One of the proven marketing tools that leads to increasing traffic towards your product is the promotional products business. To promote your brand on a large scale, different types of custom promotional products work like magic. But, initially how do custom promotional products come into the market. What is the history of promotional products?
You might never know how a product ended up in the market. But, the first thing that you notice when you step out is a brand. The most engaging part of the product is the brand itself. Promotional products date back hundreds of years. Some of the major industries consider it as old as the United States itself. While still, the answer to your question remains unanswered.
Well, to answer your simple question, here we are with all the great insights you need to know. Know the history along with how the promotional products’ unique ideas came into the existence.
History of Promotional Products – A Trip Down the Memory Lane
The history of promotional products dates back to 1789 and started with commemorative buttons which first became popular in Ohio. The buttons were used during the time of the election campaigns of George Washington. The election was considered the very first quadrennial election as George Washington became the first president of the United States.
After the look-through of commemorative buttons, the custom promotional products became sensational. Although the smooth start-up of the promotional product started quickly it certainly did not hit the popularity that it needed. In the second part of the 19th century, Jasper Meek came up with a unique promotional product idea. Whereas in the first half promotional products come with wooden specialties, almanacs, and advertising calendars.
Father of Promotional Products Business – Jasper Meek
The very first invention of promotional merchandise was done by Jasper Meek, a pioneer in introducing personalized promotional products. He was the first newsagent who came up with unique promotional merchandise ideas. He started promoting a local shoe store by imprinting the advertisement on a burlap bag. It was a simple message which said ‘ Buy Cantwell’s Shoes’.
All the children used the bag when they go to school and adults imagined a way of getting one for them as well. This initiative had a great effect by driving a large group of traffic to the store. Due to the success of this step, Meek branched out different merchandise for his sales catalog. After facing this success, he sold his press and started earning from full-time custom promotional product advertising.
The world of promotional product advertising was changed soon enough and people started ordering stock images that Meek offered in his catalog. Meek turned the promotional product business into a worldwide necessity for all market types. The stock images were free of cost and much more easy than hiring a designer to create a logo.
Meek helped people print a message on the bag but after 1907, the technique was replaced with the introduction of screen printing. In 1908, Meek retired but his ideas flowed all along. Various other newsagents were inspired and started running in his footsteps. One of those was Henry D. Beach.
Henry D. Beach
In the initial stage, after Meek, there was a big foot follower named Henry D. Beach. Meek and Beach created a big company in 1901, which they ran for six months before Henry D. Beach sold his half to Meek. Beach started his own company and he specialized in lithographing brand names. The different products on which he started doing promotions were tobacco tins, serving trays, steel signs, and talcum powder cans.
After 1902, Beach returned to his hometown and set up three major factories. One which specialized in leather goods like luggage tags and wallets, another for steel or tin, and the third was for porcelain signs. All the factories are standing still even today from the time when the history of promotional products started.
After 15 years of the introduction of a burlap bag, Coshocton became a home place for 12 new promotional product companies. Some of them vanished quickly while half of them left an impact with promotional thermometers and branded match holders.
How did Promotional Products Business Start?
Generally, it is believed that the history of promo products dates back to the date when the leaders were still making the country. The products started to run as advertising essentials everywhere. The first thing used as a promotional product was not a stress ball, not a pen but a simple button.
The first president of the newly formed United States, George Washington was celebrated with the help of these buttons. In 1789, the inauguration of the new president was celebrated. The rise of the promotional products business took place in the 1800s.
Promotional Products Business in the 1800s
Before Jasper Meek had an idea in the 19th century, initially the promos were started as a mode of advertising in 1789. After 1789, in the 18th century bookmarks, buttons and corkscrews were invented.
- Bookmarks: Chromolithography printing process was used to produce prints with vibrant colors. The businesses took advantage of this full-color printed medium to promote insurance and publishing companies.
- Buttons: To promote Abraham Lincoln’s campaign, he used brass ring pins and buttons which proved to be a strong advertising tool.
- Corkscrews: In the 19th century, the corkscrew as a promotional product was pioneered by Adolphus Busch. He sold out the branded merchandise to people with other Busch products.
Note: The very first mass invention of the custom promotional products business was custom lamps by ancient Rome that started in the history of promotional products. The artisans used to engrave their names on the lamps.
Examples of Promotional Products
You certainly can use any product from presidential buttons to any technical product as a promotional product and print your logo on it. The examples of promotional products used in advertising over the years are listed out below.
Check out the following products or promotional merchandise used for advertising.
How does Promotional Products Influenced Industrial Revolution?
The history of promotional products dates back to when Johannes Gutenberg introduced the printing press in 1440. He is the major reason behind how unique promotional products came into existence. He introduced his ink and painted a way for mass production of printed materials. The early examples of promotional products are calling cards which acted as business cards.
Trade cards became one of the most useful modes for promoting and also the maps that directs the customers. The Industrial Revolution took place as more people started migrating from one place to another. The change was initially started by Meek with his printing press idea. In the 1800s, paper lithography took a step further by printing out custom calendars for railroads.
Advertising Calendar as Marketing Tool
Initially, the advertising of products took place through flyers, newspapers, business cards as well as other paper products. Where after the printing press the advertising of promotional products business changed. From one of the many strong tools of advertising, custom calendars remain the strongest. Even today people use calendars as a tool for advertising.
Growth of Promotional Products Marketing
The printing press was only a small start which was invented by Gutenberg and carried forwarded by Jasper Meek along with Henry D. Beach. After that, there was a big boom in the industry and companies started offering new machinery with steam and coal. Due to such updates in the market, the companies are now able to produce custom promotional products in bulk.
People started getting more personalized promotional products than tote bags, buttons, calendars, and business cards. Because of the screen printing, the entire scene of the industry changed. Plastic was also used to promote brands and imprint the logos as well as texts. The name of a few unique & custom promotional products is custom koozies, frisbees, pens, chargers, etc.
The invention of the sewing machine in 1930, polyurethane as a substitute for rubber in 1937, and the fidget spinner in 2017 changed the industry. Some of the materials were used by people in their everyday chores like custom stress balls. Apart from such inventions, the world is evolving and using thousands of different stuff as promotional products.
History of Promotional Products Statistics
Unique promotional products are used to boost the value of a brand. You can choose any product and imprint the logo and text in any style as well as color, they will surely boost the brand name. Promotional products’ main motto is to gain new leads by making the use memorable. Personalized promotional products as a marketing tool will never disappoint.
- Every once a week, 52% of the audience uses a promotional product to gain new leads
- 82% of consumers are more attracted to a brand that started a custom promotional products business
- Custom promotional products affect 83% of consumers to remember a brand while only 7% remember a brand through TV shows or advertisement
- In the whole world, promotional products help 85% of consumers to remember the brand
- In the US, 75% of consumers own a promotional calendar that they hang in their place
- During the 1900s, because of the 12 promotional industries in Coshocton, Ohio, 96% of people got new jobs
- In the beginning, after the footsteps of Meek, the overall beginning of the personalized promotional products industry started at $22.9 billion.
Did You Know?
The personalized promotional products industry today is earning $20 billion per annum. The history of promotional products dates back to as long as when the country started to form in the United States.
The history of promotional products started in 312 A.D and is continuing as a major part of the market. They are running across the globe since the time the country the US started to form. After Jasper Meek, the hype of custom promotional products started as well as it gained proper popularity.