Carefully selected products form the centerpiece of promotional marketing, but inspired ideas backed by expert execution are the crucial elements that separate Pyramid-winning campaigns from all the rest.

These 21 promotions won gold and silver awards from all entries received for the 2021 PPAI Pyramids in Client Programs, an annual competition that evaluates distributors’ client campaigns based on their objectives, strategy and execution, and results. 

For more than 60 years, the PPAI Pyramid has stood as a beacon of excellence recognizing the juncture where creativity, originality and flawless execution intersect. These ideas are sure to inspire.



Distributor: Brandscene 

Type Of Client: Food-delivery app and service

Target Audience: 200 restaurants that partner with the delivery service 

Primary Objective: The company required branded merchandise that worked with and capitalized on their award-winning, celebrity-filled media campaign. The campaign billboards, posters and commercials were hugely identifiable and successful. The company wanted to piggyback off this success and also give a gift that would be used by the restaurants using their platform.

Total Cost: $4,425

Strategy And Execution: The client’s team wanted to make an impact with a cost-effective gift reminding their prospective partners of their brand and current campaign. When collaborating with the client, the distributor was mindful of the need to refer to their digital banners and content. In discussions, it was decided to move away from traditional print media and to present the gift: tea towels imprinted with the campaign message, “Tonight I’ll Be Eating …”, presented in a laminated paper bag paired with branded decals and phone wallets.

In a tight, three-week timeframe, the price point was identified and the distributor worked with trusted suppliers to get the items delivered to their office, assemble the gifts bags and deliver them to the client for distribution. 

Results: The campaign’s execution and the distributor’s ability to adhere to the client’s strict brand guidelines made for a very satisfied client. The tea towels were also more popular than expected. Restaurants initially were sent one of three versions of the artwork but some restaurants wanted all three versions. This led the client to consider the tea towels as a bit of a collector’s item.


Distributor: Brandscene 

Type Of Client: Employee recruitment platform

Target Audience: Existing and prospective company clients located in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK; 250-300 people per event

Primary Objective: Supply branded merchandise for employee recruitment events held in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK that would be kept as reminders of the brand.

Total Cost: $21,000 AUD

Strategy And Execution: The client team needed assistance in selecting and providing promo products to each global office for different-sized recruitment events. The products chosen needed to be those that would remain on recipients’ desks to continue to remind them of the client brand. This project presented the challenge to supply event merchandise suitable for recipients in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK. The events all aimed to achieve the same goal, however the demographics and business climates across all offices were different. In the past, the distributor had supplied custom print notebooks and pens to match the corporate green, but this time they were restricted by a tight timeframe. Instead, the distributor selected a hardcover notebook at an ideal price point and matching color that suited the needs of the entire team. They also found pens in the same tone that paired perfectly with the notebook. In previous years, the distributor supplied glass or aluminum water bottles, but to meet the budget on this project, they recommended a plastic bottle that could be ordered in bulk. The addition of a reusable tote bag ensured all attendees would leave with their gifts and allowed for additional brand impressions as the totes were reused on weekend grocery trips.

Results: The event merchandise was a great success and drew numerous compliments from the client’s internal staff and attendees. The distributor impressed the client by not only meeting their timeline but their budget as well.



Distributor: Promotional Partners, Inc. 

Type Of Client: Municipality

Target Audience: 64,000 residents and 100,000 visitors at 12 events

Primary Objective: Building good will, rewarding brand enthusiasts with commemorative and useful products bearing the trademark phrase to use at work, home, leisure and for gifts.

Total Cost: $4,500 

Strategy And Execution: The promotion was communicated through social media—Twitter, Facebook and Instagram—directing consumers to the web store located on the town’s website or to visit the cultural arts center to make a purchase. All purchases were picked up at the cultural arts center, so no shipping was needed.

