How to Excel at Event Merchandise

How to Excel at Event Merchandise

Events and merchandise have long gone hand in hand. Think of the last few events you attended and chances are the first thing that comes to your mind is the merchandise you took home like that personalised A5 notebook, that t-shirt printed right in front of you, or your favourite stubby holder that you still proudly use for those coldies.

Creating a successful event merchandise strategy is both a science and an art that requires a careful process that enhances your brand and messaging through interactive designs; visual concepts, creative copy and taglines, product sourcing, development, design and distribution.

Having an award-winning team of experts at your side during this process guarantees your items will not only be beneficial during the event, but they will also bring along benefits beyond the duration of the event that your brand and your bottom line will appreciate.


Top 3 Benefits of Event Merchandise:


1. Custom event merchandise extends your event’s brand value.

Driving brand awareness far beyond the date of the event is number one because your event merchandise gives your brand continued exposure for a long time. Keep in mind that attendees wear and/or use your merchandise, this creates an implicit but powerful endorsement of your brand.


2. Custom merchandise is a valuable way to engage more with your audience.

Event attendees are there because they want to be there. This simply means they have interest and passion that they want to show by attending and by expressing it through the merchandise they receive. This is the perfect opportunity for your brand to engage with a willing audience and provide them with the means to express their support for the event and your brand. It’s a unique chance to commemorate the event long after the date has passed. This solidifies the connection between your brand and your audience.  Think ROI of the event way after the event has finished. Brand exposure and brand loyalty. Marketing gold.


3. Merchandise can also be a significant source of extra revenue.

Most of the time event merchandise is given away as a promotional tool to attract customers and to drive brand awareness. However, a well-designed item that is useful and attractive enough to be sold might bring in some cash. The key is to create products that people want, creating an even better experience for attendees.  Why not think about personalising your merch at the event for a truly memorable takeaway?


The Process of Creating Merchandise that Rocks:


Live events are a fantastic opportunity to boost the emotional connection your brand has and needs with your audience. This in-person kind of engagement is highly valuable and should be addressed through a careful design process.

It doesn’t matter if your brand is B2B or B2C. Recent studies show that both types of customers are looking for the same things when it comes to selecting a brand and making a purchase. The convergence of B2B and B2C sentiments towards brands has created a new B2E (‘E’ for everyone) environment where marketers need to compete and thrive (some also refer to this as H2H- Human to Human).

In 2018, our experts created and launched the Kids Summer of Racing merchandise campaign for that year’s Victoria Summer Racing Event. The items created for the event proved to be an effective branding tool that will continue to be beneficial for a long time. Beyond a 2019 APPA award for the campaign, this case exemplifies that following the process described below will boost your brand reach, awareness and engagement significantly.



Conceptualisation takes place even before you start developing your event merchandise strategy by strategically selecting what events your brand needs to be a part of. This will help you better structure your budget in order to get the most out of each event, whether it’s just one per year or more throughout the year.

Once the event or events have been chosen, invest the necessary resources into each one, taking into consideration that each different event varies in scope, audience type, theme and maybe even location and other variables. So don’t create a one-size-fits-all plan, instead personalise each event’s plan.



With this in mind, add your brand’s identity, message, values and a generous portion of creativity to design an interactive and engaging event merchandise concept that resonates with your audience and creates a unique experience they will cherish and remember.



As the conceptualisation part of the process gets its finishing touches, you must start planning the execution of your event merchandising plan. During this phase, your team of experts must consider everything from providers, testing, delivery times, distribution, packaging, presentation, etc.

As much as designing and picking the right items is important, designing how you’re going to hand them to your audience is also crucial. Plan an interactive and engaging experience that goes beyond just handing out goodies to all those that pass by your booth. In other words, make both the merch and the experience attached to it memorable. Plus, make them connected to each other in a synergistic way.



Once everything is in place, execute your strategy from designing the items and the experience to placing orders, tracking and receiving them, to planning out the day of the event and having a plan B for everything in case anything goes wrong. This is one of the most important reasons for having a team of experts backing you up all the way, so they can ensure everything goes as planned. 

