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Gemaco Blog

Nothing's wrong with a little nostalgia 

Last Friday, the 2nd of March, we celebrated ‘Old Stuff’ day! However, we think the art of the past has to be celebrated more than one day! It doesn’t matter if it is from yesterday, last year or two centuries ago, everything with a touch of nostalgia has to get honoured! So, we will be today’s guide for this legendary tour through time of the promotional product industry! Get ready for the past! Here we go!

Nowadays, promotional products are everywhere. We get exposed to thousands of brands on a daily basis. Most of them get filtered away; however, some cannot go unnoticed. Marketers try everything in their power to stay in their customers mind, even when the activities are unrelated to the products or industry of the brand.  This can be done by the use of promotional products. Everyone knows them and everyone has them.


You are not sure that you understand the principle completely? You do not have to go far. For example, look through your window and watch passer-by wearing a T-shirt with their favourite brand on it or look at people in the canteen, bringing their lunch in the multi-coloured lunchboxes from their number one football team and be honest, the chances that there is a brand showing when taking a pen from your pencil case, are pretty high as well. Case closed, marketing and especially promotional products are indeed everywhere.

However, no one knows where they come from. We have listed some interesting facts about the how, where, what, how long, when and who to get you updated on the industry of promotional products.


  1. The first promotional products go way further back than Belgium, UK or let alone the United States. In fact, the first promotional products were used for the election of George Washington, the first president of the United states, in 1789. [1] 


  1. I know you are thinking; ‘what were those products?’. You would guess that the first promotional items were T-shirts, pens or even lunchboxes, however, in the 18th Century, these were not even invented yet. The first merchandise products were simple buttons that were used in the election campaigns of George Washington. So, whenever you are thinking about running for president, buy buttons. They help. [1]


  1. In 1904, the Promotional Products Association International or PPAI was founded in the United States of America by 12 members of promotional manufactories. This created a flood of new enterprises in our industry. Nowadays, the association counts more than 14,000 members, most of them American and Canadian companies. The PPAI delivers knowledge, resources and connects platforms for their members and thus ensures the existence of the promotional industry. [2]


  1. Even though Promotional merchandising was invented by Jasper Meek, an Ohioan newspaper printer of the 18th Century, the promotional industry stayed an unknown concept in Europe until the 1950’s. Then, the concept flew in from USA to the United Kingdom and was spread all over Europe by 1970’s. Ten years later, a world without promotional product became unimaginable. [3]


  1. Clothing, writing instruments, water bottles and bags have always been the most popular promotion items. The usefulness of the products is their biggest asset. 77% of the consumers think that this feature is the most important characteristic in the decision of keeping an item. 63% gives articles away that they no longer wish to use. Consequently, this creates new exposure. A win-win situation for everyone! [3]


So now that we are updated on our history, we can go back to work to make our future even brighter!  Are you thinking about promoting one of your products, thanking customers or ‘just because you can’? Contact your Gemaco executive and find the perfect promotional products for any occasion! 


You want to know more?

  1. Brewers, https://www.navitor.com/blog/brief-history-promotional-products/
  1. PPAI, http://www.ppai.org/association/about
  1. Reynolds, https://www.b2bmarketing.net/en/resources/blog/promotional-products-are-everywhere-history-branding-advertisement

Category: Gemaco

About Gemaco

For more than 20 years, Gemaco is recognised as a premium provider of promotional products, sales promotions, clothing and fulfilment programmes. Continuously expanding, and with teams located in Europe, Asia and America, Gemaco is now considered an international leader in branding, and a well-respected supplier of promotional merchandise.

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