Results: The initial investment was $4,500 and the store netted $5,000 in sales over the past year. The combination of the online store and purchase and pick up at the cultural arts center was convenient and provided strategic marketing for exposure during 12 local events and at bookings throughout the year. A sales display is permanently set up at the town’s cultural arts center creating an ongoing opportunity for reorders.

Distributor: IICON Creative Strategies, Inc. 

Type Of Client: A company providing tire sales and service

Target Audience: Consumers who own one or more domestic or imported SUVs, luxury cars or performance sportscars; secondary audience: fleet vehicles. The demographics of the audience are males (65 percent) and females (35 percent) between the ages of 28 and 58.

Primary Objective: To develop and establish a brand presence that reflects professionalism, reliability and trust, which can be leveraged into franchising opportunities the company aspires to transition into. To create continuity and consistency with their existing website and service vehicle graphics; to outfit the crew with workwear that was comfortable, on trend, streamlined in design and durable, with reduced visibility for dirt and suitable for various weather conditions.

Total Cost: $10,000

Strategy And Execution: The theme of the program was to develop a strong branding image. The timeline was six weeks to complete product research and selection (one week); design logo sizes and placement, and imprint method including virtuals and revisions (one week); product delivery, production time for various imprint applications including embroidery, screen printing and heat seal (three weeks); previewing the finished product, packing and shipping from various production locations (one week). The selected apparel was predominantly black because the color is associated with strength, formality and seriousness. The existing two-color logo in blue and white and the tagline were placed on the full back and upper left chest of the jackets and golf shirts for the best brand visibility. The red Canadian leaf was embroidered on the hats to express Canadian pride. On the Blaklader work pants, selected for their durability and the many useful pockets, the logo was embroidered in two-color on the hip. Vests, jackets and parkas for layering, black knitted toques and baseball caps rounded out the collection. 

Results: The client reported a 30-percent increase in awareness since introducing the new branded apparel. This is attributed to their customers recognizing the brand and commenting on the look of professionalism and reliability which instilled confidence in the company. 


Distributor: Arid Zone

Type Of Client: A business that provides adhesive technologies across a wide range of sectors, from construction and schools, to hardware and industrial business

Target Audience: Members of 3,000 families, including parents and children looking for back-to-school products

Primary Objective: The main goals of this campaign were to reinforce the stores as a back-to-school destination and promote the products as the preferred brand in this category, and to measurably increase year-over-year sellout of more than five percent for each of the selected stores during the event period. 

Total Cost: $20,325, excluding GST

Strategy And Execution: The distributor collaborated regularly with the client’s marketing team, introducing merchandise and product development ideas that complemented their planned activities and creatives for the campaign. Maintaining the back-to-school theme, environmentally-friendly sandwich wrappers with kindness cards inserted were selected. Besides reinforcing the client’s commitment to sustainability, we were confident sandwich wrappers would be a great medium to generate additional brand exposure as they would be seen when in use at school by friends and classmates (a core target market in this sector for the client). Further, the kindness cards engaged parents and students on an emotional level.

As part of the planned activities, the client arranged for an ice cream truck at every location offering free ice cream and used branded ice cream sleeves as a low-cost branding opportunity creating brand exposure wider than the immediate promotion area. 

The client’s marketing team was pleased with the distributor’s merchandise recommendations, and ordered an initial production run of 5,000 sandwich wrappers and 12,500 ice cream sleeves. 

Results: Overall, the initial goal was achieved: a five-percent increase in category sales versus the prior period for each of the selected stores during the event period. Products that were key in crafting display and activities saw a 147-percent increase on activation day. The campaign engaged with more than 8,000 end users in 20 days; this was an average of 417 users per day and 238 per site. On those days, stores that had an activation saw a 17-percent increase in sales.

Distributor: Funk Advertising Agency & Promotional Products 

Type Of Client: Sewing and alerations company

Target Audience: Men and women living in a remote, low-population town. Those needing a seamstress who could sew, alter or repair all types of items. Those over the age of 17 living in 318 homes in the select ZIP Code. A total of 512 people met the age requirement of the target audience.

