When it comes to red versus blue, there’s nothing like political merch to help people portray their political preferences. From flags and T-shirts to yard signs and bumper stickers, promos are paramount in political campaigns. Since George Washington’s commemorative buttons in 1789, branded items have helped candidates spread their message, rally supporters and secure votes.

Whether contenders are running for a local, state or national election, promo lets them get in front of their constituents and generate excitement. In the United States, the voting-age population is 255 million strong. These people are eager to contribute, with most (69%) believing that voting is the most important action they can take to be a good member of society, according to Pew Research.

While most Americans don’t vote consistently, 66% of voting-age citizens showed up at the polls for the 2020 presidential election – the highest voter turnout of the 20th century. As the 2024 presidential election season heats up, many voters on both sides of the aisle are open to hearing from candidates. When used at rallies, debates and speaking engagements, promo products allow candidates to educate the public on where they stand on some of the country’s most pressing issues.

Contenders hoping to win a seat or nomination should also stock their online stores with political merch. Buying promo like flags and apparel items lets voters show their support while contributing to their candidate’s campaign. Plus, people love getting something tangible. While they may pause before chipping in a few bucks to support their candidate, they’re much likelier to give if that donation includes a promo item like a T-shirt or mug.

Promos can also come into play with campaign staffers, organizers and volunteers. They can use and wear promo to become walking advertisements for their candidates or causes. When everyone wears the same message, it helps the entire campaign feel more cohesive and organized.

The new year will bring about an avalanche of political activity ahead of the 2024 presidential election. From the White House to a seat on the city council or local school board, promo can help put candidates on the path to victory. Read on for some ideas to boost outreach and engage voters with promo.

It’s A Sign

Look around any community and you’ll likely see yard signs planted in front of homes and businesses and along the roadside. These signs might call out candidates by name or prompt people to “Vote Yes on Question 1!” About 1 in 10 Americans displays a yard sign for their preferred candidate, according to American National Election studies, and most people do so to let others know where they stand. Professors from Florida International University, SUNY-New Paltz and the University of Colorado at Boulder have concluded that not only do yard signs influence votes, but they can also leave lasting impressions after the election is over.

Build Trust With Promo

Young people are particularly pessimistic when it comes to politics. Only a third of adults under 34 expect to have a more representative and functional government than their parents, according to a report from the Sine Institute of Policy & Politics at American University. Many young people (48%) say they don’t trust the political system, including how elected officials are chosen. Candidates can use promo to connect with younger voters and to show they care about what matters to these constituents.

States With The Most Voter Turnout

Voters in these states tend to show up most often at the polls:

  • Minnesota: 79%
  • Colorado: 75 %
  • Maine: 75%
  • Wisconsin: 75%
  • Washington: 75%
  • New Hampshire: 74%
  • Oregon: 74%
  • New Jersey: 73%
  • Vermont: 73%
  • Michigan: 73%

Political incumbents and challengers alike can use promos to educate constituents and inspire more votes. Items like rally signs and hand fans make great giveaways at community events and can help candidates bolster more support ahead of Election Day.

Talking Politics At Work

The line between personal and work life continues to blur – and it’s stressing people out. Research from the Society for Human Resource Management reveals that 1 in 5 U.S. workers has experienced poor treatment at work based on their political views. Nealy half of workers (45%) say they have personally had a political disagreement in the workplace, which is up from 42% in 2019. At work, branded merch like coffee mugs and pens can become contentious or unifying – it all depends on the party or candidate’s name on the promo.

Signs Of The Political Times

Today’s college students are cognizant of their roommates’ political views, with nearly half (46%) saying they wouldn’t “dorm across the aisle.” The poll, conducted by Generation Lab by NBC News, also found that 53% say they probably wouldn’t or definitely wouldn’t date someone who supported the other side in 2020, and 63% would probably not or definitely not marry someone who supported the opposing candidate. Brands should pay attention to this group – college students are watching and will make decisions accordingly.

Taking A Stand In Tumultuous Times

It may no longer be OK for brands to stay mum on hotly contested issues. Most consumers (70%) believe brands should take a stand on key issues. But when brands champion specific causes, they also risk alienating huge swaths of people. More than half of consumers (55%) say they would boycott a brand whose stance they disagreed with. In the new year, brands should thoughtfully approach their marketing to make sure they’re sending the right message. As long as speaking out on a public issue impacts the business, many consumers (42%) agree with it.

Campaign Collateral

plastic water bottles in various colors with logos

Customize the Eco PolyClear Bottle with a campaign slogan or candidate name. It’s made in the USA from recycled plastic and features a screw-on lid and flip-top opening. Choose from translucent blue, green, red or clear.

High Caliber Line / PPAI 205801, S10

stars & stripes tote bags with custom logo

Thank campaign supporters and volunteers with the Non-Woven USA Tote. It features a front slash pocket with the option to imprint the front pocket or back.

HPG / PPAI 11072, S11

brightly colored ballpoint pens with logo and stylus

Writing instruments help candidates affordably get their name out to the masses. The retractable Stylus Pen features a stylus top, chrome trim and rubberized barrel. The pen’s plastic parts include an antibacterial additive.

Bankers Pen Co. / PPAI 114119, S4

man wearing white T-shirt with left chest logo

Add a T-shirt like the Men’s American Giant Classic Cotton Crew to any campaign merch store. This cotton shirt, which has all the comfort of a broken-in tee, is also available in a women’s cut.

PCNA / PPAI 113079, S15

custom decorated rally towel

Available in numerous colors, including red, royal and white, the Terry Loop Rally Towel helps get supporters pumped up at campaign speeches and rallies with a screen-printed logo or message.

Terry Collection / PPAI 144511, S5

patriotic sunglasses

Make a splash at campaign events with the Patriotic Malibu Sunglasses. Featuring a weathered American flag pattern, these shades provide full UVA and UVB protection.

Hit Promotional Products / PPAI 113910, S14

stars & stripes beach ball with custom logo

Add the USA Stars and Stripes Beach Ball to political mailers for a burst of fun. When recipients inflate the ball, they’ll see the candidate’s name or campaign slogan.

Jornik / PPAI 111065, S6