Just the ticket

For companies in search of promotional products - whether to reward employee performance, or to recognize best customers - the possibilities range from fine art to finger foods. Here's a small sampling of what's new and noteworthy....

For companies in search of promotional products – whether to reward employee performance, or to recognize best customers – the possibilities range from fine art to finger foods. Here’s a small sampling of what’s new and noteworthy.

Scooters

Looking for the hottest property to hit the streets this year? Foldable scooters are getting the thumbs-up – not just from kids, but from adults entranced by their retro appeal. Target Marketing offers three models: the Glider IIK aluminum in silver, blue, red and green; the Athens see-through polycarbonate in blue, red or green; and – just coming to market now – the E-Z Rider electric, which can take you as far as 10 kilometres on a single charge, at a speed of 14 kilometres per hour. Wholesale prices range from $73 for the Glider IIK to $635 for the electric model.

Contact: Target Marketing Corp., 591 Argus Rd., Oakville, Ont., L6J 3J4. Phone: (905) 845-6200

Cast Paper Images

If you’re looking for something with a touch of artistry, the cast paper images created by Casting Impressions may catch your eye. Each is made with acid-free cotton pulp, which is molded to produce a detailed image in bold relief, then hand-painted and mounted in a shadow-box frame with an engraved plate. Customers can select from a range of limited-edition wildlife pieces, or design their own image. Pieces range from $30 to $500.

Contact: Casting Impressions, 415 Hood Rd., Unit 9, Markham, Ont., L3W 3W2. Phone: (905) 477-2278

Ceramic Creations

Admit it: You’ve just been waiting for the opportunity to turn your corporate icon or company mascot into a ceramic piggy bank. Or a business-card holder. Or maybe a mug. All of these and more are available from the good folks behind Magic Mud. Each of their one-of-a-kind creations is designed from scratch and – if so desired – can be cast in gold, silver or pewter finishes. If you want a close look at their work, they’ll even bring around the Magic Mud van. Pieces can be designed to suit any budget, but tend to start in the $20 range.

Contact: Magic Mud, 1408 Davenport Rd., Toronto, Ont., M6H 2H7. Phone: (416) 964-7229

Coleman Kayaks, Paddleboats, Canoes and Kids’ Gear

Coleman offers a wide selection of outdoor equipment for the premium and incentive market. Among the newest additions are kayaks and paddleboats manufactured by Pelican International in Quebec. The line, which also includes canoes, will be available by January, at prices ranging from $479 to $949. Also in store for 2001 is Coleman’s first line of camping equipment and accessories for children, which will include everything from tents to bug collectors. Prices will run from $12.99 to $129.99.

Contact: Somcan Marketing & Sales, 1795 Ironstone Manor, Unit 1, Pickering, Ont., L1W 3W9. Phone: (905) 831-3364

Custom Cookies

Here’s a promotional idea you can really sink your teeth into: butter, lemon and kosher cookies in snack-sized boxes with pop-up handles. (Slots in the back of the boxes hold business cards.) You can choose from one of several existing lines of cookie shapes – golf, cars and computers are the options – or else request customized cookies and boxes. The retail price is generally $1.60 per box, depending on the quantity ordered. The minimum purchase is a case of 24 if you opt for one of the existing cookie lines, or 25,000 units for customized cookies.

Contact: Heather Distributing, 61 Lancer Dr., Maple, Ont., L6A 1C9. Phone: (905) 303-2959

Digital Cameras

In the world of photography today, everyone’s going digital. The Canon PowerShot S100 – also known as Digital Elph – has been turning heads since its spring launch. Compact as a credit card, it lets users check out their photos on a small screen at the back, or connect the camera to a TV set or computer monitor for a preview. It’s priced at $799.

Another nifty newcomer is the Fuji Finepix 40i, a digital camera whose features include an advanced MP3 audio player with a remote control, so that you can listen to tunes while snapping. It will also let you record brief AVI movie clips that can be played on a Windows PC. The price: $999.

Contact: Henry’s (Commercial Sales Department), 119 Church St., Toronto, Ont., M5C 2G5. Phone: (416) 868-0872

Etched Crystal Mouse Pads and Coasters

Think there’s nothing sexy about mouse pads? Check out Industrial Matter & Design’s range of GlassPad products. Made from etched jade crystal, they can be customized with a corporate message, to lend an everyday office tool the snazzy look of an achievement award. The company has also incorporated the same concept into a line of drink coasters. Prices range from $20 to $100.

Contact: Industrial Matter & Design, 62 Noble St., Toronto, Ont., M6K 2C9. Phone: (416) 534-9069

Festina Watches

It’s the number one watch brand in the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain – and now it can be part of your incentive program. Festina, best known as the official timekeeping sponsor for the Tour de France, offers about 20 different models of its fashion-sport watches, in stainless-steel and titanium, for corporate market use. Prices range from approximately $200 to $600.

Contact: Festina Corporate Markets, 110 Riviera Dr., Unit 15A, Markham, Ont., L3R 5M1. Phone: (905) 474-9419

Picnic at Ascot Backpacks

It’s not a weekend getaway, but it might be the next-best thing. Culinary Techniques offers deluxe backpacks stuffed with just about everything you’ll need for an afternoon picnic: napkins, wine glasses, plates, cutlery, a corkscrew, salt and pepper shakers, a wooden cheese board, a cheese knife, an insulated wine-bottle pouch and an insulated interior compartment to hold food. (Sorry, food and wine not included.) All pieces are unbreakable. Prices start around $129.

Contact: Culinary Techniques, 6200 Dixie Rd., Unit 1, Mississauga, Ont., L5T 2E1. Phone: (905) 795-1671

Balsam Fir Wreaths

Deck their halls with balsam fir wreaths. Northwoods Natural Wreath Company makes long-lasting wreaths in 24- and 28-inch sizes. The wreaths are decorated with frosted pine cones, crab apples and a red bow, and are packaged with a handwritten greeting card. The company also offers balsam fir and pine centrepieces. The products can be delivered to offices or homes anywhere in North America. Prices start around $30.

Contact: Northwoods Natural Wreath Company, 3 Baltimore St., St. John’s, Nfld., A1B 3B8. Phone: (709) 722-6811

Wooden puzzles

Not sure your employees get enough opportunities to stretch their mental muscles? Then give them one of these handcrafted mind-benders. Choices range from the 51-piece Great Pagoda to the Altakruse, a puzzle design dating back to the 1850s. They look simple enough, but the degree of difficulty ranges from moderate to extreme. All are made with black cherry, black walnut or maple, and finished with oil to reveal the grain and contrast in the wood. Prices run from $4 to $40.

Contact: Chris Dilly Puzzles, R.R. 1, Markdale, Ont., N0C 1H0. Phone: (519) 369-2859

Also in this report:

- Make your supplier do the work: With a little imagination and sufficient lead time, it’s possible to wow your customers for a song p.B10

- TSO boosts database with ‘Escape from Reality’: Viral marketing campaign invited subscribers to supply e-mail addresses of like-minded friends p.B14

- Harbinger gets the jump on job seekers with promo: ‘Life’s a Beach’ contest offered candidate chance to win Jamaica vacation p.B14