Why Promotional Products Work

Water Bottles for Runners

With so many water bottles for runners on the market, how do you decide which one is right for you? I’ve been asking runners of all types, from casual weekend runners to seasoned pros, and they all have something different to say about what kinds of water bottles they carry while running.

In the beginning, when I first came up with the idea for swiggies, wrist water bottles, I was running in the peak summer heat in Texas and ended up passing out from dehydration because I didn’t carry any water with me. I was running with my keys and music, so carrying a water bottle while running wasn’t possible. I knew there had to be a better way.

At the time the only alternative for hands-free water bottles was the old fanny pack. I tried running with one that had a water bottle in it and it bounced around while I was running. The harder I ran, the more it bounced. This is when I came up with the idea to create a water bottle design that was very simple to use and very readily accessible no matter how fast I was running.

It took a while to design a prototype that was light enough and didn’t have too much weight on my wrists, yet held enough water to last for a run under an hour. I also figured out that they could be frozen to lower body temperature while out in the heat. To this day, this is what many professional runners and other athletes use swiggies for when they do smaller training runs.

Since I invented swiggies, other water bottles for runners have come out on the market. It may be that runners need different types of water bottles for different types of activities. I use a Camelbak if I’m going for a long, extended hike. And a sturdy, regular bottle that you carry is fine for activities such as kayaking, where you have a place to store it.

Now it seems the front water bottles for runners, vests with pockets for water bottles in the front are coming onto the market. Again, a different type of water bottle to give runners more choices.

I have read through running forums and asked runners which they prefer. The answers are all over the map. But the bottom line is that you have to have enough water while running, especially in the heat. I learned this lesson the hard way.


Earth Day and Reusable Water Bottles

Every year Americans drink about 29 billion bottles of bottled water. Even though bottled water can cost thousands of times more than tap water, we seem to be addicted to it. In fact Americans spend about 11 billion dollars a year on bottled water. Sometimes it makes sense to use single use water bottles, like in disaster relief or for outdoor events, but most of the time we can help to cut down on the use of single use water bottles by carrying our own reusable water bottles.

The recycling rate for the single use plastic water bottles is quite low. Over 2 million tons of single use plastic water bottles will end up in the landfill. That’s about four out of five single use water bottles that will end up in landfills. And the plastic single use water bottles can take up to 1,000 years to completely decompose.

The water bottles that are recycled will be turned into new products such as playground equipment, carpeting, fleece clothing, and new containers and bottles. So, if you do use the single use bottles, recycle them and put them to good use.

Many parks and events are now providing filling stations for people who bring their own reusable water bottles to fill up. This will definitely save you plenty of money as single use water bottles at events, vending machines and parks can become quite costly.

There are also many restaurants that have stopped serving bottled water and instead have opted for filtered tap water.

Since Earth Day is coming up this week it’s time for us to be reminded again that we can all make a small difference by using reusable water bottles. If you don’t want to do it for the planet, then at least do it for your wallet. Think about the amount of money you’ll be saving by using reusable water bottles.








Why Tourists Buy Unique Souvenirs

You’ve seen the typical souvenir postcard that says “Wish you were here”. A unique souvenir from a place we’ve traveled helps us relive the journey over and over again.

The U.S. gift, novelty, and souvenir industry has a combined annual revenue of about $18 billion. Souvenirs (French for remembrance or memory), are an important part of tourism, especially local tourism. Tourists want unique souvenirs to take home to remind them of them of an experience they had or to give a gift to someone who wasn’t able to have that experience.

In Japan they have a strong custom of giving gifts of omiyage. In English that means souvenir, but it’s a little different than in the U.S. The person who is traveling will buy themselves unique souvenirs, but they buy omiyage for the people who weren’t able to make the trip. Non-food items are usually bought by the traveler for themselves, but omiyage is usually a food product that can be shared with others on their arrival back home. This is quite often given to friends and co-workers.

Souvenirs can be bought in a gift shop and could be something mass produced like a T-shirt, ashtray, magnet, water bottle, postcards, bowls or mugs. Or unique souvenirs could also be a local artisan craft product or something that represents the local culture of the area. Sometimes souvenirs can be a natural item such as sand or a seashell from a beach.

Memorabilia is a type of souvenir which is connected to an event. This could be a sporting event, historical event, concert or festival. These souvenirs are usually posters or clothing. Memorabilia can become quite valuable over time, depending on the event  and the item.

Just like any other industry, the souvenir industry needs to keep evolving and bringing in new, unique souvenirs to entice tourists to buy. Not only is it good for the local economies, but advertises the region to people who have yet to travel there.







Running Shoes for a Cause

Running is one sport that is almost entirely free to participate in for most people. We take for granted that a pair of running shoes can be bought for less than $50, depending on where you buy them.

But for some people in the world even that amount isn’t possible. Shoes for Africa was started after Mike Sandrock, a sports journalist, came back from a coaching and racing trip to Cameroon, West Africa. He noticed that a lot of the runners ran barefoot. And still beat him, by the way.

The Shoes for Africa project started with a group of runners in Boulder, Colorado, who began shipping new and nearly new running shoes to runners to needy children and athletes around the world.

