Selling promotional products

This is an interesting one which one of my staff raised, and I had to think about a bit...

We have several promotional products, and Ignis, the cuddly FireBrick dragon, is an excellent example. He is not cheap but we had them made (a couple of thousand) so we could give them away as promotional products to help raise some awareness of the brand among those that may consider buying FireBricks.

We gave a lot away at a technology show - indeed I think we were the most popular stand at the show as a result. The dragons alone cost many thousands for that show!

Now, we could just "give away to all", but that makes no sense as anyone who wants a cuddly toy would ask for one and not really help in terms of marketing. Already, most suppliers or customers that come for a meeting at our offices, if they have any kids, usually leave with a dragon or two...

We do give them out to FireBrick customers and potential customers. They hang around a lot, which is ideal for any promotional product - people see them and ask about them and the logo, and so on. Nobody wants to throw away a dragon, so they stay on desks!

But what about selling them? Is that a reasonable thing to do? It seems wrong somehow...

Well, there are people that really like Ignis, as a cuddly toy, and people that like the playing cards that "go up to 11" as playing cards. People to which we would not otherwise send such things.

I gave an Ignis to a neighbouring company many years ago, and their manager's son still has it as his main and favourite toy that he will not got to bed without. It is a good quality toy! Indeed, when on holiday in Venice, a small child fell in love with an Ignis (I was taking pictures with him) and we gave him away.

So I think it is sensible to sell these (as well as give them away in various circumstances, obviously) but perhaps aim to do so at around cost price. Basically these are advertising as well as a product so not something it makes any sense to make a profit from really.

Of course dragons and playing cards are proving to be ideal experiments for understanding how we deal with Amazon before we start selling something more serious like FireBricks.

After all, there are loads of brands that you see on all sorts of merchandise that is sold - often by third parties paying to have the brand on the product, but still, buying a branded thing is not actually that unusual.

So that is the plan. I think I have Ignis listed on Amazon at a price that maybe covers costs - but may need to be tweaked. The same is true for the A&A "goes up to 11" playing cards listed on Amazon, but that may actually go down in price slightly. The cards should be available to buy from Monday.

Is that reasonable?


  1. Selling if is at cost seems like a good promotion if your brand. The only downside is people that like him will buy, which may not be the same people who are interested in a firebrick. On the other hand selling some at cost might help get you better volume discounts.

  2. Should there have been an Ignis in my FB2900 box then? :)

    1. Depends :-) but ask sales nicely and they will send one.

  3. Sell at a profit. You're not hitting your target market by selling randomly on Amazon so you might as well make some money from it. If it takes off as a toy brand then it's just another race is stream.

  4. Is it a promotional item or a toy. Given you are marketing as "loved by kids", this sounds like to would fall under the definition of a toy:

    From gov.uk: "designed or intended (whether or not exclusively) for use in play by children under 14 years old"

    And if it's a toy, then it has to comply with toy labelling.

    If you bought them as intended for "IT professionals to keep on their desk", or before 2011 (as they have only just come to market), then they might not comply.

    1. I'll have a look at the labelling - they are made by a company that makes toys, and I believe it is a toy, and has appropriate labelling (including CE mark).

    2. Check your product liability insurance too. Might imagine there are differences in underwriting of IT hardware vs kids' toys

    3. I think the product liability (i.e safety aspects) mostly falls on the actual manufacturer, does it not?

    4. It's an own brand product though isn't it? So you are deemed the actual manufacturer. (Also applicable if you imported it). Guidance from ABI: https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/choosing-the-right-insurance/business-insurance/liability-insurance/product-liability-insurance/

    5. It says manufactured by Prime Toys UK Ltd on the label. That is in interesting web site though.

    6. Reached the limits of my issue spotting ability I'm afraid. Worth checking with your insurer perhaps.

  5. If you sell certain products, it means that you should promote them. Another question is how to sell something properly.


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