Primary Objective: To have a sustainable backroom sewing and alterations business with a consistent, local customer base. The goal was to reach $3,500 in sales in 12 months, with expenses of less than $750 to launch the new business. The area is remotely located over an hour from any types of stores. Locals use and reuse items rather than buy new. The objective was to fill the niche for the community which was lacking a sewing business to assist with the local attitude of thriftiness. 

Total Cost: $673.75

Strategy And Execution: A direct mail postcard was mailed to all 318 households in the ZIP Code and pens with a textile-type barrel were ordered. Every customer received a pen when they picked up their completed alterations. Recipients loved the pen, and nearly all of them recognized the tie-in with the textile coating. The pens were also distributed at the only other businesses in town: a mini-mart gas station, a rural health clinic and a small hardware store.

The postcards had a UV coating on the front with an image of Eva, the seamstress. The backside was uncoated matte. The mailed cards were chosen because many in the target audience do not have mobile phone service or internet. The cards were also a thank-you card, and the uncoated matte backside was used to write a note of thanks and attached to every outgoing order, along with a pen. Customers were verbally asked to pass along the card, and to refer the business to their friends. 

Results: In 10 months (the business was forced to close sporadically because of Covid-19 restrictions), the company received 206 alteration jobs totaling $3,564.15. Of these, 188 sales averaged between $5-$30, and 18 jobs ranged between $75-$100. All customers were asked how they heard about the company and 102 credited the postcard mailer, 42 said they saw the pen at a local business and 32 said they were referred by a current customer. Thirty new customers said they saw the information on Facebook. 


Distributor: Gap Advertising 

Type Of Client: Family

Target Audience: About 250 friends and family members of Dan Best including colleagues, neighbors and University of Dayton alumni

Primary Objective: To raise funds to benefit Best’s widow, Lisa, and their sons. 

Total Cost: $3,600

Budget: The hats, shipping and printing costs were $3,600. Sales were $7,100 resulting in a check to Lisa Best for $3,500. 

Strategy & Execution: Only a custom hat could provide so many meaningful messages. Best was a proud University of Dayton alumni (UD). Since his nickname was DB, a version of the UD logo was modified, with his name, for the front of the hat. On the back of the hat woven labels were made for the UD logo and a reference to the alumni, called Flyer Faithful. Inside the hat was a quote from the eulogy given by Best’s triplet brother, Timmy, “Don’t cry because he is gone, smile because you knew him.”  

The cost to manufacture the hats needed to be low so that the promotion could generate substantial profits for the family, and the sell price of $25 per hat proved to be affordable for donors. A decision was made not to use social media for promotion so that Lisa would not be constantly reminded of the tragedy. After receiving her permission to create the hat, an email and text campaign to 250 people provided enough support to deliver 200 hats to donors, 50 to family members and 250 hats for Best’s upcoming 30-year college reunion.  

A commemorative check with the names of the donors on the backside was delivered to Lisa during the move-in weekend of their youngest son at the University of Dayton.

Results: Five-hundred hats were produced and delivered, costs were covered and a check for $3,500 was given to Lisa Best, so the results were 100-percent achieved.

Distributor: Innovative Promotional Concepts (an iPROMOTEu affiliate) 

Type Of Client: Asset disposition and liquidation consultants

Target Audience: 22 upper management professionals 

Primary Objective: The client requested a “tombstone” to acknowledge the successful liquidation of a major national retail brand, Charlotte Russe. Tombstones are typically presented in this industry to recognize the brands involved this kind of project. This liquidation exceeded the goals and expectations so this tombstone needed to be unique and representative of the success. The strict branding guidelines, overseen by the managing director of marketing and branding, needed to be considered.