The non profit has since become One World Running and continues to grow. They’ve also added tee shirts and running shorts to their packages. The group is now a 100% volunteer organization that has begun expanding globally to continue the mission Sandrock set out to accomplish years ago.

In 2001 the organization started putting on races to raise money for the charity. They continue to add more races every year with the money going to One World Running charities. They’ve also recently added soccer cleats and baseball equipment.

Most of the shoes come from donations from individuals and from running clubs and organizations such as the Girl Scouts. Many people have shoe drives to collect new and nearly new shoes for One World. Most of the shoes are in usable condition, and those are the ones shipped to Africa. But even the running shoes that are not in good condition can still be recycled. Those are shipped to NIKE to be ground up and made into running tracks and playgrounds. This is done through Boulder’s Eco-Cycle program and the Reuse-a-Shoe program.





How Runners Can Be More Eco-Friendly

Being eco-friendly means doing minimal harm to the environment. By buying more eco-friendly products and utilizing methods that will save energy and lessen pollution you can become a better steward of the planet. So exactly how can runners do their part to be more eco-friendly?

For a runner to be more eco-friendly they have to take into account everything from the clothes they wear to run in to the distance they have to go to for a race to the type of water bottle they use. This may take a little planning, but it can be done and the planet will thank you for it.

  • Choose local races – Yes, it can be more fun to travel to the Boston Marathon or the New York Marathon, or even to an international race, but it will also increase your carbon footprint. Whenever you can, choose to run in as many local races as you can. To find them contact local running stores and local running clubs. Both will have a good handle on what’s going on in the neighborhood when it comes to races.
  • Find eco-friendly marathons – If you scour the Internet you can find races that have made it a point to be more eco-friendly. They are using green materials, local produce, and instead of throwing away food, they are donating it to help feed the homeless. Runners also donate some of their slightly used shoes and clothes to Goodwill.
  • Don’t drive – Runners are being encouraged to either take public transportation or to carpool with other runners. You not only will be saving the planet, but you’ll be saving money on gas.
  • Bring your own water bottle – Many marathons are cutting down on the costly and wasteful paper cups that end up littering the race path. Some marathons are setting up huge drinking fountains where runners can fill up their water bottles and be on their way without wasting paper cups.
  • Eco-friendly clothes – Many runners are trading their synthetic running fabrics for more organic and green fabrics.

The trend towards more eco-friendly marathons will help educate runners about different ways they can be more eco-friendly .



Why You Should Use Fun Promotional Products at Marti Gras

The biggest event for New Orleans is by far Marti Gras. In 2000 the amount of money generated for the city reached a billion dollars. A lot of the tourism for New Orleans revolves around Marti Gras. I mean, the event is huge! In any given year the average crowd for Marti Gras is anywhere from about 700,000 to over a million.

There has also been a long standing 300 year tradition not to commercialize the event. That is still pretty much the case as far as having no advertising on the floats and other restrictions. But if you want to get your brand noticed by almost a million people in a week, there are still some ways around it.

Fun promotional products are a great way to get your brand noticed at Marti Gras without violating the no advertising rule. Nobody can tell you you can’t wear a T-shirt with your brand’s logo on it. Having just one person wearing a T-shirt with a logo might not stand out in the crowd. But if you had a whole group of people wearing T-shirts with a brand logo it just might attract attention. Of course everyone will be wearing a costume, so you would have to get very clever with the way you display your logo. If your company has a mascot of some sort, you could use that as your costume.

Give away fun promotional products like bottle openers, lighters or keychains that people will keep and use. Give them away at one of the many private parties you’ll find in pretty much any given neighborhood. Give them away to people who are hosting parties. Give them away as prizes. If the fun promotional products are something they will use during Marti Gras and keep afterwards, you have a winner.

You can’t carry an open glass container on the street, but you can wear your booze on your wrists and fill them up at a local bar with your favorite drink. swiggies, wrist water bottles aren’t just for water. Companies have put their logos on them for student orientation week and pub crawls. Hash House Harrier groups around the world fill up swiggies with beer and use them as a beer carrier when going from keg to keg.

Marti Gras is a multi-million dollar party where everyone is in the mood for fun. If your brand is fun and you want to reach a million fun party goers, think about using some unique promotional products at the next Marti Gras celebration.





Make Running Fun For Kids

Kids are like adults. They need variety to keep them from getting bored. This is true for running too. So if you want kids to be interested in running so they will want to keep it up you have to make running fun for kids. And that means adding plenty of variety to their running program.

Get them warmed up with some stretching exercises and some simple games like Red Rover, Red Rover, Red Light, Green Light, and Simon Says. Start out slowly with short distances and move up to longer ones.

Create an obstacle course for them by putting items like cones at strategic distances. Turn it into a fun game for them.

Make it a cross training course by alternating running with climbing, hanging and balancing.

Run with your kids. They like to imitate adults and will do what you do. But pay attention to make sure you don’t overwork them. Little kids can usually only run for a few minutes at a time.

Work in some relay runs in there with continuous and three person relay runs. Some kids running programs also have scavenger hunts. This is another way to break up the running and make it fun for the kids.

