The Power of Awesome Custom Packaging

At a recent charity golf tournament in Massachusetts the participants that strode through the golden morning sunshine and onto the first tee were greeted with a surprise.  There was a table laden with gifts for each of them; a beautifully mysterious black box with the tournament’s sponsor logo – elegantly inlaid in a tone-on-tone treatment – housing a sleek, black and copper water bottle.  The receipt of a beautiful tournament memento, however, was not out of the ordinary.

What was novel was the fact that each participant did not simply strip the bottle from its wrappings and cast it aside, but stopped to dwell on the instructions on the back of the box.  Faces split into grins, phones came out, and seemingly respectable middle-aged men suddenly broke into cavorting groups of hollering pranksters, arms grappled around each other’s necks.

The writing on the box?

“Show us your foursome’s personality!  Take a picture of your group, post it to Facebook with our event hashtag, and await further instruction.  Use the picture to show us how unique you are!  Look out for us on the locations marked on this box – further surprises will await you there!”

The concept of reciprocity as a principle of persuasion (ie; the giving of a promotional product to build brand loyalty) is long established.  Very few marketing concepts can attest to as meaningful a continuous return-on-investment as a promotional piece that lives within someone’s daily routine and gets taken to the gym with them every morning.  When a brand is in a position to make an impression with every sunrise, you’d have to call that a win.

But what about grabbing the moment, too?  That fleeting, unexpected, thrilling feeling of discovery that comes upon us in a flash when we’re presented with a well-packaged gift, wrapped like a beautiful enigma for us to unravel…

That’s where great packaging can help.

In the case of the tournament above, it’s suddenly been turned from simple promotional giveaway into a full blown multi-channel marketing strategy, leveraging digital and influencer tactics and opening up the potential for the whole thing to go a little viral.

“The unboxing experience has become so meaningful; there are YouTube channels dedicated to it…”

Spark Capital partner Kevin Thau

Speaking of viral; what is it about the whole “unboxing” phenomenon that makes it so compelling?  Why do people tune in in droves to YouTube videos where someone is simply opening up packaging and revealing what’s within?  To be sure, it’s not because the viewer has no idea of what the product looks like ahead of time – that’s simply not a scenario supported by our hyper-informed digital society.  It’s not because the product’s features are uncovered by this process, or that the price-point is finally revealed.

It’s the sharing of a poignant moment, like the opening of a birthday present, or seeing “what’s behind door number 3!”  A little discovery, a little mystery, a little adventure – the value adds up quickly.

What about the value to the corporate store?  Messaging across packaging can be changed readily to reflect updated company values or incentives.  Or even the simple gift shop, who uses the packaging as a kind of catalog to promote other offerings, tours or even third party sponsoring.  The point is that packaging allows you to introduce another layer of messaging, to speak to the moment as well as a lifetime, and to extend the reach of the investment in novel and inventive ways.

We all love surprises and discovery, in the same way we love unwrapping birthday or holiday gifts to reveal the mystery reward that lies inside.  The crazy truth is that deep down we’re all just children.  Don’t believe it?  Just give a bunch of men a set of golf clubs, a phone, a simple challenge in the form of a game, and a golden late summer day in which to explore it all.

Go ahead and see what happens…


Who Is Savannah?

It’s not just a “bag”.

It’s with you day in and day out, from home to work to play and back home again.  It’s with you in the heat, in the rain, in the gloom and in the sunshine.  It’s your travel companion, your business partner, a fellow explorer, a personal Sherpa…

On a trip it waits patiently beside your bed, sits with you at breakfast and follows you obediently throughout the day.  It lives in your home, has its regular spot in your office and is your everyday commute-mate.  You spend as much time with your bag as you do with your immediate family.  Maybe even more so.

It doesn’t just hold your stuff, it protects it – shielding your personal effects from an invasive world.  And you rely on it unquestionably to hold to that promise of safety and security.

Your bag lives in your world, becoming one of the most personal items you own.  It’s not a relationship to be taken lightly.

That’s the spirit that lives within the Savannah line.