Total Cost: $2,912

Strategy & Execution: Based on previous projects with this client, the distributor knew the VPs would rarely be available for discussions/feedback, and they would have a short timeframe. While the distributor could have presented, and they would have accepted, the typical five-by-seven-inch rectangular tombstone done in the past, considering that this liquidation reportedly exceeded goals and expectations, and that a budget was not etched in stone, the distributor decided to think outside the box. The goal was to do something creative that accurately represented the project while carefully maintaining the integrity of the two brands: Charlotte Russe and the client. 

Results: The final decision was based on creativity, integrity and the timeframe. A tombstone was designed using three acrylic pieces representing a pink dress on a hanger and placed inside a Charlotte Russe shopping bag. The pink dress reflected Charlotte Russe brand’s Pantone color and the design represented the shopping experience that resulted in a $16 million liquidation success. The creativity of this piece led to a spend of $116.65 for each piece versus the usual $45-$50 per piece budget.


Distributor: Concepts & Associates, Inc. 

Type Of Client: Delivery service

Target Audience: 1,000 shoppers

Primary Objective: Shoppers gathered from across the country in Birmingham, Alabama, over two days to meet, network and share their ideas and best practices while also hearing from the client’s leadership team. Bringing everyone together was exciting and instrumental in story sharing, whether on a panel, over lunch or in focus groups. Building off this excitement, the client announced major updates to its app and goals to improve the shopper experience.

Total Cost: More than $100,000 with $16,000 spent on promotional products, including t-shirts, pens and journals.

Strategy And Execution: The client wanted to hold a universal meeting open to every shopper and exclusive to their customers, where people could come together to share stories and best practices, hear from leadership and discuss their goals. With tens of thousands of shoppers around the country the challenge was set: how to entice shoppers to come to company headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama? The distributor used social media, email and a website to encourage shoppers to sign up and shared details about the upcoming program. An event theme and logo were developed and the enrollment offered a goody bag to be given at the event. This did two things: It got people excited to attend while helping determine the right amount of space, food, drinks, staff and merchandise. The city was on full display with two of its finest venues used for events. The program was kicked off the night before by welcoming attendees to The Haven—a space filled with dancing, food, activities and the chatter of shoppers meeting for the first time. The second day started with breakfast/registration at the historic Alabama Theatre where the goodie bags were distributed. The commemorative t-shirt was a hit, as were the notepad and pen. The CEO shared the future of the company and the shopper app update was released. Efficiencies were discussed, executives answered questions and shopper stories were heard. 

Results: The buzz continued to grow as attendees wore the t-shirts given at the event. It was such a success that three more events are planned in different locations around the country.

Distributor: Jungle Jane Promotions 

Type Of Client: Financial lending institution

Target Audience: 90 hourly and salaried employees

Primary Objective: To broaden and enhance the perspectives of staff; increase understanding of program offerings and operations; and increase staff engagement and market share. To motivate staff to attend and participate in all four training sessions.

Total Cost: $15,473 

Strategy And Execution: A custom logo was created for this program and used on a specially-selected, branded gift that could only be obtained by attending the training sessions. The selection of the gifts was based on the season for that session. A separate VIP gift was selected to generate positive discussions and enhance participation. Each attendee would receive a gift as well as a chance to earn the VIP item. The VIP item was given to the person, voted on by the participants, who contributed the most to that meeting. A winner would also be randomly drawn for a grand prize given at the end of the program. Participants entered their name into the drawing for each event they attended. Different promotional products were selected for the gift levels at each of four events. These included a t-shirt and waterproof 48-can cooler; a lunch cooler with divided dishes, a reusable water bottle and silverware, and an executive wooden barbeque set; a golf shoe caddy and a collapsible chair with a footrest; and a vacuum-insulated tumbler and a pair of Bluetooth headphones. 

Results: The goal of 30 people in attendance at each session was surpassed by more than 50 percent. The client was hoping to have 50 percent of staff attend but 70 percent attended. On top of the large attendance, sales increased by 20 percent. Management was so pleased with how well the program went that they doubled the budget for 2020.


