Printing & Design Tips
Free Swag! The attention grabber that gets noticed at a convention is the booth handing out tote bags filled with fun and functional promotional products. But wait! Custom tote bags aren't just for the convention floor anymore.
Custom printed tote bags are a powerful, reusable tool for branding your business and should be included in your promotional campaign for your storefront, trade shows, public events, direct mail, giveaways, and of course, conventions.
In this article, Clash reveals the origin, varied uses, and power of implementing custom printed tote bags in branding and marketing campaigns.
Promotional Tote Bag Origin
In 1886, the advertising industry was forever changed when Jasper Meek produced the first customized tote bag for Cantwell's Shoes in Coshocton, Ohio, and sparked the entire promotional products industry.
The original idea behind the tote was to attract more customers to Cantwell's Shoes, while Meek kept his printing press running during the slow season by printing these tote bags.
Custom Printed Tote Bag Uses
While handing your custom totes out from behind your booth at the trade show may seem like their only use, it only takes a bit of creativity to turn basic totes into a branding powerhouse.
Take a look at the following innovative applications for your branded tote bags:
Guerrilla Marketing - This advertising approach uses inexpensive and unconventional marketing strategies intended to capture attention and produce results. In this case, fill your totes with swag, coupons, and flyers, grab a megaphone, and find a crowd of people.
As soon as you bellow the word "FREE" through the megaphone, people will take notice and make their way to you. If your impromptu presentation is interesting enough, you may even entice people to film, post and share your popup branding event online and to social media.
Direct Mail - Instead of a simple flyer, why not include a branded tote bag with the direct mail piece. Functional and clever promotional products added to a direct mail campaign have the potential to increase response percentages significantly.
Donation - Find a reputable charitable organization or school in your neighborhood, and support their food or clothing drive with your totes. When the bags are handed out, your name gets distributed with them, and any media attention is an added boost.
Another way to support and raise money for the cause is to fill a bag or two with gift items to raffle off in a fundraising drive, in which case is a win-win scenario.
Watch this video to see custom printed tote bags ready for donation.
Custom Print on Your Totes
The message on tote bags can be customized to meet the needs of practically any business. Your goal is to be creative and add value so the tote bag gets used and attracts attention. Take inspiration from the following examples:
Lawyers Office - Instead of just using the logo and name of the law firm, print instructions on how to handle being pulled over by the police and what to do if there's trouble.
- Pull over safely and as far out of traffic as possible
- Turn the engine and radio off
- Turn on the cabin lights (when dark)
- Roll the window all the way down
- Keep your hands in plain sight
- Be respectful and let the officer speak
- Politely respond when necessary
- Never argue with a police officer
- Hand over requested documentation
- If you receive a ticket, sign it
- If you believe there was a mistake, fight it in court
Restaurant - Give your customers a free canvas tote bag with a simple signature recipe and ingredient list printed on the bag, like “How to make your own Caprese Salad”.
You will need the following:
- Fresh Tomatoes
- Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
- Fresh Basil
- Olive Oil
- Balsamic Vinegar
1 - Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella in 1/4 inch thick slices.
2 - Alternate layers of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil leaves.
3 - Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Vacation Products Company - Deliver the products in a tote with a helpful beach checklist printed right on the tote bag.
- Beach Towell
- Beach Umbrella
- Cold Drinks
Hair Salon - Give a custom canvas tote bag to your clients with a "salon checklist" printed on the side.
Each of the above examples illustrate clever ways to produce a functional tote that is unique, ensuring its use and value.
Promotional Product Statistics
The value of promotional material is measured by many standards, according to Promotional Products Association International, the top three reasons people keep promotional items are when they are:
If you are successful with your tote bag, remember that repeat brand exposure occurs as 81% of recipients will keep promotional items for more than 1 year, with 18% of them keeping the items for more than 11 years!
Promotional Canvas Tote Bags and Your Marketing Strategy
Tote bags are a potent marketing tool for branding and brand recognition. Dating back campaigns to late 1800s, they've since been used in marketing and events across the world displaying brand’s logos, business names, mottos, and clever messaging.
Regardless of your business profile, high-quality printed canvas tote bags can be designed to fit your company’s or campaign's message. They can be used with direct mail, as donations, giveaways, and even as reminders of what can go in them.
The ultimate goal of marketing with tote bags is for people carry your tote at events or in public, which captures exposure and visibility for your brand. The users are essentially walking advertisements that spread the word and bring value to your company or product.
Clash Graphics Print Shop Atlanta Flyer Printing
2233 Peachtree Rd NE Ste 202 Atlanta, GA 30309