Our event merchandise experts are here to help you. We’ll dig deeper to understand your brand in order to create merch that’ll rock your audience’s socks off!  Set up a meeting here now.

New Clients Onboarding: Blow Their Minds with a Welcome Kit

New Clients Onboarding: Blow Their Minds with a Welcome Kit

You’ve just finished celebrating with your team the signing of a new client. Amazing, right? But what do you do with the time between that glorious contract signing and the actual kickoff of the project?

Most companies neglect to have a proper client intake system and thus miss a huge opportunity to truly boost their reputation and revenue. The best way to squeeze the juice out of this period of time is a properly branded and customised new Client Welcome Kit.

You are an expert in your industry and you’ll get the job with your client done well. Now let the experts guide you through the process of having a new Client Welcome Kit that’ll make your company stand out from the crowd.


Make the Welcome Kit Informative

Every Welcome Kit is intended not only to delight your clients and make them a happy customer, but they’re also a tool that can be used to make sure they have all the information they need to work with you.

welcome kits for new clients

Immediately after a contract is signed or an agreement is reached, send a 2- or 3-page PDF that contains important information about the work you’ll do with your client. Create a master version that you can quickly customise for each client and each different project.

This “brochure” should be part welcome wagon, part client roadmap, part FAQ. Keep it simple, easy to read, and make it engaging so your client feels compelled to react to it.


Keep It Fun 

Once you’ve got the informative part of the Welcome Kit taken care of, it’s time to make sure it’s fun. A Welcome Kit for clients should contain items that are designed, selected and customised to be fun in a way related to their industry, to the project and/or to their company’s style. (check out here some popular options)

welcome kit for new client

Be original, but also be mindful of culture, values and other factors that might touch on different sensibilities. Make them age-appropriate and consider how your client will use it on a daily basis, which takes us to the next point.


Make Sure It’s Useful

Promotional merchandise has a long useful life expectancy and makes your brand stay in your customer’s mind for a long time. But they have to be useful.

welcome packs for new clients

Take into consideration everything you know about your client (think about using the buyer persona method) and let’s come up together with items that’ll be present in their everyday life in a useful manner. Something useful covers everything from a daily planner, a pen, and a hat, to more specific items that might be used for work or daily life as a meter of some sort, a light, and so on. 



Deliver with Class

welcome kit for new clients

Of course, regular carrier delivery works most of the time. But you might want to take things up a notch, depending on what your client would appreciate. A special delivery service, a great looking package that is original and might be useful too, or even just delivering it yourself might make more of an impact and reassure your client they’ve picked the right company.


Benefits of using Welcome Kits for New Clients

Going the extra mile by surprising and delighting your client has plenty of benefits, including:

• Reinforcing your client’s decision to work with you.

• Managing their expectations.

• Easing your client into a new process.

• Surprising and delighting your client.

• Reinforcing your brand in your client’s mind.

And much more. Now that you see the benefits and understand that a new client intake system is crucial, contact us to let us take care of the entire process for you and make sure the items you include are there to make a difference.


Xmas Corporate Gifts: How to Rock it This Year!

Xmas Corporate Gifts: How to Rock it This Year!

What did your employees or staff get last Christmas? Do you remember what you gave your clients or business partners? How about your colleagues? If you don’t remember, it’s more than likely that they don’t remember either, which means they don’t remember your brand. Not so good, right?

The good news is that this year you can get into Christmas gift-planning mode early and hit a home run with personalised, innovative, fun and memorable items that will last in your recipient’s’ mind for the entire year. How do we know that?

Red Tomato is Australia’s leading promotional marketing agency because we care enough to go the extra mile to get you the items your brand needs and your target audience wants. Read on to find out more details about how we do it, some tips to help you get better results, and check out an impressive case study along with our Christmas Catalogue full of fantastic product ideas. Ready? Let’s go!

Corporate christmas gifts - 6

Xmas Corporate Merchandise: It’s All About Timing

To truly hit a home run with your corporate gift-giving this year, the first factor to take into consideration is timing. If you get your process started with enough time, chances are you’ll get every detail right, you’ll have time to fix any issues, and the entire process will run smoothly. 

