The Joy of (Promotional) Cooking
Kitchens. One room, so much stuff. Blenders, spoons, frosting knives, pickle forks, frosting forks, mixing bowls, cake-traps, pizza-houses, beer steins, beer traps, poodle-shaped dish sponges, hand towels, that thing you put butter in when a girl is coming over and might look in your fridge, wine openers, bottle openers, plates (both with and without classy leaf patterns), olive carousels, carousel olives, etc. The list could continue indefinitely, which is fine if you're a cooking or olive-carousel enthusiast. If you've got to pick one or two good products for a kitchen promotion though? Much less so.
Do yourself a favor. Refrain from browsing the sprawling infinity that is all the possible kitchen items out there. Instead, let us give you a solid starting point and get your creativity flowing with a short list of some of the best kitchen products out there.
What Makes Them Good: High visibility, functionality and user appreciation. "Right now, there's more cooking being done at home," said Steven Meyer, MAS, vice president of sales for Molenaar LLC, Willmar, Minn. "People don't want to waste their money, so items in the kitchen that are useful and functional are even more important now than a couple years ago when we all went out to eat."
A Recipe for Success: "The Five-in-one Spoon was used in a bank throughout several branch locations," said Meyer. "The bank bought the 5-in-1 spoon and put two of our measuring spoons together, so you had every kind of amount up from a quarter teaspoon to a tablespoon in this set of two. The imprint was 'banking beyond measure,' and it was kind of a rebranding of these retail branch locations that were located in grocery stores," he explained. "So it tied in very well to the geography of the land, so to speak, where [the customers] were, and of course to the bank. I believe over 30,000 sets were handed out over a weekend through half-a-dozen locations, so it was pretty successful in getting their rebranding out."
What Makes Them Good: "Simplicity and value," said Michelle Stiles, vice president of operations, Americanna Company, Plymouth, Mass. She explained that the item's low cost and long lifespan give buyers a lot of marketing oomph for their dollars. Some openers such as Americanna Company's can also be custom-cut into a number of different shapes.
A Recipe for Success: "Because they're available in so many different shapes, we do see a lot of creative things, like a key-shape that says 'unlock your potential,' that sort of thing," said Stiles. She added as well that QR codes were becoming a popular addition to the company's openers.
What Makes Them Good: Ubiquity. "Everyone has them and we use them for everything," said Matt Laubacher, director of brand development for ETS Express Inc., Oxnard, Calif. "The shapes may be a bit different to fit various corporate images, but they'll never go out of style. The fact that they are dishwasher- and microwave-safe doesn't hurt either."
A Recipe for Success: "At its grand opening, a local roaster and coffee shop sent the first 200 customers home with a tall latte mug and a sample of its signature roasted beans branded as its 'home edition,'" said Laubacher. "the mug reminds the customer every time they go into their cupboard that they can bring the experience from the store home with them."
What Makes Them Good: Similar to oven mitts, kitchen containers are a highly practical item that can be used daily. Depending on their size, they can also feature very large imprint areas. Higher-end containers such as glass jars can even serve decorative purposes as countertop storage items.
A Recipe for Success: "A bank placed several small candy bars in the storage container and passed them out to their customers at Christmas," said Bob Lipic, president of Diversified-Adtee, Normal, Ill. "Customers came back and asked the bank if they could have another container, as it has great utility and high perceived value," he said.
What Makes Them Good: Besides an obviously high utility, pot holders often have a wide, clear imprint area.
A Recipe for Success: "A local bakery attended a large holiday craft fair, hosted by several churches in the region," said Sarah Sumner, program coordinator for Bay State Specialty Company, Lakeville, Mass. "The bakery gave out a pot holder with each of their baked breads, cookies and cakes that were sold at the craft fair. On the pot holder, the company printed, 'From our Hands to Yours,' with the bakery logo and contact information," she explained. "The holders were also given to the local food banks and churches that took part in the fundraising," she said.
What Makes Them Good: They're family-oriented. Many kitchen promotions are used over and over again in the act of cooking, but few intertwine themselves into family bonding and holiday memories as well as cookie cutters. "With cookie-making, it's not about the end-product, it's about the journey," said Ben Clark, vice president and general manager of Ann Clark Ltd., Rutland, Vt. He explained that the experience and emotional connection created from parents and children baking together can make a stronger marketing impact, since it's such a sincere and valued experience.
A Recipe for Success: "Heritage Family credit union did a three-piece gift set," said Clark. "They gave it out every time someone did a mortgage," he explained. Clark stated that the idea of the promotion was that the cookie cutters would make enough impact on new home owners that they'd remember them three or four years later when they were looking to move or refinance their mortgage.