Robby Cordes, CAS, director of ad specialty division, Hospitality Mints, Boone, N.C., agreed, citing a survey where customers, when asked about items they wish distributors would present, named edible products 58 percent of the time. "Many distributors do not realize that mints are a recommended sale," he added. "Not too often does a client call for an individually wrapped mint. You have to recommend and add the mints to the order."
Cordes gave an example. "Any time you sell someone a beverage item—a mug, a tumbler, a water cooler—never leave the item empty," he said. "An excellent way for an add-on sale is to fill that beverage item with a specifically tailored, individually wrapped mint. The logo on the wrappers could be the company name, a holiday [theme] or the theme of an upcoming meeting, or just a way to say 'Thanks a mint' to your employees or customers."
That advice isn't limited to mints, of course. Chocolate, candy and other edibles can be used in a similar manner, as long as you get creative and keep your client's promotional goals in mind.
While it's true that just about everyone loves sweets, translating that love into promotional success isn't as simple as throwing a bunch of random candy into a logoed tin. You've got to pick the right product, and that starts with the supplier. "Make sure you are working with a supplier that you trust is providing you the freshest food," said Margaret Dengler, marketing director for Mid-Nite Snax, Mineola, N.Y. "Find out if products are made to order or packed in advance. The supplier should be monitored by the FDA."
After that, things get a bit more subjective, depending on the client. Working with a big company or major corporation? Dengler suggested jellybeans or other candies available in corporate colors. Does your client want a thank-you gift for a loyal customer? Shechtman recommended gift baskets with a variety of treats that can be shared. "Food is a shared consumption product line," she said. "By that I mean the gift can be enjoyed by a group, office or family, so the impact is viral and everyone shares in the excitement and enjoyment."