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Paws N Claws

Turtle Pins Popular With Resort's Guests

La Playa Beach and Golf Resort, a boutique beachfront resort in Naples, FL, celebrates the endangered native Loggerhead Turtles. They encourage families to go green on a family philanthropic vacation aimed at discovering and conserving the delicate ecosystems and endangered wildlife of the region.

"Sea turtle preservation is the ultimate goal in our area, and we do our part by providing guests with the knowledge to help protect the turtles," says David Martorana, director of sales and marketing at the resort.

La Playa partnered with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida's Sea Turtle Monitoring and Protection Project to educate guests on the sea turtles, which use the hotel's beaches as a nesting area, and involve guests in efforts to protect the species. Guests at La Playa receive sea turtle pins at check-in, together with an information card about the Conservancy and what can be done to protect the turtles. Last year, about 17,000 pins were distributed. 

"The sea turtle pins have been very popular with guests," says Martorana. "It's something that surprises and excites those who are staying with us for the first time, and is an added touch that returning guests look forward to receiving." In addition, it's a great souvenir that doesn't require any packing.

La Playa also provides sea turtle coloring books for children at the resort's restaurant, Baleen. Stuffed sea turtles are available for purchase in the resort boutique and in each guest room.

The resort also recently offered a package for one sea turtle season called the "Love Nesting" package. Guests who select this package when reserving will get luxury beachfront accommodations, a stuffed sea turtle and educational materials on arrival, and tickets to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center.

Plan the Perfect Golf Event

Producing a golf event takes careful organization and planning, as well as the right promotional products that will enhance the event. Check out these tips from experts Roger Caldwell, owner and founder of Kansas-based Great Golf Events; Larry Battaglia, owner of New York-based Golf Event Planning; and Kevin Ludke, PGA professional with Miami-based Professional Golf Events South Florida.

Start with a plan. Caldwell advises to plan a minimum of 120 days out. "Focus on what you're trying to accomplish and plan ways to promote both your purpose and the event," he says. "If this is a customer appreciation event, spoil them with branded gifts and awards to keep your brand in front of them."

Product Suggestions: Build interest by sending sets of branded golf balls to potential participants. Use four-color printing to enhance your logo.



Locate the best course. "Proximity is a factor, but I look at the overall facility and how the course sets up for a particular tournament, including the cart staging area, lunch and dinner arrangements, overall player room and activity setup room," Ludke says. He also advises making sure the course and greens are in good shape and that the staff can accommodate the needs of the event including competitive pricing for golf, lunches, dinners, etc.
Product Suggestions: Once you've picked a golf course, order T-shirts emblazoned with the course name and your logo. Add branded hats if the budget allows.

Design an event website. Battaglia says, "We start out by educating ourselves about the overall mission and purpose of the event. We then create custom imagery that is tailored to individual clients." He notes that capability for event marketing, accessibility to online registration and linking clients' homepages also make for great websites, as well as options for tee time reservations and social media integration.
Product Suggestions: Make participants want to register via your website by offering logoed boxes of tees to those who sign up online.

Choose fun games. "Traditional on-course contests are a must, including hole-in-one, longest drive and closest to pin," says Caldwell, "But implement some unique games as well." He suggests placing five pins on the green and making all of them hole-in-one prize holes or providing prizes for natural birdies to any flag. "In order to make this work, the jackpots must look easy to earn," Caldwell says.
Product Suggestions: Branded contest prizes range from the expensive (custom tournament jackets) to the economical (ditty bags loaded with accessories). Choose based on difficulty of winning the prize.

Present the right trophy. "It's a mistake to choose cheap trophies or something donated that most people could care less about," says Ludke. "The key is that you want your players to remember the event and you want to impress them with that wow factor from start to finish."
Product Suggestions: Pick from a vast selection of top-drawer logoed golf trophies for team prizes. For individual prizes, choose branded items that participants can use on a day-to-day basis so they will be constantly reminded of the event.


Bobbleheads Dominate MLB Promo Calendars

Garden gnomes, soap dispensers, fedoras and replica championship rings are just a few of the new promotional items MLB teams will give away at ballparks this season. Still, the promo product that remains the most collectible and universally popular in stadiums is the bobblehead. In fact, there are more than 130 bobblehead promotional nights scheduled at MLB parks in 2015, featuring replicas of current players, broadcasters and movie characters. 

"We give away a bobblehead, it automatically becomes a sellout," Rick Schlesinger, COO of the Milwaukee Brewers, recently told ESPN. "Every year we think we might have exhausted the bobblehead craze here in Wisconsin, and it doesn't happen."

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For 2015, the Brewers have sold out multiple packages of promotional tickets – entitling fans to a bobblehead of Bob Uecker's character from the film Major League and a bobblehead of catcher Jonathan Lucroy with a green light saber in his hand for Star Wars night. The Cincinnati Reds, meanwhile, have nine promotional bobblehead dates planned, and the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals each have eight. The Yankees are giving away four bobbleheads this year in the images of Masahiro Tanaka, Thurman Munson, Jacoby Ellsbury and Babe Ruth.


Bobblehead technology will also improve for 2015. The Brewers' Uecker figurine has a chip in it that will belt out three phrases from Major League and the Cardinals' Harry Caray bobblehead will also talk – a giveaway meant to honor the legendary voice of the rival Chicago Cubs. 

The popularity of bobbleheads is far from a fad – plans were recently announced to open a National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum in Milwaukee. The museum will host bobblehead events, autograph signings and mascot appearances, and it will include a bobblehead-themed restaurant. Alternatively, as an ongoing display, the Miami Marlins have a collection of about 600 baseball bobbleheads inside Marlins Park.

If bobbleheads aren't what you're looking for, though, MLB teams are offering quite a list of distinctive giveaways this year. A few top picks: Hisashi Iwakuma bear hats (Mariners) on April 25; BBQ branding irons (Twins) on May 25; and Star Wars-themed Death Star balls (Red Sox) on May 4 and R2D2 can coolers (Nationals) on July 19
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