Write On

No promotional product gets passed around more than pens, which is why they have the best value per impression of any promotional item. “The message gets in front of an average of eight owners,” says Pam Baker, executive assistant and marketing copywriter at supplier Hub Pen (PPAI 110772). “And considering the long ink life of our pens, maybe even more. Pens have become the new business card.”

RJ Hagel, marketing manager for supplier Goldstar (PPAI 114031), says, “Like many consumer-based products, pens are ever-evolving, changing with the trends and capitalizing on new materials and color options. Painted metallic finishes continue to be one of the fastest-growing product features. Another growing trend he’s seeing is the use of rubberized coatings on not only pens, but on other kinds of promotional products. “The coating is essentially a colored spray that gives you a soft, rubberized feel, much like a rubber grip,” says Hagel. “The great thing about a spray is that you can cover the entire product with it, versus a mold that has to be efficiently designed to fit into an assembly process.”

Pens in classic colors are always a safe bet, but Hagel says that brighter colors are continuing to rise in popularity. “Although the traditional red, navy and black are tried and true, lime green, cyan, magenta and purple are taking their fair share of the sales as well. We have even seen yellow come back a bit more.” 

Hagel points to four-color decoration as a branding must. “Our 360-degree wraps provide a huge branding area that is not so dissimilar in size to web banners and other digital media.”
New novelty pen options are also giving brands greater ability to stand out from the crowd, says Mike Fleming, vice president of sales for Hub Pen. He touts lighted imprint pens for their ability to make an imprint “pop” when printed. “We are finalizing a really neat version of this style where the imprint looks pretty dazzling whether the light is on or off,” he says.

Melissa Ralston, director of marketing for BIC Graphic USA (PPAI 114187), cites the ongoing trend of technology and hybrid ink in the pen market. “Technology continues to be a major influence in writing instrument designs, as seen in the popularity of pens with styluses and multi-function tablet/phone screen cleaners. Hybrid ink systems are also in high demand as these provide the smoothness of gel ink with the quick drying time of ballpoint ink.”

And higher-end pens are ever popular, according to Baker. “We have been seeing a lot of promotional pens with higher end, fine writing instrument (gift pen) looks. There’s a higher perceived value, which makes these new designs stand out: luxury metallics like ‘smartphone gold’ or gunmetal have been popular with our customers,” she says.

One thing is certain when it comes to recommending pens for your clients: don’t cheap out. “Quality and overall value are still on the top of most people’s minds when it comes to products they purchase for themselves and their business. We are in the business of branding and I think it is safe to say that no brand would want themselves associated with a cheap pen that doesn’t write or that doesn’t click properly,” says Hagel.


Noteworthy Necessities

Add a high-class touch to your client’s marketing with the Marquis Ely Padfolio, which features a textured spine, 50-sheet note pad, Celtic-knot pattern, and space for important papers, business cards, a pocket calendar and a pen.
ADG Promotional Products / PPAI 111475 / www.adgpromo.com







Full-color adhesive business cards are the perfect blend of a traditional business card with an adhesive note. Set up the card using the template with designated writing space or create a completely custom card in full color.
Bebco / PPAI 113802 / www.bebco.com




This useful four-by-four-inch square, 1.5-inch high adhesive cube notepad presents a colorful message opportunity for any office or home. It contains approximately 375 60-pound sheets and uses soy-based inks as well as a water-based adhesive with no solvents.
Fields Manufacturing / PPAI 111951 / www.fieldsmfg.com






These Pens Know How To Tell A Story

The Color Pro is a VibraColor® full-color, direct-print-on-barrel pen, which means your client’s message can be printed on both sides. It’s also a click-action retractable pen with a touch stylus and is very handy for when the user needs to multitask by writing and using a tablet or phone at the same time. This fun pen comes with seven available colorful comfort grips to set off imprints and an easy glide feature that makes writing smooth.
All In One / PPAI 111343 / www.allinoneline.com





Get the most out of trade-show giveaways with a banner pen that offers a bigger and better way to showcase your client’s name. Designed with a pull-out banner, this unique writing utensil displays an image on both sides of a 2.6 x 6.75-inch imprint area. This is an ideal item for companies looking for a compact way to display vivid logos and graphics to tell a company’s story. Available pen colors include: black, purple, red, yellow, green, orange, pink, white, blue and clear with blue or black ink.
Quinn Flags & Banners / PPAI 360359 / www.quinnflags.com




This twist action retractable ballpoint pen with a soft rubberized gripping section, chrome accents and a built-in soft touch stylus in matching color is part of BIC’s Good Value® Collection.
BIC Graphic USA / PPAI 114187 / www.bicgraphic.com



This doubly useful Double Exposure writing instrument is a highlighter and ballpoint in one. It’s great for students and professionals, especially attorneys and bankers who highlight information for their clients to complete. The highlighter has yellow ink and the pen’s ink comes in black or blue. The pen cap color matches the ink color and the white barrel allows for an imprint with up to three colors.
Beacon Promotions, Inc. / PPAI 113702 / www.beaconpromotions.com





