Thursday, August 29, 2013

Character Plush Toy Rescues 75th Brand Anniversary

ObjectiveA national food brand decided to celebrate its seventy-fifth anniversary with the introduction of a spokescharacter.  The client decided that one of the mediums of the spokescharacter would be a three-dimensional plush toy.

Purpose:  The makers of SPAM® products launched its first ever spokescharacter, Sir Can-A-Lot™,  a two and a half inch tall embodiment of the brand essence ready to begin a crusade to rescue the world from routine meals. See Press Release. (

Result:  The initial order was for 5,000 pieces Sir Can-A-Lot plush toy character, which resulted in $40,000 of revenue for the Promotional Consultant.  

Development: In November of 2011, a Promotional Consultant approached us about an opportunity to create a custom brand character.  Over the next 9 months we worked with the client to turn their illustration into a stuffed plush toy.   Here is a summary of the steps taken to get from print image to real stuffed plush toy character. 

1.       Original Client Image 

     2.      Prototype 1 - 

     3.      Artistic Toy Design Form - 
     Client Style Guide –
     Client Licensing Requirements -

The order was placed in July of 2012 and delivered in November 2012.    We faced many design challenges, including working with a vague initial photo and also having to take a two and a half inch print character and enlarge him to a nine inch toy.  While the finished toy looks remarkably similar to the print image, a tremendous amount of artistic interpretation was needed to get the correct look and feel of the toy.   As you can see from the multiple versions, we had to prove the viability of the plush character concept, accept client rejections, and overcome the factory’s reluctance to mass produce a work of art versus a standard stuffed plush toy.  Due to the complexity of this character, it took many hours to simplify the design for manufacturing while achieving enough of the important elements needed to represent the brand spokescharacter.  Through continuous revisions we were able to produce a remarkable brand character that is safe and achieved the factory’s requirements for mass production.    

    4.      Prototype 2 –

    5.      Prototype 3 -

    6.      Final Production Toy -    

As you can see the finished product came out better than any of the prototypes.  We were so pleased with the finished plush toy that we decided to use it as example of our custom toy process and an illustrative guide in our 2013 catalog. (  The final plush toy products are on sale right now in the Company’s Minnesota Museum Store.   

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Going Beyond Softness to Launch New Carpet Brand

Objective:  A flooring company launched a new line of super soft carpet.

Purpose:  The client wanted a fun and engaging way to explain to customers the softness of their new carpet at tradeshows and in stores.

Result:  The client used super soft teddy bears with imprinted ribbons and hand-sewn “Ouch” patches that sold almost 6,000 units within a 6 month period, creating over $50,000 of distributor sales revenue.  


On November 15, 2012, a salesperson called Artistic Toy troubled because every other toy supplier they had contacted had refused to quote this project.  The project had a quick release date and uncertain client specifications, limiting the options a supplier could offer.  

Initially, the client had requested for the bear to be shaved somewhere indicating that the bear had donated some of its softness to the new carpet brand.  Our sales team quickly consulted with our resident cosmetologist on the assembly team to test this overnight.  Unfortunately, it was concluded that due to the fine fabric, teddy bear plush cannot be shaved like human hair.  Also, cutting the fabric shorter with scissors would be too high a risk a task for our assembly team, plus they could potentially damage the finished product and would produce inconsistent results. 

Alternatively, the sales team offered the solution that we hand stitch a patch on top of the bear fur.  That patch would be printed with the word “Ouch” to give the illusion that the fabric was missing and that the bear had in fact donated its super soft fur to the carpet brand.  The client was very excited about this opportunity and even provided several unique patterned fabric samples from their fabric inventory for to make the patches.  We received very particular instructions with regards to thread colors, stitch direction, and patch location.  We ordered a special cutting die for the patch and started training a 15 person hand sewing team in order to ship out the first 2,000 pcs before the end of the year, allowing these “Patch Bears” to be in hands for a January tradeshow.       

The products delivered on time and the
client loved them so much that they continue to re-order them.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Advertising Dollars on the Attack! Bears V. Bulls

Every month out of the last 6 months in 2013 the US stock market has hit record highs.  The iconic Bull and Bear characters of Wall Street should be everyone's best friend.  These characters signify either an optimistic or pessimistic view on selling or buying investments.  The upward attacking bull is hero in the minds of most as his head indicates a market that is on the rise.  The downward attacking bear head is the villain that pushes stock prices down causing investors to sell.    