It’s reflected in the design and function of  each member of the family, with features that know your lifestyle.  Whether it’s thoughtful additions like integrated external USB power outlet to keep you powered on the go, or tough bungee webbing that allows you to fasten odd-sized equipment as you trek across the grasslands, Savannah is there for you.

And in application Savannah has a form to KN9452_Savannah_Backpack_Hiking_Imagesuit your needs; from a backpack, to a business brief, to a cinch bag to a cooler bag.  All luxuriously appointed in stylish heathered-gray materials, and thickly padded for maximum comfort and protection.  The Savannah line works singularly or in sets, expanding to your lifestyle as your needs require.

As for your brand or business, Savannah is engineered to make maximum impact.  Exquisite decorating options abound, letting you fit out your employees or most valued clients with a truly thoughtful gift.  This is branding at its finest, creating the kind of second-to-none impressions that inspire fidelity, loyalty and reciprocity.

So remember; it’s not just a “bag”, it’s an integral part of your life.  It’s a reflection of your personal adventure, and expression of who you are and the terms on which you live.  It’s the fundamental question we ask as we present this line to you; are you Savannah?

See the entire Savannah line here.

Health Alert – Wooden BBQ Grill Cleaners to the Rescue!


Surgeons are urging people to stop using wire-bristled barbecue brushes.

Why, you may ask? Well, although the answer is simple, it’s also a scary and eye-opening one.

Those sharp, wire bristles that are found on traditional BBQ brushes can actually fall off of your brush as you clean your grill. The result is that they may become stuck in your food, which can be ingested – sometimes without even being noticed. If swallowed, those wires can cause serious damage to the throat and other surrounding areas, potentially leading to fatal infections and a host of terrible complications.

The removal of these wires is not easy – just ask your surgeon! Many have said that it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. And to exacerbate the issue, these wires can become deeply embedded.

So what’s the recommendation?

Here’s where wooden BBQ grill cleaners come to the rescue! The BQ9535 BBQ GRILL CLEANER, made from rubber wood, or the BQ9446 PIT MASTER BBQ GRILL CLEANER, made from pine wood, provide the perfect solution.  And that solution is – no more wire bristles!!

How?  Here’s how they work.


“With medium pressure, work your scraper back and forth over the hot grill”

Before your initial use, heat your BBQ to max temperature. With medium pressure, work your scraper back and forth over the hot grill (similar to using a paint scraper).  The extreme heat and the scraping will literally burn grooves (or indents) into your wood scraper, making it completely custom fit to your favorite grill. Now, whenever you’re


done grilling your award-winning brisket, hamburgers, or whatever your specialty is, you can use your custom wooden brush to clean all of the remnants from your grill.  Voila – as clean as new – and no dangerous wire bristles to be found anywhere!

Is there a better way to show your brand cares than with a promotional product that actually helps to keep your clients (and their families) safe?   And just imagine the positive brand impressions you’ll garner with your logo smack in the center of their next family BBQ!

Now let’s spread the word and all do our part in keeping everyone safe this BBQ season!

Debco Dividends Insights

Turning Our Data Into Your Gains…

Up until 1900 it was observed that human knowledge doubled approximately every 100 years (“Knowledge Doubling Curve”, Buckminster Fuller).

By the end of World War 2 that number had accelerated to a doubling every 25 years.

Today, that number is estimated to be every 13 months. With Big Data, the rise of A.I., the Internet of Things and the so-called 4th Industrial Revolution, IBM predicts that in the near future this same phenomenon might happen as rapidly as every 12 hours.

If knowledge is wealth, then data is a currency by which it can be measured.  So it stands to reason that those companies who leverage data to gain business insights have a huge advantage over those who don’t (or believe they can’t).

That’s where Debco Dividends Insights comes in.


We take our 35+ years of promotional product data (representing over 10 million lines of historic sales data) and run it through our gauntlet of analytical processes. For instance, we seek to understand the spending habits, end-user customer lifetime value and industry-spend predilections (ie; preference in types of corporate gifts and promotional items).  Our algorithmic modelling helps to best predict the features, options, products and categories that will best meet your client’s needs.  And then there are all the techniques we use to hone in on the types of marketing positioning we need to provide you with to help your client understand why your product suggestion is the perfect solution for their promotional needs (ie; fit for their particular marketing mix or marketing strategy).