The new Smart 3N1 Pen Stylus is a plastic matte metallic slim stylus pen with a twist mechanism and medium point black refill. It is three-in-one: a pen, a stylus and a tech stand.
Crown Products, Inc. / PPAI 113430 / www.crownprod.com




The Zebra Sarasa® gel retractable pen is a smart choice for a comfortable writing experience with its smooth ink lay-down and 14 vibrant ink colors that won’t smear or smudge—even for lefties. The Rapid Dry Ink Technology is just one more benefit. The soft rubber grip on the plastic barrel matches the ink.
Gemline / PPAI 113948 / www.gemline.com



Bring colorful personality to fine writing tasks with the Retro Pop pen collection. The six modern, smartly styled and uniquely expressive pens can match any personality. These refillable pens are available in fine point gel roller, medium point ballpoint or fine and medium nib fountain pen.
Pilot Pen Corporation of America / PPAI 112712 / www.pilotpenpromo.com






The Damali Stylus pen makes a strong impression as a corporate gift. High-tech design details give this European executive pen modern appeal, including deep enamel colors accented with a chrome grid pattern reminiscent of blueprints and graphs. A handy stylus designed for increased connectivity will help make working with a tablet or smartphone effortless. The smooth twist retraction and even smoother black writing ink guarantee true writing enjoyment.
Hub Pen Company / PPAI 110772 / www.hubpen.com






Promotional Touchdown
Each year, an Iowa university holds football clinics for the state’s high school coaches. And each year, the school gives attendees logoed items with the upcoming schedule that can be used that day to record lectures, write notes, and more. Iowa City, Iowa distributor Bankers Advertising Company (PPAI 101972) reached out to Cedar Rapids, Iowa supplier Cedar Crest Manufacturing (PPAI 409498) to see if it was possible to put the university’s full 2017 game schedule on the Assant Stylus Pen. With its LaserScribe 360™ decoration, Cedar Crest was not only able to get the full schedule on the pen, but also included the school mascot image in two locations as well.

The pen was paired with an Ambassador Graphic Wrap Bound JournalBook™ from New Kensington, Pennsylvania-based supplier Leed’s (PPAI 112361). With a debossed athletics logo and a custom full-color graphic wrap of the school’s football stadium, the university’s brand was definitely front and center. These two items made a thoughtful keepsake for the coaches in attendance and proved to be items they will refer back to often during the season. 


The Promotional Power Of Pens
PPAI’s 2012 Study of Writing Instruments in U.S. Households examined the importance of writing instruments in everyday life and their effectiveness as an advertising medium. Survey responses revealed the following powerful facts about pens:
• Nearly 70 percent of promotional pen recipients who had received one pen in the past year remembered the name of the advertiser
• Nearly 53 percent remembered the message imprinted on the pen
• Thirty-two percent said the pen affected their decision to contact the advertiser
• Forty percent reported the intention to do further business with the sponsor in the future
• Forty percent used the promotional pen they received at least one to five times a day.
• Fifty-six percent reported that they keep their promotional pen for as long as it writes.
• For a pen costing the advertiser $1, the impression cost per thousand users over an entire year is 43.6 cents. Overall, the cost for each impression is only a fraction of cent or $0.000436.


Jazzed About Journals

Missy Kilpatrick, vice president of business development for The Book Company (PPAI 218850), says that journals are big sellers for sales meetings and corporate events. “Journals offer pages of space for information about your company or services and are an ideal choice for meetings, events and promotions. The Book Company’s journal collections provide up to eight full-color promo pages that can tell a story, sell product solutions, highlight an anniversary with company history or thank customers,” Kilpatrick says. 

She emphasizes that beyond promoting the event name on the cover, the inside of a journal can be customized to include the event itinerary, speaker bios and other key information along with plenty of blank pages where notes can be taken during the meeting. “Technology companies, whose employees and customers are often screen-facing, are increasingly using journals for internal meetings and to showcase new products,” she adds. The following journals provide customization opportunities galore.


The unique pattern of this five- by seven-inch notebook with pen draws attention to the imprint. It includes 70 lined pages and a Temecula pen. The pen has oval accents on the rubber grip and a medium point, and dispenses high-quality Glide-Write™ black ink.
Evans Manufacturing / PPAI 110747 / www.evans-mfg.com







Journal, sketch or doodle on the go with this full-color Field Journal. The journal includes perforated sheets featuring lines, graph or new Euro dots. It’s available in four sizes.
Drum-Line / PPAI 102565 / www.drum-line.com








Featuring cutting-edge fabrics, multiple color options and a high-end look and feel, Shinola journals are 100-percent made in the USA. Produced entirely from U.S.-sourced components, including acid-free paper from sustainably managed American forests, Shinola journals can be branded with a logo in silver, gold or black foil. Full-color promo pages and custom bellyband wraps are also available at 25 copies minimum.
The Book Company / PPAI 218850 / www.thebookco.com






The journeyman leather journal provides an opportunity for your client’s brand to customize one page at a time. Choose from five USA-made leather colors and customize to match a company logo with 11 Irish waxed-linen accent-stitching colors to create something truly unique. The journal is made from five-ounce full-grain leather with seven-ply waxed linen hand-sewn accent stitching.
SnugZ USA / PPAI 112982 / www.snugzusa.com