Tag Archives: Marketing

Paper USB Drives Come to Market

14 May

This is a guest post by John Simonetta, owner of Proforma Green Marketing, an eco-friendly promotional items consultancy (see proformagreen.com). John’s blogs are designed to keep us up to date on the “greening” of his industry.

Recycled paper seems to be the latest eco-friendly material being used by flashdrive manufactures in the promotional products industry. The new USB 2.0 Recycled Paper Drive GP from All-In-One is a sample of these new bodies, and I have seen similar ideas from other manufacturers, including a tube style Papel Recycled Paper USB Flash Drive from Hirsch Gift.

The green case from flashdrives, regardless of their outter casing, goes like this: you can load a drive with a lot of data that would otherwise need to be printed out. It is cheaper and uses less resources to mail a 2 gram drive, than a 60 pound binder. And as a consumer electronic product, all drives sold by our industry are ROHS certified which means they are free of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants.

That the cases are made from recycled paper, bamboo or recycled plastic, is simply a plus. Lastly as a promotional product, flashdrives are great. People might erase their content, but most people will never throw away a flashdrive.

The USB 2.0 Recycled Paper Drive GP is available in memory sizes from 512MB – 8GB, with an imprint area on the drive body of 1 1/2”w x 1”h and on the cap of 1/2”w x 1”h. Having printing available in both locations is allows a smart artist to design images that utilize the full imprint area. Maybe an image with a person’s body on body of drive and face on the cap, maybe a design with a box that seems to “open” when the cap is removed. I don’t know, I am not a really smart designer, but others might use the space with more flourish.

Pricing on these drives changes nearly weekly, as flashdrive pricing is tied to the fluctuating cost of computer memory. Excepting your best price to memory ratio on 1GB and 2GB drives as those seem to be the most produced memory sizes. Currently the 1GB Papel Recycled Paper USB Flash Drive from Hirsch is running $11.85, 2GB for $12.45. All-in-One does not post pricing, I assume because of the constant fluctuations.

If you are in the business and have questions, Karen Cohen at All-in-One is the contact to talk to.  At Hirsch Gift ask for Robert De Veau. If you are interested in flash drives to promote your own business contact your local promotional items vendor or email info@proformagreen.com for information and pricing.

Just The Facts Please

20 Apr

This is a guest post by John Simonetta, owner of an eco-friendly promotional items consultancy (see proformagreen.com). John’s blogs are designed to keep us up to date on the “greening” of his industry.

Sort of following up on the point Maryanne Conlin Milker made in her article Consumers Want Proof It’s Green But Where Do They Look?, I wanted to touch on the use of facts to help Ecopreneurists reach their intended audiences.

As a practical example let’s talk about one of the 100 extra emails I got today that I did not delete.

It was from the promotional products division of ThermaServ/Betras, one of the manufacturers we work with. All the body of the email said was “Did you know Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour?” and included an image of their 34oz. Classic Insulated Green Line mug and 20oz. Wide Body Green Line mug.

It worked. It got my attention. And trust me I get a lot of emails on green items.

It seems way back on April 1, 2008 Thermo-Serv/Betras launched their green initiative, “Reduce, Refill, Recycle, Rethink”, a campaign focused on “educating their customers to the environmental benefits of utilizing refillable drinking containers”.

In addition to its everyday support of refillable drinking containers, Thermo-Serv/Betras has also introduced new Green Line mugs made from recycled materials, featuring double-wall insulation, ergonomically designed handles for comfort, and one-color printing with high-gloss finish. EQP on the 34oz. Classic Insulated Green Line mug is $2.90 and $3.75 on the 20oz. Wide Body. These items are #5 recyclable material.

The next thing that impressed me was that when I asked Thermo-Serv where that statistic came from, they immediately wrote back and provided what I would consider a reputable source, the website of the Clean Air Council. Continue reading

In Tough Times Cobranding May Be Best Bet For Non-Profits

24 Oct

This is a guest post by John Simonetta, owner of ProformaGreen, an eco-friendly promotional items consultancy. John’s blogs are designed to keep us up to date on the “greening” of his industry.

Well, I am certainly not a doomsayer. However it does look like the economy is going to slow down over the next few months if not longer.

Often it is marketing and giving that get hit first as companies focus on their core costs.

This especially hits those types of organization hardest that really need the support of their local communities and businesses, folks like the North Texas Food Bank, The Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald Tennessee or other civil and charitable institutions.

So Proforma Green is offering a challenge to other Ecopreneurists that read our column.