In Debco Dividends Insights, we present this data in a clear, intuitive and instantly monetizable manner – specially tailored to your needs, based on feedback you’ve given us.


What do you need to do?  If you’re one of our promotional product distributor-partners, simply look out for our Debco Dividends Insights e-mails, sent directly to your inbox (if not, please sign-up for our emails below).  These feature winning promotional products, in winning categories and industries, measured against your company’s sales and specific opportunities.

So take a page from the playbook of the top five data-centric organizations on the planet – Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft.  Let us boil it down for you to the most straight-forward, actionable level, leveraging the sales wins hidden in 10 million+ lines of data.  Do your own “doubling”-down, simply by adding Debco Dividends Insights to your already successful business practices.

Available NOW, and FREE for promotional product distributor-partners just like you.


#MyBag, #MyAdventure

Car finally started. Forgot bag – front door. Kids arguing. Forgot goggles. You serious? Back in house. Back in car. Every traffic light red... Come on! NOW you have to pee? Why aren’t you wearing your swimsuit under your clothes? Phew – it’s in bag. Two minutes late to pool deck. Where is everyone? OMG – it’s Saturday… swim lessons are on Sunday!

In every story is an adventure…

CoverYour adventure may be more serene but the similarity between yours and mine is that we both seek quality. Quality relationships, quality time, a life of quality.

Another adventure begins in this book. You’ll see yourself, you’ll see your friends, co-workers, employees, and family. You might stop for a second to realize that despite our different adventures, we’re tied together by the quality of our decisions, our visions, and our attitudes.

This is your adventure,

This is your bag…

See the US version See the Canadian version

A Health and Wellness FREEsource – The Stairs!

Girl prepairing for workout

One flight at a time – The stars are a FREEsource you can use to help stay healthy!

The common flight of stairs – how we revile them!  Those instruments of torture, those perpendicular persecutors of pain.  We know all too well of their propensity for making heavy breathers of us, of their causal link to those unsightly sweat stains on the chest, back and armpits of your button-down shirt.  What shivers of horrors overtake us when we see one positioned ominously next to an elevator with an “out of service” sign tacked sardonically onto it.


Brand it and they will come! The bestselling, budget-conscious WB7381 TRITAN 750 ML. (25 OZ.) WATER BOTTLE

But we on the Wellth team see the much maligned set of stairs in a wholly different light.

To us the stairs can represent the ground floor of a health and wellness program, and one that’s free in the making (what we love to call a FREEsource).  After all, stairs are everywhere – so it’s almost certain there is a flight or two in your office or building.  When you scribe FREE into cost column of your health and wellness budget ledger they suddenly begin to take on a far less foreboding demeanor, even more so when positioning them against the price tag of a new elliptical machine.  You might even find that your “staircase challenge” program actually saves your company some money, what with the fewer elevator cycles and all.  And recent research (Brief Intense Stair Climbing Improves Cardiorespiratory Fitness – the American College of Sports Medicine) has shown that short, challenging bouts of exercise can be just as beneficial as longer, more paced-out activities.

Stair climbing can also be ramped up using the FIT principle, a common method for measuring the effectiveness of a training regime.  FIT stands for Frequency, Intensity, and Times, and can be used to prescribe steps needed to make the most of the exercise activity.


Too many echoes in the stairwell? Try the CU8978 DYNAMIC HEADPHONES; they pack huge BANG for the buck!


As general fitness improves you can increase the number of times a week the stairs are taken (frequency), how quickly the participant goes up them (intensity), and how many flights of stairs are done in one session (times).  So it can start as easily as a dozen or so steps and progress in difficulty almost infinitely.


Just make sure you take the opportunity as a company to get involved.  The cost-savings of an active health and wellness program to a company are well-documented, but the general spirit-de-corps cannot be properly leveraged unless the employees equate it back to the organization.  Remember to give it a name, circulate it around the office, reward or incentivize the activity with small gifts or remindersBrand it and they will come!


