Ideas for Making Your Promotional Items Go Viral

We hear so much these days about videos going viral and ending up with millions of hits on YouTube, vimeo and other sites. It’s the Holy Grail of marketers everywhere. Even though there are 48 hours of video being posted to YouTube every minute, not everyone is producing video and not everyone is blogging. For those who are, good work and continued success.


I read Mark Brown’s post on 4 Tips for Making Your YouTube Videos Go Viral and it got me thinking. These videos typically make people laugh or cry or be inspired, they start a conversation, they demonstrate something or are so novel they make you think in a different way.

Don’t promotional products do the same?

Pens are a classic example of something that goes viral. I love pens and I really love great pens with a fine point in any color ink. I buy them. I share them with others, they like them, they take mine, I pick up theirs, we leave the meeting. You know the scenario, someone asks to borrow a pen and you never see it again. No one gets particularly annoyed, it’s just how pen sharing works. You might even say it’s a cultural norm. Sometimes the simplest promotional item is shares the most.

Let’s consider how we can turn your next promotional merchandise into a viral campaign. Here are three tips for optimizing your promotional giveaways:

  • Choose a new version of a classic.Manufacturers create new and interesting products every day. Change up the style, color or type of product you buy. A pen is a pen? Not really. There are hundreds of pens types. I bought pens that have a stylus on the end and clients love them. Why? I work with a lot of people who use iPads and don’t have a wireless keyboard. It’s a writing and keyboarding instrument, two-in-one. It’s on the trend, practical and useful all in one. Clients notice.
  • Less is more. Don’t blast your logo all over a promotional item. Unless people love your brand they may be less inclined to use and or share something they think is cool simply because it’s logo-loud. Choose something cool and interesting with a smaller logo and see if people use it more because they don’t feel like it’s a billboard for someone else.
  • Share and share some more. Don’t launder the trade show, every client visit or member communication with repetitive promotional merchandise but do share liberally in the right places and with the right people. Share strategically and certainly with your influencers. Make sure the people you know, your best clients and networking associates have your latest and greatest. They will share, it’s what they do.
  • Take a look at what you are giving away and make sure the items fit with your brand message. Choose promotional products that make sense for your audience(s) not just what you like. Be inspired to retire tired items and jazz up since 2014 and then share away. A pen is not a pen, it’s a multifunctional communication instrument. Who knew?

Need for some suggestions? Check out Target Marketing’s Online Store or ring up one of their consultants for ideas.

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