Distributor: Brandscene 

Type Of Client: One of Australia’s and New Zealand’s largest concert promoters

Target Audience: A tour gift for JoJo Siwa, a teenage global pop sensation, along with about 70 adult members of her tour party and crew

Primary Objective: The product needed to be relevant to the artist or something publicly identifiable with the artist, and should reflect or include the colors relevant to the banners released for the event. The product also had to be identifiable with Australia, reminding recipients of their visit. Finally, the product needed to be useful and well received, not just by the artist but by the team of middle-aged men and women in the tour crew. It also had to be on time and on budget for the tour’s opening night. 

Budget: $2,778 

Strategy And Execution: The distributor engaged in research and collaborated with the team at the concert promoter. A reoccuring theme was the performer’s abundance of energy and love of color. The season (summer) was also among the considerations. An idea was developed to provide a colorful, striped beach towel using white and one of the colors (turquoise) in the banner artwork provided, along with embroidering the tour date, artist’s name and an Australian flag. The distributor explored everything from basic embroidery and metallic embroidery to glitter embroidery given the target audience. The latter was the winner, however, glitter embroidery is ideal for one-time use products as the glitter is not long-lasting. Metallic thread was considered but at the size requested (eight inches wide with 40,000 stitches) it exceeded the budget. The tour name’s logo, Dream, was designed with shadows to give the perception it was 3D and this required a lot of work and tight stitching to achieve the quality we knew our client was looking for. After numerous proofs and tests with the embroiderer, we were able to supply the perfect embroidery of that size, with minimal backing.

Results: The distributor delivered a retail-quality towel that was on time despite freight time pressures because of fires, and air and road blocks. The gift also met the very diverse target audience requirements and supplied a useful, long-lasting memento. The tour director of the concert promoter said the towel was easily one of the most popular and useful gifts they’ve given. 

Distributor: Brandscene 

Type Of Client: Food delivery app and service

Target Audience: 300 head office staff members, ages 20-30 years old

Primary Objective: The client required a fun gift that would encourage and thank their young team members. The distributor had created a product for the client’s customers the previous year that many staff saw and wanted for themselves. 

Total Cost: $7,381

Strategy And Execution: Food and fun often happen at the beach in Australia. The fun-food, smiley-face emoji and flamingo-adorned beach towels were trending in retail stores. It was the perfect match for the brand and the staff demographic. As the items were made in China, it took three weeks to make and deliver them to the Sydney head office, the main distribution point. 

Results: This item was so hot and created such a buzz, that the staff talked about it for a long while. When its popularity reached the U.S., towels were requested and sent to managers there who wanted to enjoy the fun gift, too.   


Distributor: Geiger 

Type Of Client: Distributor

Target Audience: All 400 employees at headquarters and at all their U.S. locations, including warehouse, decorating, office and management staff

Primary Objective: The distributor wanted to brand their wellness program encouraging all employees to be fully charged in nine areas of well-being. A Fully Charged Bingo Challenge asked employees to engage in all nine areas by completing activities on their unique bingo card. Goals were that 20 percent of associates at headquarters and 10 percent of field office and at-home associates would complete three random activities; 10 percent of those at headquarters and five percent in the field would complete five consecutive activities; and one percent of all employees would complete all activities.

Total Cost: $4,500

Strategy And Execution: Geiger had a robust, but not very cohesive, employee wellness program. When they introduced the concept of being “fully charged (your best you)” from a whole-person perspective, they wanted to develop a campaign that would drive this concept home to their employees and cover all nine elements of wellbeing (physical/mental/emotional health, mindfulness, nutrition, financial and environmental security, feelings of engagement and empowerment, personal growth and development, and safety).

They wanted to provide opportunities that offered something for everyone so that they could reach a broader group of employees. The overarching theme suggested that if each person was the best they could be, it would make them a better and stronger company.  