Ramping it up?! For more competitive challenges consider purchasing something like the YM9095 KRIENES COOLING TOWEL – it really works wonders!

So fear not the stairs, they may be one of the most powerful, engaging and effective health and wellness assets your company has at its disposal.

__________________________________to boot!
__________________________and free
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One that’s


Visit for more insights, case studies and promotional products!

Sunglasses or Snowglasses?

Donning a good pair of sunglasses is truly a summer rite of passage.  The shades go on, the car windows go down, and the music on the stereo goes way, way up.  The cicadas buzz their approval and the birds whistle at you as you pass by – it’s a good time to be alive.

For a promotional product it’s a great time to be a pair of sunglasses.  People just love reaching for you – you’re a marker of a great day of sunshine ahead.  You’re a part of making people feel happy, prepared and, if your designers got it right, a little cool and stylish too.  Better yet, the logo that paid it for is sitting in a very favorable place; right at eye level, behind that big beautiful smile.  You can’t ask for a better branding impression than that!  Then consider the number of people the average person interacts with during a day, multiply that by the lifetime of the glasses and you soon get a pretty impressive number – especially when you consider the relatively low purchase price of the product.

It’s no wonder sunglasses are one of the promotional product industry’s all-time bestselling summer products.

However, there is a counter-seasonal trend – backed up by some compelling evidence – often overlooked in the industry that makes an even better case for sunglasses in the winter.


Do have a wintry outdoor activity you think a sunglasses giveaway would be perfect for? Post it in the comments below and we’ll send you a free set-up and a special discount coupon for it!

The light that comes from the sun illuminates our world in a dazzling way.  It streaks across the 93 million miles between the sun and the earth in a mere 8 ½ minutes, plummeting through the ozone layer into our atmosphere.  It then ricochets off the uneven surface of the earth in a mad series of random angles all around us.  The light that hits our eyes comes then not just from above, but from all around us.  Consider that the “reflected” light is of enough power that, on a cloudless night with the moon above, it’s merely the reflected sun light off the face of the moon that provides all of the natural ambient light we see.

In the summer only about 6% of the power of that light is reflected back at us, absorbed by the darker greens and brown of the season’s palette.  But off of snow that percentage jumps up to a staggering 90% – with nearly double the amount of UV rays hitting our eyes than in the summer.  This neatly explains phenomena of snow blindness (aka photokeratitis) and the dangers associated with it.

Like your skin, your eye’s retinas can be damaged by the sun.  The higher the UV count and the longer the exposure, the greater the potential danger becomes.  Skiers often spend hours on the slopes, and even longer if the skies are clear and sunny. Worse than that, the higher the elevation of the ski run – the higher the UV rays (UV radiation increases 10 percent for every 1,000 feet you go above sea level).

But it’s not just skiers that face the danger.  Any kind of outdoor activity in a snowy landscape poses the same risks.  Even driving in conditions with snow on the surfaces around you increases the UV levels exponentially.

Sunglasses are an easy and effective way to reduce this risk – you might even begin to think of them like sunscreen for the retina.  Different glasses have UV ratings (380 or better is advisable for winter), but even the colour of the lens can make a big difference; yellow, green and blue lenses are not recommended for winter – go for brown, grey or mirrored instead.  The larger the lens coverage is the better, too.

So take heed next time you step into Old Man Winter’s dazzling daytime light show, and remember those around you too.  If you’ve ever planned a company ski trip, or other snowy outdoor event, it’s likely the idea of sun damage never even entered into your thinking.  Never fear though, the answer is neither complicated nor expensive – just consider it the new winter rite of passage.

An Instant Wireless/Bluetooth Upgrade from a Promotional Product? You Bet!

What if we told you that you could easily make your favourite old stereo system wireless?  Or upgrade your car to Bluetooth compatibility in under a minute?  How about if we told you that your studio-quality wired headphones – the ones that cost you over $300! – could be made wireless for well under $15?

