Shortlist From The Show Floor
Sixteen products that caught the eyes of PPB’s editorial team at this year’s PPAI Expo
Year after year, The PPAI Expo show floor at Mandalay Bay Convention Center pulses with creative energy as distributors search for new products to wow their clients. This year’s 3,100 booths were filled with innovative, interesting promotional products and PPB’s editors navigated all 870,000 square feet of convention space to pick their favorites. Here are the products that stood out to each editor.
Tina Berres Filipski, Editor
JBL Reflect Mini Bluetooth Sport Earphones
These super lightweight earbuds fit inside the ear with two sizes of ergonomic sport and regular ear-tips that are designed to stay securely in place—even while running. They’re also sweat-proof so I can rock my workout without worry. And with the built-in microphone, I can also easily take phone calls with crystal-clear sound.
Hirsch Gift/ PPAI 221823/ www.hirschgift.com
Duo Bottle Beaded Sanitizer + Lip Balm + Carabiner
When I saw this at The PPAI Expo in Las Vegas, I thought, “That’s the perfect Las Vegas trade-show giveaway!” As anyone who’s been to Vegas or any other desert location for a few days knows, your lips beg for hydration, and this lip balm keeps them moist. Plus, working a trade show means you are shaking hands—a lot of hands—and so hand sanitizer is a necessity. Packaged together on a carabiner that snaps on your tote or backpack, it’s easy to keep lips hydrated and hands germ-free. The lip balm is also free of oxybenzone, PABA and gluten, and the carabiner comes in a choice of colors.
SnugZ USA/ PPAI 112982/ www.snugzusa.com
Lamzac®, The Original Fatboy® Portable, Inflatable Lounger
I first saw this comfy inflatable lounger on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama, this past summer and immediately had lounger envy. At this year’s PPAI Expo, BIC Graphic introduced it into their line. It’s easy to inflate; just swing the bag to fill it with air and presto, you have the perfect seat for the beach or an outdoor event. The lounger comes in four colors—red, green, black and blue—and folds neatly into a matching carry bag that can be imprinted with a logo or message.
BIC Graphic USA/ PPAI 114187/www.bicgraphic.com
How many times have you tried to take a group selfie but find you’re all thumbs? Once you slip your fingers through the universal patented elastic handle of the SlingGrip on the back of your smartphone, you’ve got a secure, one-handed grip and can snap the photo with ease. Constructed of high-grade 3M peel-and-stick removable adhesive, it sticks securely to any cell phone, tablet or e-reader and can be easily removed as needed. The SlingGrip offers full-color dye sublimation on the elastic band with a choice of eight colorful base mounts—and it’s made in the USA. Everyone carries a cell phone, so why not put your brand there?
DMD Products/ PPAI 615509 / www.dmdpromos.com
Julie Richie, Associate Editor
Cork is everywhere these days because of its environmentally friendly appeal and interesting texture. With a partial cork cover, this journal stands out for its distinctive, eye-catching style. The perforated sheets of acid-free 80-gram paper, as well as a lay-flat binding, make it a pleasure to write on as well. The color-matched bookmark ribbon is the icing on the cake.
The Book Company/ PPAI 218850 / www.thebookco.com
The Nightstick model NSP-2422R Dual-Light™ Flashlight is no ordinary flashlight. In technical terms: “It uses a CREE® LED rated at 130 lumens with a high-efficiency deep parabolic reflector, creating a flashlight beam with an effective range of over 590 feet.” In laymen’s terms: it’s awesome. What’s really cool is that it has a 110-lumen floodlight built into the handle and both lights can be turned on at the same time. It’s also waterproof and tough—it has an impact- and chemical-resistant engineered polymer housing. The magnet in the base of the handle and the pocket clip mean there’s no reason to hold it in your mouth when you need your hands free.