Corporate christmas gifts-1

Lead Times and Order Placement

If you’ve read this far, you know we like to go above and beyond your expectations. Allow enough time to review quotes, organise samples and always add a couple of extra days to allow our experts to dig deep and search for new and innovative products that’ll really rock your clients’ socks off!

Corporate christmas gift-2

Remember to take into consideration the time it takes depending on where you get the merch from. For instance:

• Local Options: 10 -15 working days.

    • Last-minute options are available, with 24-hour express services at a premium.

• China Air Freight services: 6 – 8 weeks* depending on the item and the supplier.

• China Sea Freight services: 10 – 12 weeks*, also depending on the item and the supplier.

*The clock starts once all artwork and sampling is done.


Samples with China

When sampling products with China, it’s okay to have feedback until you’re happy with the product because it can be a hit and miss sometimes.

Corporate christmas gifts - 3

Quality Issues

Our experts are very passionate about our quality control process. They’ll make sure every order you place is spot-on and meets our and your standards.

In general terms, our QC process involves:

  1. Final artwork sent to China
  2. Sample sent to Red Tomato for QC
  3. Sample sent to the client for approval
  4. Approved items put into mass production
  5. Packing photos – matched with art approval
  6. Order sent to the client after Red Tomato have completed a final QC
Ideal Volume: How Many Items Should you Order?

Corporate christmas gifts - 4

Generally speaking, when ordering from China the rule is ‘the more the better’, meaning usually over 1000 units. 

  • Over 1CBM* or 100kg – best to send via Sea Freight
  • 25CBM = 20ft container
  • 50CBM = 40ft container

*CBM = Cubic Metre

Bulk Pricing

When you decide to order general merchandise in advance to get bulk pricing, you’ll save time, avoid rushing factories, have a better chance of getting it right the first time, be able to be creative with your order, and add fine details such as packaging and ‘surprise and delight’ elements.

Kennards Hire Christmas Monopoly 2018

One of our favourite Christmas corporate gift stories is Kennards Hire Christmas Monopoly 2018. Last year, Kennards was celebrating their 70th anniversary and wanted to thank and reward their staff for their hard work, effort and loyalty. They settled on a family classic, Monopoly, that would hero their branches and the range of products that they offer through the property squares, cards and custom tokens. Needless to say, the gift was a success among all recipients and is something they’ll cherish and use for a very long time. Click here to read more details about the case study.

Corporate christmas gifts - 5

Great! Now What?

Now you know how the process works and when to get started. What’s next? Check out our brand new 2019 Xmas Catalogue! Browse freely and make a list of your favourite items. Then get in touch with our experts so they can guide you through the entire process and make sure Xmas 2019 is unforgettable; plus, get great deals by starting your 2020 branded items planning now too!


Sports and Events: The Holy Grail of Promotional Marketing? | Sports marketing

Sports and Events: The Holy Grail of Promotional Marketing? | Sports marketing

The Wide World of Sports Marketing

Marketers are always looking for ways to get more leads, create a bigger fan base, increase brand presence, and in general boost sales by creating more loyal customers. If there’s an arena that does this better than all others, that is the sports arena.

Weekend after weekend, season after season, and game after game, you’ll see sports fans fill out stadiums and sell out events everywhere. But you’ll also find bars, restaurants, and even your buddy’s house packed with fans waiting for the game to start. But that’s not all when you take a closer look, you’ll see everyone wearing their team’s promotional products. Jerseys, hats, scarves, stubby holders, keychains, jackets, even the dog might be dressed in the team’s colours.


sport marketing-event merchandise

Any brand’s dream, right?

If your brand’s buyer personas are into sports, which in one way or another all are, then you can harness the awesome power of sports to leverage brand presence among your audience. All you have to do is strategically position yourself to connect your audience’s need for your product or service with their love of sports, or a particular sport.