The promotion was aimed at reinforcing overall well-being and providing items that would be a lasting, visible and functional symbol of the Fully Charged program. The Fully Charged logo with a lightning bolt created a visual for being charged up. The logo appearing on each item connected a cohesive collection. Items were selected because they would be used/worn by employees. Those who earned each item served as ambassadors for the program as they wore and used the products at work. You could easily see who was participating, which generated excitement and participation at very appreciable levels.

Results: Thirty-nine percent of associates at headquarters and 26 percent of field office and at-home associates completed three random activities; 35 percent of at-headquarters and 25 percent of field employees completed five consecutive activities; and 13 percent of at-headquarters and nine percent of field employees completed all activities.

Distributor: Ideation Promotions & Apparel 

Type Of Client: Computer technology

Target Audience: 60 members of the sales team and support staff 

Primary Objective: The primary objective was a morale boost and intended for employee engagement.

Total Cost: $6,500 

Strategy & Execution: Items were selected that were fun and useful such as socks that were specifically themed for work-from-home. Also included was a t-shirt featuring a design with a pair of hands making a heart sign and then words associated with the 2020 pandemic were added such as toilet paper, social distancing and Tiger King. An accompanying poster matched the shirt along with Bluetooth headphones from Origaudio for all the Zoom calls, a children’s coloring book set and some snacks.

Results: The campaign created a lot of good will and increased morale. There were many posts on social media from receivers who were grateful and excited to receive the package.


Distributor: OMG Branding Solutions 

Type Of Client: Nonprofit

Target Audience: The client’s newly-diagnosed patients, about 300-400 people each year

Primary Objective: The primary objective of the binder is to provide the cancer patients an easy-to-use tool for storing and compiling vital information through every stage of their cancer journey; as well as products that relieve stress and provide comfort in the days ahead. The foundation branded the items in the binders to make patients aware of the resources and support they provide.  

Total Cost: $7,841.92

Strategy And Execution: The foundation’s brand colors were incorporated into the items by product color, design or imprinted logos. The products consist of a binder to write notes, questions or concerns patients may have between appointments, a pen, a bookmark to keep their place when reading treatment booklets, a medical journal to keep important information such as medications, surgical history, physician information and such, a daily journal to help them express their feelings, organic lip balm and a totebag to carry all the items. Some of the products were printed with web addresses and other educational information. 

Results: Approximately 350 patients are using the Survival Resource Binder and many of the patients’ physicians have said they wished all of their patients kept copies of reports, scans, etc. this organized. 


Distributor: Indoff 

Type Of Client: Nonprofit community organization

Target Audience: Directly, 3,700 households in the Kingfield neighborhood in Minneapolis—a 10-by-10 block area; indirectly, any eligible voter in Minnesota who saw the poster.

Primary Objective: To increase in-person voter turnout for all three elections in 2020 and promote the Minnesota state primary in August, which typically has a lower turnout. Secondly, the promotion aimed to get voting neighbors to stop by a polling party tent on the park grounds to engage.

Total Cost: $326.94 

Strategy And Execution: Kingfield had previously established a tradition of hosting outdoor polling parties for November elections on the MLK Park grounds to greet its neighbors with free coffee, tea and treats—and engage with them one-on-one, which gives KFNA valuable insights. They had also developed a reusable yard sign campaign to increase turnout for the city election. KFNA was able to pull thematic elements from that extremely popular campaign: labeling the borders of Kingfield to clearly inform the audience; creating identity of We Are Kingfield and what we do in droves is vote. It also reminded people of the community park—which at times, is underutilized. KFNA wanted a sustainable, reusable product—a laminated poster was chosen depicting all three 2020 election dates at MLK Park. Volunteers were recruited to place the posters in key areas based on specific placement strategies. 

Results: Almost 3,000 Kingfielders came to the park on March 3 to vote and many stopped at a polling party tent. The two voting precincts of Kingfield each ended up with a 60.3-percent-turnout rate of registered voters, which is more than double the typical national average of 28.5 percent for presidential primaries. 