Starting now Proforma Green is offering a 20%-30% discount from End Quantity Pricing (EQP) on promotional items to 501(c)3, NGOs, charities, schools and other civic organizations, if they allow us to co-brand the products with our web address http://www.proformagreen.com in some small way. Not all items in our catalog are available with this discount, but most are, likely 85%. Continue reading

Seed Paper: GreenWashing or Saving the Planet?

23 Sep

This is a guest post by John Simonetta, owner of ProformaGreen, an eco-friendly promotional items consultancy. John’s blogs are designed to keep us up to date on the “greening” of his industry.

A number of manufacturers are working on natural (non-dyed) paper impregnated with seeds. The idea is that if you plant items made of these papers flowers or trees will grow.

Bloomin’ Promotions and Seed Cards are two manufactures doing this type of thing.

I really don’t know what to make of this idea.

If properly used I am sure they would be a great learning tool, perhaps in an educational setting – write a letter to the planet, plant the letter in the school yard and see it live – that type of thing. Continue reading

Panda Stands – For Eco Friendly Bamboo Banners

2 Sep

panda standThis is a guest post by John Simonetta, owner of ProformaGreen, an eco-friendly promotional items consultancy. John’s blogs are designed to keep us up to date on the “greening” of his industry.

OK, the name is a little cheesy but these signs are a great idea for businesses that need eco-friendly signage which still shows a professional edge.

Primarily constructed of bamboo, the Panda Stand is an environmentally friendly retractable banner stand for the exhibit, display and graphics markets. The unit is made from 90% renewable resources (bamboo casing and pole) and designed to maximize visual impact.

The Panda Stand’s eco-friendly style helps to emphasize your message while contributing to a greener planet for us all. In fact I would say the stand itself contributes to your message.

The manufacturer – Megagraphix – is working on using a 100% recycled solution for the banner itself as well as printing the unit using 100% vegetable based dyes.

This sturdy and premium portable display unit offers the same high performance attributes as other retractable displays. Its precision-engineered retraction system makes it easy and quick to set up virtually anywhere – simply unwind the graphic stored in the bamboo base and insert the support pole. Continue reading

How To Make A Green Pitch Without Greenwashing

16 Aug

This is a guest post by John Simonetta, owner of ProformaGreen, an eco-friendly promotional items consultancy. John’s blogs are designed to keep us up to date on the “greening” of his industry.

To capture as much information on new ideas and products coming from the convention as I could I went out and got a video camera and recorded a number of vendors talking about thier products.

The videos are on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/proformagreen.

If you are a green entrepreneur I strongly suggest you take a look at these pitches, using them as a learning tool to avoid the Six Sins of Green Washing (see www.terrachoice.com).

TerraChoice lists the sins as

Sin of the Hidden Trade-Off – e.g. paper (including household tissue, paper towel and copy paper): “Okay, this product comes from a sustainably harvested forest, but what are the impacts of its milling and transportation? Is the manufacturer also trying to reduce those impacts?” Emphasizing one environmental issue isn’t a problem (indeed, it often makes for better communications). The problem arises when hiding a trade-off between environmental issues. Continue reading


28 Jul

What do you get when you combine recycled newspapers, #2 graphite and the breezy scent of bubble gum. Well of course that would be a Smencil.

Smencil brand pencils are one of the best ideas we have seen for getting kids and teens excited about recycling and thinking green. They are very easy to understand and the kids love them.

Smencils start as old newspaper tightly rolled around a #2 graphite writing core until pencils of typical thickness are formed. Then they’re hardened – allowing them to be sharpened just like wood pencils.

Next they are soak with gourmet liquid scents and once dried the erasers are attached and stickers are applied around each unit to identify which scent was infused into each Smencil.

Lastly, each Smencil is put into its own Freshness Tube. Scents are guaranteed to last up to two years, in or out or their tubes.

For the promotional items industry, custom Smencils come in buckets of 50 (5 each of the 10 scents) but your can get your own directly from the company at http://www.smencils.com/ without logo.

Again I think Smencils are great (at the 2008 City of Plano Green Expo they handed out 500 units in less than 90 minutes, such was the demand from the crowd). However, this young company currently has two flaws that we can see.

First – again currently – the logos are placed on the Smencils with stickers, not written into the material like traditional wooden pencils would be branded. Smencils is working on a method of branding the units, but no word yet.

Second, the Freshness Tube seems to be a bit of overkill and not particularly eco-friendly. We would like to see the Smencil packaged in a more green material, perhaps a simple wrap in recycled paper or a cigar like tube made from recycled cardboard. Of course you can always ask that your custom Smencils be shipped without their tubes.

For more on Smencils vist their website www.smencils.com or contact us at www.proformagreen.com.

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