Let’s take golf as an example. Golf is considered a high-class sport, it’s often associated with luxury, status, class, and power. Golf attracts players and fans who consider it a more “noble” sport and one wherein a way it is meant only for those who are “chosen”. If your research shows that your target audience is into the world of golf, then consider using golf as part of your marketing strategy.

This might include anything from sponsoring a tournament, hosting a golf weekend for VIP customers/leads/clients, or even a golf weekend for employees and managers to boost employee loyalty.

As you plan your golfing event, take into consideration adding some star power of attraction to it by inviting a famous athlete to the mix. This, plus choosing the right promotional products to give out before, during, and after the event, will guarantee you success and a big ROI.

So, planning ahead and making sure there’s an alignment of principles and preferences between your brand and the sports you’re connecting with is essential to successfully partner your brand with a particular sport.

Event Crowd Engagement

event crowd engagement tips

Sports and other events will attract large crowds, so you better be ready. There’s nothing worse than building up all kinds of excitement about an event just to be disappointed and bored once you get there.

To avoid event-death-on-arrival, make sure you strategically plan each aspect of how your brand is going to interact and engage with the crowd at every single different point of contact. There are plenty of innovative and creative ways to do this; you’re only limited by your creativity and how well you know your buyer personas.

You have to keep in mind that an event starts way before it takes place and should last in your audience’s mind for years after they’ve gone home.

A sure way to accomplish this is to carefully select and plant a promotional product strategy for them to connect with your brand before the event with products that transcend into the digital world where everyone is connected and your brand presence can spread like a virus, and into the real world, where years later a useful, fun, and innovative product can still be a part of your audience’s daily life.

Promotional Merchandise

crowd engagement and sports merchandise

Promotional merchandise is just the name for what could and should be a brand’s driving force at any event. Sure, during your event you’ll have star athletes, famous celebrities, fun activities, and so much more to keep your audience engaged and entertained the entire time. But there has to be a connecting link between all these emotions, and that’s accomplished by tying the entire mood of the event with the right promo merch in your attendees’ hands.

A careful and planned selection of promotional items will make your event engaging way beyond its physical constraints.

Your brand must also take advantage of the best of both worlds by creating promo merch that serves as a link to your social media and web presence, but that also serves as an item that will be in your audience’s real-life long after the show is over.

digital promotional merchandise

There’s a select group of experienced experts at Red Tomato who are eager to talk to you about making your next event, whether sports-related or not, a gleaming success by helping you plan a fabulous promotional product strategy that’ll generate a worthwhile ROI.  Book in a second a discovery call with one of our experts and we’ll help you to get your mind around winning the audience in your

9 Promotional Marketing Campaigns You’ll Absolutely Love

9 Promotional Marketing Campaigns You’ll Absolutely Love

“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.”

Tom Fishburne, Author.

Sometimes marketing agencies trying to select the best out of their catalogue of campaigns can be a bit biased due to emotions, memories, and other nuances that the audience might never be aware of. That’s why we decided to allow our clients and our audiences to decide which ones were our best promotional marketing campaigns of 2018.

We opened up a contest online so our clients could nominate their campaigns. This way our audience and theirs would be able to vote and select a winner. Here are 9 contestants and the winner for the best promotional marketing campaign of 2018. You’ll love them!


1. Welcome Packs

Our friends at Prospa needed to revamp their outdated welcome package for new brokers of the Prospa family. They wanted to communicate Prospa’s modern brand image while reducing the cost and incorporating existing items.

We worked alongside Prospa and came up with an elegantly customized solution. We combined a certificate in a sleek gloss black frame, a premium metal pen, and a professional notebook wrapped in Prospa branded tissue paper and placed into a premium custom made box. New Prospa brokers felt warmly welcomed and enjoyed a more friendly onboarding process.

welcome packs for new employess - Prospa Australia


2. Family Day 2018

Promotional merchandise plays a very important role in nurturing employee loyalty and appreciation. Kennards Hire knows this. That’s why for their annual Family Day 2018 they needed a product that was family-friendly in order to show their employees and their families their appreciation.

