going to spend $10,000 on a watch just to tell time.” And the watch-as-accessory mindset is transitioning over to the promotional products industry, at least for a younger demographic. “It becomes a fashion statement, and from a promotion standpoint, if the watch is one they like, they’re going to wear it more which makes the logo that’s on there that much more visible than a lot of other product[s],” he added. It becomes instinctual for most people, and because of that, there’s more of a chance an end-user will wear it often, as opposed to a logoed shirt, which gets cycled in only every now and then. “Anytime you can give someone an elegant watch they will wear every day, you gain that much more logo exposure,” Grigorian said. Carroll agreed: “From a pure cost-per-impression standpoint, it’s there.”
He noted that one of the most popular designs to date is a two-tone bracelet style (using both gold and silver metal), however, stainless-steel choices are becoming more commonplace. “It’s a heavier watch, a bigger face and [in] stainless steel,” Carroll reported, noting this development mirrors a surge in retail over the past few years.