Company picnics are great for employee participation; forgo the same old hot dogs and potato chips, and add pizzazz to your picnic with the help of a theme that will increase excitement and encourage participants to get involved. Check out these popular theme ideas, and be sure to ask your ad specialty distributor about obtaining the best products for your picnic and all your promotional events.
Have employees bring their favorite dessert, garden produce and homemade crafts for judging and award ribbons to all. Sponsor pie eating, egg juggling, apple bobbing and watermelon seed-spitting contests. Make sure to decorate your picnic tables in country prints. Arrange games such as three-legged races and tug of wars; have team members wear logoed bandannas in their team’s color. Finally, set up hay rides around the picnic area. Keep plenty of logoed water bottles and sunscreen on hand for the long day outside.
Provide a set of Mexican hats and serapes and photograph your guests wearing them. String colored lights from poles or trees and add colorful streamers. Decorate picnic tables with colorful Mexican blankets and cacti centerpieces. Engage a mariachi band or use recorded music, and give employees logoed maracas to shake. Hang piñatas filled with candy and treats and let attendees take their best shot.
Encourage guests to arrive in costume and have hula girls and hula boys greet them with leis to the accompaniment of Hawaiian music. Have a pig roast and put accompanying food items in large seashells or logoed beach pails. Arrange for hula lessons and sponsor hula contests. Whip up a tasteful floral combo that mixes island blooms, fruits and foliage. Provide temporary Hawaiian warrior tattoos and hold coconut passing contests.
Way Out West
Provide vests and Stetsons for your guests and encourage them to add to the ensemble. Serve Western party foods such as hot dogs, hamburgers, pork, beans, chips and peanuts. Arrange for a steady supply of country music for your cowgirls and cowboys to dance to and enjoy. Take digital photos of your costumed guests and Photoshop them with sepia tones and faded edges to give them an old-timey look. In addition to Western gear, provide guests with branded boot-shape drinking glasses, take-home cactus centerpieces, flashing marshals’ badges, miniature horseshoes, belt buckles, bolo ties and stuffed-animal horses for the children.
When the legendary Greenbriar resort hosted its inaugural Women in Leadership conference last year, there was significant attention paid to detail, as the speakers included a star-studded array of high-profile women in business, media and government. The event was organized by media power player Cathie Black, former president and chair of Hearst magazines, and a regular on the list of the 50 most powerful women in business.
"To say Cathie is particular is quite an understatement," says Greenbriar director of digital media and branding Chelsea Hover, noting that Black's exacting standards were evident in every aspect of the conference, including the gift bags that were handed out to speakers and attendees. Martha Stewart was the keynote speaker, and presenters included such luminaries as ABC News White House correspondent Ann Compton and Mikki Taylor, Essence magazine editor-at-large and stylist to First Lady Michelle Obama.
"Cathie had very specific guidelines. The bags needed weight and had to include high-quality products with a focus on beauty," says Hover. The bags also needed to have a particular fit over the arm and be able to hold a laptop or an iPad. Many of the speakers were close friends of Black and traveled great distances to participate, making it even more important to Black that these women really enjoy the gift bags.
Hover began researching items for the bags six months before the conference took place, and the feedback from recipients suggests the end-result was five-star. The 300 stylish bags were made of reusable burlap. Greenbriar hotel-branded items in the bags included bedroom slippers, lip balm and wooden serving spoons. Birchbox, a beauty subscription service, supplied Hover with samples of high-end beauty products to try out for possible inclusion. "In one week I sent out 100 requests for donations to the gift bags – and 75% said yes," she notes.
Yogurt has always been advertised toward females with its feminine-colored packaging and commercials featuring thin women. Remember the itsy-bitsy-teenie-weenie-yellow-polka-dot-bikini Yoplait ad? It summed up the message: yogurt helps women lose weight. Carlos Ramirez, CEO and founder of Powerful Yogurt, recognized the need for a yogurt for men in the food industry, and developed a high-protein, all-natural Greek yogurt in a larger package for the active male.
Expo West, the world’s largest natural foods trade show, was the perfect place to launch the new product, and Powerful Yogurt’s team made sure it would stand out from the crowd. The team, which consists of employees from Puerto Rico, Colombia, Venezuela and Argentina, created an ab-o-gram, an ultrasound machine that allowed attendees to “find your inner” abs when they stopped by the booth. “We hired a model to play a nurse and speak about the product while she showed men their inner abs on the ab-o-gram screen,” says Sarah Goldthwait Shoemaker, marketing and communications manager at Powerful Yogurt. “We gave branded hats, T-shirts and rubber USB drives to attendees who stayed at the booth and showed a deep interest in the yogurt. Plus, we gave out thousands of samples throughout the show and people went wild.”
The booth also featured a media reel, where visitors could see the attention that Powerful Yogurt had earned in such a short amount of time, adding credibility to the brand. “We pitched proactively, but most happened organically as word of the product got around,” says Shoemaker. “Once it was picked up by one outlet, others caught on and soon we were getting mentions on Anderson Cooper, Conan O’Brien, CNN, Today Show, etc.”
The protein-packed product was awarded one of the top five most creative U.S. Hispanic ideas by Circulo Creativo, a nonprofit association that promotes creative excellence and communication between professionals working in the U.S. Latino market. And, although the idea caters to all cultures – it's just another sign of how integrated Hispanics have become in what marketing executives are calling the new mainstream. “Our goal is to target men who lead active lifestyles and are conscious about what they’re putting into their bodies, and we’ve had a tremendous response from a diverse group of consumers,” says Shoemaker.
Shoemaker credits much of the initial success to a strong online presence. “We had our website set up and it included a coupon, background info about the company, store finder app and high resolution images available to the media, plus we had Facebook and Twitter presence,” she says. “When people searched Powerful Yogurt and found all this, they knew it was legitimate. We’re now in 350 stores and counting.”