The Artistic Toy's Reversible Bear Bull Puppet (c) is a fun and engaging way to explain market risk and that a healthy financial system has bears and bulls.   Whether you are feeling Bullish or Bearish about investments or your marketing dollars this promotional product will gain long lasting enjoyment from flipping this puppet inside out.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Marketing Strategies You Can Take to the Bank

Two Promotional Consultants and a Manufacturer’s Representative recently visited Artistic Toy.  The 30 minute tour ended in our conference room where the Bears were having a meeting with the Bulls.  They were marveling over the cover of the Supplier Global Resource magazine, “Out with the Bear, in with the Bull!”  One bear mentioned that a PPB Editor was looking for successful promotional campaigns for clients in the financial sector.

The Bulls agreed that Artistic Toy’s Reversible Bear Bull Puppet © is the Best Promotional Product for the Financial Sector.  They made statements like “my clients are doing the work of three people and need me to bring them new ideas”,  “this product has a WOW factor that is engaging”,  and “while it’s financially focused, it’s really about the unexpected turn around story that everyone loves.”

Over the last 15 years Artistic Toy’s Reversible Bear Bull Puppet © has been a steady component of every type of financial services firm imaginable.  These inside-out hand puppets have become teaching aids on financial risk, helped launch investment divisions of banks, and reiterated core branding principals of insurance companies that are prepared to weather bear and bull markets.

 “My financial services client distributes Artistic Toy’s reversible bull-bear puppets at his client presentations and consumer shows.  They’re great for communicating stock market volatility and the dangers of trying to ‘time the market.’” - Matt Paine, Imprintastic!  
Read more for more product testimonials.

Successful investors know that there is no magic to the market.  In order to be a successful investor you need to carefully understand the business you are investing in and set performance expectations in advance.  Without applying these two principals investing can be a disguised form of gambling.

This investment advice is easier said than done.  The function of buying and selling investments is as easy as clicking a few buttons, understanding the business you are in and deciding appropriate time frames to achieve upside potential and minimize downside losses requires an experienced professional. 

Marketing your business requires the application of the same two principals.  Businesses must understand the media they are using to advertise and decide in advance the expected results.  For most businesses, like investors, this advice is easier said than done.  The successful application of this strategy requires that investors work with Financial Advisers and businesses work with Promotional Consultants.  A Promotional Consultant is a professional who can help you evaluate the best media to reach your Company’s goals, understands the importance of protecting your brand image, and turns your advertising into an integrated marketing campaign.

Whether you are bullish or bearish about the market you can turn these investment principals into marketing strategies that will have you and your clients making more trips to the bank.   

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Best Financial Sector Promotional Product

Over the last 15 years Artistic Toy’s Reversible Bear Bull Puppet © has been a steady component of every type of financial services firm imaginable.  These inside-out hand puppets have become teaching aids on financial risk, helped launch investment divisions of banks, and reiterated core branding principals of insurance companies that are prepared to weather bear and bull markets.  

(View Product Details: 7" Reversible Bear Bull Puppet - S1181)

Here are a several product endorsements from Promotional Consultants:

“My financial services client distributes Artistic Toy’s reversible bull-bear puppets at his client presentations and consumer shows.  They’re great for communicating stock market volatility and the dangers of trying to ‘time the market.’”  - Matt Paine, Imprintastic!  

“I first sold Artistic Toy’s reversible bear bull hand puppets to John Hancock Funds in 2000 and they were a tremendous success.  We did over 10,000 units and still get requests from brokers for them. A great item that has impact and continued use.” -Joe Joslin, Joslin Advertising & Marketing, Inc.

