The Latest in Promotional Merchandise – Top 5 Picks from WAGE

After our change in ownership back in 2014, Bright Sparks applied for renewed permanent membership as the New Zealand representative in WAGE, the World Advertising Gift Exchange. WAGE is a global network of merchandisers and suppliers that drives ideation and social responsibility within the promotional merchandising industry. Through WAGE, we gain exclusive access to ethical offshore supply partners as well as collaborative opportunities with other members in the network. We call it our secret weapon!

Each year WAGE members meet at a 3-day forum to share ideas and discuss global trends in the industry. Following this year’s Hong Kong Trip, Bright Sparks has returned, triumphantly, as the official WAGE member for New Zealand. Not only did we find inspiration for our own work at the WAGE forum, it also brought to light some clever promotional merchandising ideas from WAGE members across the globe. Each member presented their best creative ideas based on versatility, originality, a quirky concept or the story behind the product.


Here are Ella’s top-5 picks from the presentations:

5) Collapsible Ice Bucket - Brand Name Marketing, South Africa

This product gives a new take on the standard “ice bucket” we see repeated each year during summer. It’s practical, light weight, low cost and provides huge scope in terms of design. The laminated card seals watertight to keep your beverages cold while allowing for full CMYK digital printing. No design is too complex or too difficult.

4) Homo Digital Evolution Set- Project 111, Russia

A clever play on early humans using a “rock and stick”, this Homo Digital evolution set is a take on evolution. This gift set celebrates the modern age when selfies have replaced rock paintings and we warm our hands from the glow of a smartphone. Prehistorically, a rock and stick were used to make fire but in today’s world the ‘stick’ is a selfie stick and the ‘rock’ is a power bank for 24/7 device charging. Striking the balance between humour and functionality, this set was an ideal gift for Project 111’s technology client.

3) Illuminated Apparel - Van Bavel Gifts & Premiums, Belgium

Like a hands-free glow stick, Illuminate Apparel turns party goer’s t-shirts into a glow-ink canvas, offering a memorable alternative to the standard promotional t-shirt. It’s interactive, low cost with low minimums and can be customised through colour or branding. Could there be a better product for University orientation events or music festivals?

2) Fidget Cube – High Peak OY, Finland

This is our pick for tech accessory! A 6-sided take on the desk-toy, the fidget cube is a purpose-built tool for your resident desk tapper, pen flicker or finger clicker. Fidget spinners are popular now, but the cube is here to stay. This is great for people with anxiety, behavioural issues or restless fingers as keeping their hands occupied can help them focus on a single task. There are even options for silent fidgeting and a smooth-surfaced side for relaxation.

1) Plush Toy - Dicke & Partners, Germany

When this plush toy for a local sports club came back from production, the team from Dicke & Partners thought it needed a bespoke touch. After some community-minded brainstorming, they asked women from a local retirement home to knit ‘Alex the Rhino’ some miniature scarfs and beanies. Working to a tight deadline, they still needed more help. They got in touch with the local maximum security prison, where inmates worked alongside the retirees to knit the finishing touches in their city’s colours of black and gold. As the promotional gift award winner, Alex the Rhino has become an unofficial mascot for the city of Dortmund and an ongoing tool for community engagement.

There were so many other great products from our fellow WAGE members, so keep an eye out for more top picks to come.