PPAI 2013 – Red Solo Cup

We’re finally back from Vegas, and gosh it’s good to be home. Clear air, fresh food, and good beer. Fabulous. AnneMarie and I have spent the last week at a Proforma Regional Meeting and then PPAI 2013, which is a gigantic trade show for promotional products.

Given that marketing, and particularly promo products, are typically the first thing eliminated from a budget, the promo industry really reflects the state of our economy. What we experienced this year was optimism. The show was the most busy we’ve seen since 2007-8 and there was a lot of fresh, new product.

Every year, there’s something that pops out as the promo meme of the show, and this year it’s the Red Solo Cup.

Red Solo Cup

We first ran into the Red Solo Cup at Leeds. Their version is a double wall acrylic with an optional top. Looks exactly like the real thing. By the end of the show, it had popped up in a couple more booths. We even found it at Berney Karp in ceramic. That was probably my favorite because you could envision an entire office drinking their coffee out of beer cups.

The most awkward promotion product of the show was Date Rape Drug Detection Coasters. You can put your logo on that and give them away. We applaud the intent but probably don’t have a client for this one.

Awkward Promo

In technology, it’s all about portable power supplies, speakers, and keyboards. Power, in particular. While promising freedom, the fact is our devices enslave us with their need for power.

In apparel, we’re very excited by advances in decoration. New polyester performance fabrics combined with techniques like laser, deboss, and edge-cut heat transfer have really opened up new options for decorating. At the Proforma meeting we even saw a beta test of deboss on a twill business shirt. Wow.