Distributor: J&H Ad Solutions, LLC. DBA Core Image Group 

Type Of Client: Candidate for sheriff

Target Audience: Approximately 55,000 registered Republican primary voters, ages 25-65

Primary Objective: To secure the Republican nomination for Brazos County sheriff. This objective was achieved through an aggressive media campaign focused on enhancing the candidate’s name recognition among the targeted audience.

Total Cost: $60,000

Strategy And Execution: The campaign launched 26 weeks prior to the Texas Primary Election with a three-phase strategy. Phase I was the soft introduction of the candidate. Phase II featured the additions of the campaign website and heavy social media presence. Phase III was a hard push to the finish line with the incorporation of broadcast, digital and print media.  

Prior to the launch of Phase I, the distributor assessed the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses and began developing strategic approaches to clearly position the candidate apart from his opponent. Upon review, it became abundantly clear that our client excelled in leading large organizations, managing fiscal operations and supervising hundreds of personnel. He is highly educated with extensive training in law enforcement operations. He was clearly the right choice for the county and our community. Our positioning statement became clear: “Proven Leadership. Real Experience. The Right Choice.” Our strategy was to pound the target audience with the candidate’s leadership and operational management skills through an intensive broadcast media schedule, social media presence and distribution of signage.

Results: The candidate achieved a victory in the Texas Primary Election with 54 percent of the ballots cast. The victory represented an eight-percentage-point lead over the opponent.


Distributor: Silicon Valley Specialties, An iPROMOTEu Affiliate 

Type Of Client: Online social media

Target Audience: Over 400 content strategy department team members from U.S. and international offices representing a diverse group in terms of age, race, orientation and culture

Primary Objective: The bi-annual event provides the vision and road map for the department, plus education and training, and team building. The 2020 meeting was green-focused, with dedicated committee members spearheading this theme. The team wanted all promotional products to be “green” and locally sourced when possible. Information about how this goal was achieved was shared with attendees both in signage and one of the presentations.

Total Cost: $56,270

Strategy And Execution: Based on previous experience with this client, the distributor presented options for journals, pens, stickers, attendee gifts and team gifts, plus new ideas for a handmade, seeded bookmark and reusable straw. The distributor also created a custom card that explained how the products were “green,” and rolled and tied the sweatshirts with different colors of raffia, and attached hang tags to help quickly identify the sizes in lieu of traditional colored rubber bands.

To reduce the workload for the client, the distributor efficiently managed the timelines and budgets, and advised them on the best artwork and decoration methods. It also helped coordinate logistics, including scheduling the sweatshirt delivery on the day of the event to eliminate the need for storage space. The distributor also presented a t-shirt recycle program where donated shirts are repurposed into new material that is then used to make recycled tees. Donation barrels were placed at the event and attendees were told in advance to bring old t-shirts to donate. 

Results: All gifts met the green challenge and more than 950 t-shirts were donated to Marine Layer. The attendees’ response to the gifts was extremely positive both in terms of keeping and using them, as well as appreciating the thoughtfulness that went into selecting them. 

Distributor: Social Good Promotions, Inc. 

Type Of Client: Nonprofit sports and education, and professional sports

Target Audience: 250 student athletes, athletic directors, officials, school districts and school-aged athletes, plus NFL teamstaff/supporters and global sponsors 

Primary Objective: The goal for Special Olympics Ohio was to engage Northeast Ohio schools in the Inclusion Revolution initiative, and increase participation in Unified sports programs. The football team aims to be an all-encompassing community partner. Together, the organizations partnered to create the first flag football league and partnership of its kind and encourage youth sports in Northeast Ohio.