Our team developed a few alternatives, and we decided to go with a Picnic Rug & Duffle bag that could be used on the day and afterwards for days out with the family. We included a magnetic photo frame with the brand’s 70th Anniversary artwork for families to use for photos taken on that day.

employee appreciation marketing campaign - Kennards hire


3. APA Indigenous Brand Awareness

The brand needed merchandise options that incorporated indigenous artwork suitable for students and education fairs. The designs needed to be high-quality and highlight the APA logo while recognising the artist.

We developed a fantastic digital print on a bottle and backpack that successfully communicated the indigenous design and highlighted both the APA logo and the artist without compromising quality and functionality.

brand awareness marketing campaign - APA australia


4. Racing Victoria Picnic Baskets

The PR department of the governing body of horse racing in Victoria approached our team to develop the perfect invitation to launch the Festival of Racing period and marketing campaign to the media and the general public.

We developed a line of wicker picnic baskets themed with the Festival’s image and arranged for them to have an additional touch of subtle RV branding through custom luggage. “The kits were so well received that we encountered a number of requests for more baskets, a feat that is very rare from the media!”, said Verity Clough, Racing Victoria Public Relations & Communications Manager.

event merchandise_festival of racing_marketing campaign


5. AIG Compression Socks

AIG’s thought leadership conference needed a product for their travel team session on awareness about travel risks that would make the experience memorable for their target audience.

They had an idea for compression socks, so we developed a variety of AIG branded options and samples sourced from local suppliers. They picked one and each person who got a pair was pleasantly surprised.

Awareness marketing campaign promotion -AIG Australia


6. Hologic Welcome Packs

Planning a successful move is never easy and might be stressful. That’s why Hologic wanted to have a special welcome gift for their employees as they moved to a new office.

We chose some of our favourites and personalised them to better suit Hologic’s staff. The move was successful and everybody loved their gifts. It was a great way to start in a new environment.

new employee welcome packs - Hologic Australia


7. PGA Holden Scramble Finals Gifts

For the past 25 years, Holden and the PGA have produced Australia’s #1 participated amateur golf event with over 50,000 participants across Australia. Creating a gift for the Championship finals that would be suitable for the occasion and for both men and women golfers, was a great challenge for Red Tomato.

We sourced a series of fun and engaging products that were well received and both the client and sponsors achieved great brand awareness at the event and beyond due to the practicality of the reusable glasses.

event merchandise_golf_holden scramble_PGA


8. Kids Summer of Country Racing

The concept of giving kids a free backpack with goodies to engage them in the event had been done in previous years with success. However, for the 2017/18 campaign, we decided to incorporate the “We love animals” concept into the theme in order to further engage kids and families.

All items included in the backpack were branded with the slogan, and the success among kids was tremendous. Mick Sharke from RSN was there with his daughters and no one could have put it better than him:

“The Country Racing Victoria campaign focuses on a simple idea – We Love Animals. Because at the heart of the sport, when the carnivals, prize money announcements, interstate feuds, and mega races are all stripped away, racing exists because its participants and fans love and appreciate the thoroughbred horse. And what better way to explain racing to a child than with this message.”

marketing campaign_we love animals_kids summer of racing

Read his entire article here.


And The Winner Is… 🥁

Contiki Record Award

2018 was Contiki’s 20th anniversary for ROCK, which is their biggest trade incentive. To celebrate, they made ROCK 2018 BIGGER & BETTER: more seats, iconic location, iconic festival, smoking hot merch, and new branding.

Our mission was to create an award incentive for their top-selling travel agents that would tie the “record-breaking” and “smashing the sales target” theme. We developed a custom framed record that included the Contiki logo and the tagline.

This memorable and eye-catching award was something agents could brag about and proudly display, and it also caught the attention of voters for our contest and this rockin’ award took first place.

best prototional marketing campaign 2018_record award_Contiki - Australia


* * *

For us at Red Tomato, all our clients are winners and all of them deserve a winning campaign. With that mantra in mind, be sure our team will work hard to give you promotional products that are true winners for you and your brand. Get in touch to start working on your next winning campaign!