Help them to create a goal like running a kids fun run and help them stick to it. Train with them. Gradually build up to better timing.

Whenever your kids achieve a goal, reward them with a healthy snack.

Encourage kids to do their best, but let them progress in their own time. If they enjoy it they’ll stick with it. And if not, don’t force it. Let them find another activity they are really interested in.

Simply running around a track might be enough for adults, but for kids try to mix things up a little.

Why Kids Should Have Their Own Kids Water Bottle

Dehydration for adults is bad enough, but for kids is can be downright dangerous. Part of the reason is that kids absorb more heat than adults, but they sweat less. They also have less fluid and therefore can easily go from mild dehydration to severe dehydration more quickly. They don’t know how dangerous it is for them not to drink water. As a parent you have to encourage kids to drink more water. If kids have their own kids water bottle they are more likely to drink more water. There are some other tricks you can use to get kids to drink more water.

  • Make drinking water fun – If you can make drinking water fun for kids they are more likely to see it as something they want to do instead of something adults are forcing them to do. Kids should have their own kids water bottle in their favorite style and color. If they look at it more as a fun toy than a necessity they will use it more often. They also like to feel like they are “cool” around their friends.
  • Make water accessible – Kids should have an accessible kids water bottle and also have access to good, clean water without having to ask an adult to get it for them. Since small kids may not be able to reach the sink, make sure they have water in the refrigerator or the refrigerator door. If kids have their own water bottle they can easily fill them up with water that’s within their reach. Kids like to imitate what adults do, but they also like their independence. If kids have their own kids water bottle and don’t have to ask for permission from adults they feel more empowered.
  • Make water tasty – Adults and kids alike are more likely to drink more water if it tastes good. Studies have shown that kids will only drink about 50% of the water they actually need if it’s plain and about 90% if it’s flavored. There are plenty of ways to do that even without added sugar. Simply adding some fruit like lemons, limes or oranges helps add flavor to the water without adding sugar or calories. It’s a healthy alternative to sugary drinks and drink mixes.

These methods may not make a lot of sense to adults, but the point is to get kids to drink more water. If kids have their own kids water bottle and easy access to some flavored water, they will drink more water and you can rest easier knowing that they are safe from dangerous dehydration.


Runners Need to Hydrate in the Winter

When the temperature starts to dip and snow covers the street, even the most hard core runners may have a hard time getting up the enthusiasm to layer up and go for a run. And staying hydrated might be the last thing on your mind. Sure, it’s easier to remember to drink enough water and carry enough water when it’s eighty degrees out. But in the winter your body can be tricked into thinking you don’t really need to drink that much. The cool air and snow can mask our sense of exactly how much fluid we’re really losing. And that can lead to dangerous dehydration. So runners need to hydrate in the winter.

It’s not unheard of that up to 8% of total body mass has been lost through the loss of fluid in runners in the winter. This is made worse by the fact that most runners wear multiple layers of clothes on a winter run. You are still sweating, and that fluid needs to be replaced. Dehydration puts stress on your cardiovascular system.The kidneys will begin to produce more urine, which can  lead to more dehydration. Also, your lungs have to work harder to moisten the cold winter air as you exhale. So water is being exhaled every time you breathe.

An extra problem with running in cold weather is that dehydration can lead to frostbite. Your body will try to compensate for the cold by attempting to keep more warm blood in your core as opposed to your extremities. This is why shivering is one thing the body does to generate heat.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking up to sixteen ounces of water prior to exercise and several sips every few minutes during exercise. If you’ll be running in the cold, you can make some of that fluid intake a hot drink such as tea or hot chocolate to help warm up your core before heading out. And make sure you wear enough layers to protect you from the elements, but not too many.




Running While Pregnant

You often hear “check in with your doctor before beginning an exercise program”. This is especially true if you’re pregnant. If you’ve always been a runner, you’re probably okay to continue running while pregnant. But it’s still best to check in with your doctor just to make sure. Everyone is different. Now is the most important time to listen to your body and your doctor.

According to Julie Tupler, founder of Maternal Fitness, pregnancy isn’t the time to start a running routine. When the baby’s major organs are forming in the first trimester, overheating can become a real problem. Instead, she recommends strengthening your abdominal muscles for labor.

Drinking lots of water before, during and after a run is important even if you’re not pregnant. But much more important if you are. If you become dehydrated it can decrease blood flow to the uterus and bring on premature contractions. Yes, it does mean more frequent restroom stops, but it’s much better than becoming dehydrated.

Run on flat surfaces to avoid losing your balance. Make sure you’re not out running in an isolated area just in case you have an emergency. Carry a cell phone with you just in case there are any unexpected emergencies. Let someone know where you’re going and how long you plan to be gone. Even better, try to run with a partner. This is the safest way in case you run into any trouble.

The best thing is to make sure you listen to what your body tells you. Anyone who has been a competitive athlete before may try to push beyond their limits. Now isn’t the time. Don’t push beyond exhaustion. Running while pregnant will be harder. Just expect it. Speed walking is just as good for exercise and may be a safer way, especially the further along you get in your pregnancy.