Don’t Rain on My Parade
DURING THE TIMES of pharaohs and pyramids, umbrellas were a convenience reserved only for the upper-echelon of society. However, 21st-
century umbrellas have much more to do than shield
royalty from rain and shine. They are one of the few ad
specialty products deserving of the title, “walking
billboard.” With new imprinting techniques and equally modern designs, umbrellas are expanding their scope as viable promotional products.
Helen Stromberg, president of Hudson Valley Umbrella/StrombergBrand, Peekskill, N.Y., said, “Umbrellas really started taking off when the imprinting technology started advancing ten years ago.” Now, with a wide selection of printing methods
available—digital printing, heat transfer and sublimation, for example—vibrant, four-color graphics can be produced on an umbrella’s entire surface, she noted. Arriving hand-in-hand with decorative advancements were technological innovations in wind ventilation, said Bernie Trowbridge, vice president of Dallas-based Redline. He said the increasingly popular double-canopy design “allows wind pressure to be released through the vents instead of forcing the umbrella to turn inside out, which often destroyed the umbrella.” Other design features that keep umbrellas on top include collapsible styles as well as auto open/close features.
CHASE THE BLUES AWAY
As is the case with most other promotional product categories, umbrellas are experiencing a revival in color. From hot pink to lime green, the items lend themselves well to promoting on even the most dismal of days. “People want things that are new, hot and trendy,” noted Stromberg. “They want things that are bright and cheerful. They want exciting items, and umbrellas can be that.”
This year, Trowbridge anticipates the continued
popularity of Redline’s 48" auto-opening umbrella. He said of all the umbrellas the company carries, this continues to be its top seller. “I believe this is because the umbrella, which is available in low quantities and is very inexpensive, truly [has] a great marketing value.”