The proliferation of streaming wireless and Bluetooth devices in the market place has certainly had a negative effect on the speaker options of today.  With our entire music libraries suddenly floating up into the cloud, people are being forced into buying expensive new Bluetooth enabled speaker systems that are generally inferior to the sound quality of the stereo system that you lavished so much attention upon only a few years ago.

If you have a car that’s more than a few years old chances are better than 50% that it didn’t come with Bluetooth, either.  Conveniently, that’s right around the time most new “hands-free calling” by-laws came into effect.  Options to upgrade your car can be expensive, to say the least, particularly if you want to stream your library of music from your smart phone through your speakers.

And the most contentious feature on the new iPhone 7?  No headphone jack.

Sucks to be wired these days, doesn’t it?

Solving this is the CU9253 Knightsbridge Wireless Audio Receiver’s raison d’etre.

CU9253_Knightsbridge_Wireless_Audio_ReceiverIt’s the promotional product that puts your branding square in the center of the solution to a modern day dilemma.  Your logo sits prominently on the front of the device, serving a branding impression each and every time the music gets going.  Now that’s a positive brand association with a penchant for partying!


Use your Aux port and a simple RCA-to-1/8″ cable to connect the CU9253 Knightsbridge to an audio system

The CU9253 Knightsbridge links effortlessly with Bluetooth and wireless enabled audio devices, and connects them to your wired favs of old by way of a 1/8” stereo audio input.  Better yet, it includes a built-in microphone that completes the two-way functionality needed to take phone calls.  Your music automatically mutes when a phone call comes in, and resumes when you’re finished.  Perfect for the car!

Same goes for the gym; no need to run with your smartphone in your pocket bouncing violently off you thigh with every stride.  The Knightsbridge is lightweight and comes with a built-in clip, attaching easily to any corner of clothing.

So it’s perfect for the home, the car, the iPhone 7 user or the gym.  Anything else?  You bet!

  • Workers on ladders, or in tight spaces, where a phone could be dropped and lost or destroyed
  • Cleaning services, where a phone could slip out of a pocket into water
  • Yoga sessions; yoga pants generally don’t have pockets
  • Working or playing outdoors, where keeping your phone in a backpack protects it from harm

What else can the CU9253 Knightsbridge Wireless Audio Receiver be used for?  It’s one of those fantastic promotional products that’s not niche for one market alone.  We’ll bet you can come up with a bunch of your own ideas.  In fact, if you have a great idea and post it in the comments section below or on our Facebook page with hashtag #knightsbridge, we may just send one along to you for FREE*! How’s that for a no-wires-attached offer?

*(While quantities last)

#2017Trend : Getting Sweaty!

thinkstockphotos-200354570-001It began in earnest in 2016 with a whole lot of sweat and groaning in our offices.

Step challenges, planking, yoga breaks, squat competitions, hydration goals – you name it, or staff was into it!  Throbbing bursts of electro-pulse workout music could be heard going off at regular intervals all over the place.  It wasn’t uncommon to be rushing through the office only to just avoid stepping on a body.  At any time you could walk into whole rooms with people strewn about on the floor, grinning sheepishly in the throes of various exercise positions.

And with it our diets changed, too.  Out went the breakfast muffins, and with it the muffin-tops.  Soups and salads replaced burgers and fries, while water, black coffee and green tea replaced sugary fizzle drinks and frozen cappuccinos.  It’s not to say we didn’t treat ourselves anymore – just not every single day.  We began to feel better… in slow increments, to be sure, but noticeably so nevertheless.


It was an organic movement – that is to say, Debco management did not mandate any of this, it simply happened all by itself.  It was – and is – a reflection of a society-wide movement towards health and wellness in the office, born from the needs and desires of the tens of millions of desk-bound office workers who felt chained down by a culture of sedentary behavior.