Nightstick By Bayco Products / PPAI 651454 /www.mynightstick.com
Clear Front Carry-On
This full-color carry-on with changeable front-face designs will bring your product to life by turning your suitcase into a rolling advertising opportunity, commanding attention among the vast sea of traditional black bags being wheeled through airports. With a hard shell for maximum strength and resistance, 360-degree eight-wheel spinners and retractable top handle and side grab handles with a gel cushion, it’s also practical and easy to maneuver.
Golden Pacific / PPAI 166842 / www.golden-pacific.com
Summit Cooler Tote
Most coolers are either extremely masculine or extremely plain. These cute cooler totes are the exact opposite. Colorful, vibrant and fashionable—and most importantly, not too large to carry, they appeal to the 50 percent of the population (actually 50.8 percent) that is female. School sports teams, girls’ trips, charity walks/runs, retail stores, restaurants, festivals, food fairs . . . the types of events and businesses these totes could promote are virtually endless.
Seville Gear / PPAI 113233 / www.sevillegear.com
Jen Alexander, Associate Editor
Washable Paper Bag
This new washable kraft paper-fabric grocery tote bag is a great “green” option that has high-end, fashion-forward appeal. It looks and feels like leather and is durable enough to use again and again. Once it gets dirty, you just wash it and hang it up or lay it flat to dry.
American Ad Bag Co. / PPAI 111067 / www.adbag.com
Seeded Paper Wristband
I like environmentally friendly products that actively engage the recipient and this wristband definitely does that—it’s wearable, plantable and interactive. It’s easy to peel and stick for one-time use and is packed with wildflower seeds. I can see it being used for outdoor events, schools, tickets, awareness campaigns and more. Once you’re finished wearing the wristband, you can plant it and watch for the blooms. As an added bonus, it’s printed in full color with earth-friendly inks and is made in the U.S.
Fields Manufacturing / PPAI 111951 / www.fieldsmfg.com
This cap stands out from others because it lets you change your message any time you want. It would be a great, fun and interactive item to hand out at conferences, college orientations or other outdoor events to encourage participants to customize their messages—and change them up over the course of the event. Because the pen is included and attached to the hat, changing the message is easy and fun.
Billy Bob Products / PPAI 668057 / www.billybobproducts.com
Nambé Venus Serving Bowl
This is a statement centerpiece that would go beautifully in any setting—formal or casual. As a corporate gift or part of a recognition program, this visually intriguing bowl is an item any recipient would be proud to display.
Indigo / PPAI 133405 / www.indigowatch.com
James Khattak, News Editor
Waterproof Mobile Device Bag
This bag solves the problem of traveling with your phone in wet conditions because it lets you actually use the phone, including making and receiving phone calls, through the bag. If you’re a diver, skier, adventurer or anyone who takes a phone places where it could get wet, you’d be happy to take this useful item along and save your phone from falling victim to your own clumsiness.
Loksak / PPAI 620041 / www.loksak.com
Sometimes you don’t want a brand’s logo front and center on a product you carry with you every day. Numo’s City Cut And Sew line of products, such as this simple, classy laptop sleeve, makes subtle branding part of its appeal. A brand’s logo goes on the colored nylon lining of the padded interior as a subtle reminder to the user. You can choose from many fabric, lining and zipper colors and all the products are made right here in the USA.
Numo / PPAI 112597 / www.numomfg.com
Old English Beer Tankard
It holds 20 ounces of beer or serves as a trophy or award. I’d go with the beer, myself. Made from aluminum satin finish with a zinc die cast handle, the tankard can be 3D engraved with a logo or individual names. Plus, it’s just cool.
Payne Manufacturing Canada Limited / PPAI 209947 / paynemfg.com
Bottle Opener Sunglasses
Bottle openers are placed just about everywhere these days, but I’ve never seen a bottle opener on sunglasses until now. These feature a bottle opener at the end of the earpiece and both the earpiece and the lenses can be branded. You can protect your eyes from the sun and pop open your favorite beverage at the same time while promoting your favorite team. That’s a win.
The Sourcing Solution / PPAI 474924 / www.thesourcingsolution.com
Julie Richie is associate editor for PPB.