Our slant on FT article “A week to celebrate free mousemats, USB drives and cupcakes” #PPWeek

Today is the last day of this year’s bpma #PPWeek celebration – all week we have been talking about the way to procure from the right supply chain – ethical, compliant and sustainable promotional products. How to ensure you get the right quality in order to protect your brand and reputation. Of course, as with everything, there are good and bad suppliers and products. The aim is for the UK’s largest Trade Body the BPMA to help educate their members to ensure they provide the best possible products to the industry. It is a £9 billion global industry with many amazing UK manufacturers creating fantastic products that truly deliver as part of the marketing mix.

We have a couple of ideals that we work and live by at The Sourcing Team which include authenticity and transparency. That said, we’ve been a part of the promotional products industry for 19 years and counting and with a wealth of knowledge at our disposal. When we get to the opportunity to shout about how much we appreciate and adore our industry we go for it. #PPWeek is a perfect way to show what we can do, promote best practice with the vast amount of expertise required to do the best job for our global clients.

Others may not necessarily have the same enthusiasm as us, which is completely understandable. Point and case ‘A week to celebrate free mousemats, USB drives and cupcakes’ by Henry Mance where he talks about “Britain’s most unavoidable freebies”. The article has created many different reactions within the sector ranging from anger, fear and disgust, just a few emotions from the Disney film ‘Inside Out’, but that said, we’d love to share a few thoughts about the article and how we can dispel some of the myths exhibited. 


Some of the products scrutinised were:

The Pen: ‘This will be invaluable”, it may not be, he’s right to use a snarky comment in regards to using a promotional pen for a marriage register. However, whether you use a low budget pen or a high-value one the key is ensuring your buy the right quality to suit the occasion. I believe we all use a litany of different pens daily. It’s about selecting the right supply partner and quality of product – they need to be compliant to European standards for writing instruments, with a quality refill over a ‘cheap non-compliant’ (quite likely to leak!) product. Select the right pen for the right occasion and it can create an excellent value for money “billboard for your brand”.

The Cotton Bag: Introducing a charge for cotton bags. We recently wrote a blog, about saving the world one bag at a time detailing why it’s more environmentally friendly to use cotton bags, as 85% of all sea turtles will be injured or killed by plastics in their lifetime, including the endangered leatherback turtles that summer in Massachusetts Bay, before migrating to the tropics to mate. So it is appropriate and responsible to promote a “bag for life”.

The Mousemat: As a Mac user, I do believe mousemats are becoming obsolete but many companies do still request them for their business. In addition, they have evolved with wonderful dye sublimation and multipurpose versions, which can be used as a mouse mat and screen cleaner.

Cupcakes: Not liking a cupcake is of course, a personal choice. However, 44 million cup cakes are sold each year in the UK accounting for £23.5 million (IdealBite, 2015), many do not agree on this one! Again, there are good and bad quality cupcakes – even those purchased in retail! Food products and confectionery are huge sellers – nothing better when walking round an exhibition and you fancy something sweet! We’re still getting messages about the ‘where we prefer chocolate over flowers’ Sourcing Team chocolate bars, in our recent goodie bag.

Hand Cleanser: Sorry if you’re the person who wants to cleanse your hands every once in a while! Don’t we all? Don’t forget ‘Fresher’s Flu’ is just around the corner! Frankly, it’s a personal essential nowadays.

USB drive: Oh damn! I love USB drives, anything over 8GB is a godsend, storing pictures, videos, PowerPoints and all sorts of information on them. I was grateful to Plymouth Uni for supplying us with a selection – which believe me is essential! Also is if someone finds one, they turned them in as no one wants to lose 100’s of hours worth of coursework – we’ll not this individual!

Thermal Mugs: Again, he has another point, I’ve never used one. However, they are a more sustainable approach for ‘on the move coffee’ – with many major outlets giving a discounted price when you refill. How many disposable cups end up in landfill? (on average 14.3 kg of waste produced per year for the average worker!(Opuse Energy, 2015)

jon snowMini Rugby Ball: We love to stay current and capitalise on current trends. Isn’t it good to celebrate major sporting events like football, rugby, tennis, Olympics … Maybe the mini rugby ball isn’t ideal and a mini vuvuzela probably would’ve driven you mad in 2010, but if someone gave me a Game of Thrones gift about John Snow ‘For The Watch’ I would show hundreds if not thousands of people going via my social media. We hand pick our moments to link with current trends.

T-Shirt: To this day I still own the T-shirt Dominoes gave me a few years ago whilst at Uni and, stole my housemates one as well (sorry Tom). They are extremely useful especially if you order them for sporting events, so everyone looks similar; it’s a lot better for photo opportunities, coming from a guy who has over seven T-shirts from a basketball tournament competed in year in – year out.

So overall, Henry may disagree and be disgruntled at some of the promotional products being purchased or given away, but perhaps you haven’t been working with the top suppliers in our field! I’m not the most articulate person in the world or the most eloquent in Britain, however, what I am is honest. I truly believe that some of the promotional products we at The Sourcing Team and many of our competitors (which today I’ll call ‘friends’) produce are stunning, compliant, high quality and relevant items of promotional merchandise. They deliver brand retention, brand awareness, brand ROI and much, much more!

For a sample of our latest goodie bag just contact The Sourcing Team on – 020 8288 8277.