So it was no surprise to us that, upon reviewing our analytics, a number of our products related to health and wellness were trending significantly upwards.  Water bottles, coffee and tea mugs, yoga mats, exercise bands, backpacks, golf accessories, shaker bottles, running accessories, pedometers, fruit infusers – all health and wellness staples, and all yoga-matseeing serious gains with health and wellness programs.  And there were new products joining the scene too, with a number of fitness programs ordering gym-friendly items like smartphone wallets and headphones.  Yoga studios and massage therapy clinics were finding fabulous new successes with wireless and Bluetooth speakers.  There was even a spike in cotton tote bag demand for organic health food stores.


CU9135 Action Capturer; an Instagram moment-capturing champion!!

It was also no surprise for us when a number of Trendhunter’s Top 20 Trends for 2017 included (either directly or as a prominent component) health and wellness themes.  Trends like Instagrammable Fitness, Suspended Adulthood, Quantified Self-Care, Extreme Wellness and Detoxifying Libation all embrace the physical, mental and spiritual health and wellness milieu.  (We urge you to read this fascinating report at the Trendhunter website)

wb9027So take a big breath, and pause for a moment as you stand on the precipice of the year 2017.  Yes, life continues its exponential increase in pace and complexity – but stop for a moment to consider Newton’s Third Law; for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  As technology expands into our lives with Moore’s-law-esque inexorability, take solace that the human spirit seems to be responding in turn.  People are taking more and more time to consider their health and mental well-being, and you should, too.  You may sweat and groan a little because of it, but that devilish grin on your face will ultimately tell the real story.

Can a Promo Product Save a Life?

The construction industry continues its trend of being one of the hottest new growth areas in promotional products today.  It’s a unique industry, with a laundry list of issues that run the gamut from simple dehydration, to multi-billion dollar technological gaffes, to high instances of workplace injuries and fatalities.  What better place can there be for a promotional product to transcend the state of being a simple branding canvas, to being part of the solution for issues as large as life and death?


Health and Wellness – Hydration 

Construction jobsites represent some of the most challenging working conditions on the planet.  They can just as easily be blisteringly hot and humid, as they can be bone-shatteringly cold.  The human body is in a constant struggle to maintain a balance and sustain a critical core temperature.  Water makes up 60% of the entire body mass, so the connection between proper hydration could not be clearer.  It can sweat only so much in an effort to evaporate excess heat away, before the reserves run dry.  Fatigue, muscle cramps, nausea and confusion soon set in, often with consequences far beyond loss of productivity due to illness.  The HRI (Heat Related Illnesses) spectrum ranges from heat rash to heat stroke and even death.

How much hydration is enough to stave off HRI?  A general guideline for water intake is 40oz (1100ml) of water per active hour of work or exercise, for an average sized adult.  It’s also suggested that – for effective hydration to take place – that consumption be distributed over a period of time, such as every fifteen or twenty minutes or so, from a container kept close at hand.

In the extreme cold, hypothermia rears its ugly head.  It can happen any time the body is losing heat faster than it can generate it, a situation all too common in exposed worksites in the depth of winter.  Below 95F (35C) the body’s organs can no longer function normally.  Shivering, dizziness, nausea, rapid breathing, confusion and trouble speaking are all signs of hypothermia, along with a dangerously quickened pulse.  Left long enough more serious consequences soon manifest, with the loss of feeling and utility of the extremities and, ultimately an ensuing state of unconsciousness.  The intake of hot foods and drink – particularly those high in calories, like hot chocolate or strong broth – can help the body recover in two ways.  Firstly and most immediately; the body can absorb the heat from them.  Secondly, the energy replenishment and digestion will help the body fight its temperature back up again – particularly quickly in the case of hot sugary liquids.

Construction Technology – Support and Care

The construction industry has been one of the slowest to respond to the new wave of technology that surrounds it in every other facet of life, but there is a sudden trend to change that.  Working off of paper blueprints and verbal instruction is quickly becoming a thing of the past.  Digital schematics with precision GPS and cloud-based deficiency-list resolution software, delivered across mobile platforms that can be carried by every member of the team, are rapidly replacing them.

A single misplaced beam or support column can cost a construction project untold millions in time, resolution and productivity costs.  Simple smartphone apps – powered by GPS – are helping avoid this issue, with battery power being the only barrier between success and failure.  Microsoft is even experimenting with a new technology called HoloLens on the jobsite, bringing virtual reality into the fold.