Total Cost: $15,000 

Strategy And Execution: The strategy was to design the best possible apparel, signage and gear to support the mission and showcase each brand successfully, and to create a memorable experience for the athletes, partners, volunteers and football organization while bringing attention to the overall theme of inclusion. All items were finalized, produced and delivered starting in early August, with the six-week-turn items arriving early September. All pieces were received by the distributor, inspected and repacked for distribution to each school. The distributor partnered with Special Olympics to hand-deliver and fit all uniforms for athletes at the high schools one week prior to the Reveal event, providing athletes and coaches with detailed documentation on dress code and transportation. All signage was inspected and delivered directly to the event site the night before the event. Hats and bracelets were handed out onsite by football team members as commemorative gifts and incentives for signing the Inclusion pledge wall.  

Results: There was a major increase in the number of high school partners signing up for Unified programs and twice the number of teams participating in the 2020 flag football league in Northeast Ohio. The football team gained increased positive perception based on its partnership with Special Olympics Ohio and earned 100 percent participation from the ownership through the organization in the #Give10 initiative in 2019. There was also an increased demand by staff for more youth sports programming and volunteer opportunities.


Distributor: Honeycomb Agency 

Type Of Client: Finance

Target Audience: 900 finance professionals who were delegates, fellow exhibitors and sponsors across five state-based events

Primary Objective: The business objective was to generate at least 355 leads for the client’s business development managers. The focus was on attracting traffic to the stand throughout each event, extending the average engagement time and incentivizing a return to the stand to build on connections made.

Total Cost: $5,000 per location for a total of $25,000

Strategy And Execution: On review of retail trends, we learned that 70 percent of consumers will pay more for a personalized product and that people will wait longer for it. It follows suit that delegates at an event will be willing to wait longer and provide more data in a lead capture form if there is the promise of a personalized gift. In selecting the products to be gifted, the audience (finance/brokers) was considered and luggage tags were selected with the client’s brand on the back, along with refillable journals. Not only more environmentally-friendly, but they offered increased branding longevity, as the owner will replace the inner pages and retain the cover (along with a message of quality and lasting support).

Results: The 355 lead target was based on 2019 results from five events. In 2020, 552 leads were generated in just four events (one event was cancelled due to COVID-19) so conservative, projected leads would have meant a more than 240-percent increase on the target. It is too soon to know commercial return on the client’s spend but delegates were impressed with the quality and perceived value of the personalized items.


Distributor: Seven Corners Promotions and Printing 

Type Of Client: Historical sports event celebration

Target Audience: About 7,500 parade volunteers, sponsors and attendees, including former hockey stars, Olympians and sports history fans in and outside the state of Minnesota.

Primary Objective: To incentivize event volunteers and fans to attend the Greatest Day Celebration by using special commemorative giveaways of high-perceived value and collectability. Organizers were hoping to attract over 5,000 people to attend the event by offering giveaways such as a fully-custom commemorative medal, which beautifully illustrated the 40th anniversary of one of the greatest upsets in sports history.

Budget: $37,768

Strategy And Execution: Greatest Day Committee members were selected from strategic businesses across St. Paul, Minnesota, and assigned specific tasks based on company resources and event offerings. The distributor helped select, source and produce most of the branded product giveaways. An event logo was designed around the silhouette of former hockey player and Olympic coach Herb Brooks raising his hands in victory. The medals were produced two to three months in advance, as planning, adjustments and production time would take the longest. Production of the medal involved replicating the thickness, weight and size of an Olympic medal. To stay on budget, this was crafted using zinc alloy with a gold finish. The pom beanies and scarves were manufactured six weeks in advance. The planning, design and manufacturing process also included a complex process of combining multiple decorations that captured the detail in the logo but still complemented the custom knit-in design, which emulated an 80’s beanie. The puck supplier made special considerations for a two-sided imprint that required a large imprint size and an exact Pantone color match. 

Results: After informing potential volunteers they would be first to receive a Greatest Day Olympic commemorative medal, hundreds signed up to help and thousands attended early to get a medal or one of the giveaways. All items were distributed and months later people were still touting the collectability of the items.  


The 2021 Pyramid competition opens April 1 and closes May 7. Find all the details and entry forms at


Tina Berres Filipski is editor of PPB.