“My international fund management client used hundreds of Artistic Toy’s reversible bear puppet at a tradeshow.”  - Peter Ban, CMTI Inc

One of my clients placed a 3,000 pc order for Artistic Toy’s reversible bear bull puppet.  The puppet wowed them with its play value and it aligns perfectly with the insurance company’s brand promise of staying true to careful planning, discipline investing, and fully evaluating risks through bull and bear markets.- Emily Dunnigan, National Premium

My university client just opened their Center for Economic Eduction and found Artistic Toy’s reversible bear bull puppet a natural fit!  The used the puppets at the grand opening as gifts for attendees and large donors.”  - Kristin Rezler, Halo Branded Solutions

“My annuity and insurance client has been buying Artistic Toy’s reversible bear bull product for many years.  This product is a steady component of their company store sales and travels to many investor meetings”  - Tom Schaefer, WorkflowOne

“I work with a large bank’s brokerage division that ordered 10,000 pcs of Artistic Toy’s reversible bear bull puppet to promote its investor education endeavors.  .”- David Gilinsky, Bergman Incentives

Over the years my global financial client has used thousands of Artistic Toy’s reversible bear bull puppets.  Each divisions marketing department seems to like promoting with this product.”   - Lee Cohen, Lindon Associates

“Artistic Toy’s reversible bear bull puppet is a must have for any client in the financial sector.  My client orders thousands of them a year as part of a recurring program.”  - Johanna Decal Gottlieb, Axis Promotions

Email your contact information and FedEX / UPS shipper# to for a free sample! 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sales Incentive Trip – Lobster Promotion

A Tennessee mobile home manufacturer inspires sales team with 500 lobster stuffed toys.  This manufacturer recently announced that their 2014 sales reward trip will be at the renowned Samoset Resort in Maine.  The lobster is a well-known symbol for the state of Maine.   These characters will be showing up at team meetings and on desks around the office throughout the year to give team members visual, physical, and emotional reminders of what they will be experiencing at the annual sales conference. 

Destination sales trips are common in almost every industry and market segment from Financial Services to Manufacturing.  Make sure sales team members have strong mental anchors to stay focused on goals. When incentive trip promotions remain in offices or make it home they have a unique way of becoming personal.  Sharing personal achievement stories with friends or family members are extremely easy with this formidable discussion piece.  Why do you have a lobster in your office?  What do I need to do get a Lobster?   

While some incentive trips include children and families; others may not.  Either way when a stuffed toy is used as part of the event promotion everyone can join in the excitement.  

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I Love My Honda Bear

An Illinois Honda car dealership  gives out 1,000 teddy bears per year.  Why?  And how? This Honda dealer found that their target market customers have small children which influence how smoothly the purchase happens.  The dealership boasts that they are the Superstore of Honda, with new and used car inventories of about 600 cars.   The 30 member sales team distributes the bears as gifts to qualified buyers who have small children. 

A car purchase is a major financial decision that typically involves the entire family.  A car salesperson faces every kind of emotion imaginable from apprehensive buyers to bored children.  There is nothing that comes close to the smiles and comfort a stuffed toy can bring to the negotiating table.  Imagine receiving your very own stuffed teddy with your car brand’s name on it.  I see many miles in the future for this bear. The bear makes an immediate emotional connection that reminds the buyer how much they are going to love their new car.  It also creates excitement, wonder, and makes paper processing time fly by for the little ones.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Deeply Discounted Products Positioned for Promotional Consultants

Most people would agree that a Company that can keep its customers from shopping elsewhere has an advantage.  Our goal is to keep our Promotional Consultants equipped with deeply discounted stuffed toys in their sales toolbox to meet clients’ decreasing budget concerns; while at the same time delivering a campaign with a creative wow factor.

We are introducing a new Inventory Clearance Campaign May 1 - June 28, 2013.  Over the next 15 days we will start publishing a selection of more than 30 inventory items at prices near cost.    These items are being selected because they are either past their primary season or will be coming into season later this year.  Like you, we want to motivate people to buy now and save big.  Salespeople need to be very clear with clients that you need a decision quickly, because firm orders must be placed by Friday, June 28 and prices will go back up on these items on Monday, July 1.  These prices are only being offered to encourage clients to purchase in advance to meet their decreasing budgets.  In order to make this simple, you need to let your client know that the minimum order quantity is the lesser of 500 pcs or remaining inventory balance.   

You now have more good reasons to get in front of your customers before summer vacation starts.   As always, our Sales Associates are armed with creativity, Photoshop skills, and tons of past success stories in all types of businesses.  We will help you make a great presentation. 

Artistic Toy is a company that listens and develops win-win solutions.  We are not going to compete on price; however, we are going to strategically position our distributor sales force to succeed with products that can be offered to meet clients decreasing budgets.   Let’s face it; the threat of decreasing budgets will probably never go away.  We need to work together to present products that have more perceived benefits than customers ever imagined.  I call like to call it, “Getting Excited about the Project!”