Other innovators are bringing smart-tech solutions, too.  Kitchener, Ontario’s Bridgit is bringing deficiency list (aka; punch list) resolution into the mobile spectrum with their Closeout software.  It allows team members – often spread across various subcontractors – a common platform with which to communicate issues, assign work and record resolutions, in real-time and with automated follow-ups.

Bringing Safety into the Spotlight – High Visibility

The construction industry is no stranger to dangerous conditions.  6.5 million employees work hundreds of thousands of worksites across North America, and face more hazards than any other industry – with the possible exception of oil and gas workers.  In addition, worksites can be one of the hardest places to police, with regards to safety compliance.

A recent industry inspection of random worksites in the Saskatchewan area found that only around 50% of its workers were complying with common injury-prevention procedures, showing an industry rife with lapses in workplace safety.  Many these workers are tucked into various corners of the worksite, often in the dim recesses and difficult for foremen to spot.  They are particularly susceptible to crushing injury from the assorted large machinery in motion about the site.

For many of these issues the addition of simple high-visibility items offers simple, cost-effective solutions, particularly in tandem with other safety equipment and procedures.  Reflective vests and flashing LED bands are particularly useful here.

Hot growth area or not, the construction industry reveals opportunities for the right kind of promotional product to shine.  They can certainly be used to grow brand awareness, as they have been proven to do all over the world for the past 100+ years.  But the potential is even greater than that, whether it’s helping to support the technology that averts multi-million dollar mistakes, keeping the construction staff healthy and hydrated, or just maybe, helping to save a life.

Check out some more of our high visibility promotional products in our Marketing Minute on improving your visibility. Click below.


Make an Impression they can “Feel”

Blind woman with a guide dogPersonal connections are at the heart of what makes promotional products so incredibly effective.

The products live in the home, get used as part of a daily routine, and – in the best of cases – become a personal treasure with a value far exceeding their sticker price. This affords a brand the opportunity for their message to be seen year after year. But what about those who can’t see the message, like the visually impaired, for instance? We were recently made aware of some brilliant creative thinking by one of our distributor-partners that solved that very issue.

It came to us from Cheryl Thomas at Frogbelly Printing & Promotions, whose 23 year old daughter, Amber, has been blind since she was 10. Cheryl and her family have worked with BC & Alberta Guide Dogs to find Amber both of her guide dogs; Bear, and Tommy (now retired and living happily with them on their farm.) On a recent visit to the BC & Alberta Guide Dogs office in Vancouver, Amber (now attending school in Nanaimo) was asked by the CEO if her mother knew of a way to get mugs with braille on them for their company’s 20th anniversary. Amber brought the question to her mother, who in turn brought the solution to us.


Debco’s Impress Print decorating technique shown on CM7414 Wave ‘C’ Handle Mug

Cheryl decided to use our proprietary Impress Print decorating method, to create a textured imprint on the desired drinkware piece. The ink is printed with a raised, granulated surface making it possible to literally feel the imprint. Impress Print not only feels good, but it looks good too. The textured ink contains an element that makes it sparkle in the light. The total effect was immediately embraced by the BC & Alberta Guide Dogs office, impressed that their users could truly feel their 20th anniversary message. In her enthusiasm Cheryl explains, “Since this organization helps out so many blind and autistic people, I really wanted to see this work. The dogs are invaluable to their handlers and I think this is so awesome.”  We thought it was pretty awesome, too. It’s not every day you are allowed to play a part in helping such a worthy cause, and in such a novel way.


Impress Print used to add braille to a promotional mug

So thank you to BC & Alberta Guide Dogs for all that you do as an organization, and thank you to Cheryl, whose incredible ingenuity helped us realize an exciting and worthy new use for our Impress Print decorating process.  Making a positive “impression” on people’s lives with special needs – what better use for a promotional product could there possibly be?





Braille translation

Drinkware – By The Numbers


Featured products (L to R): WB8877, WB9030, WB8999, WB9027

Surveys show that 50% or more of employers offer some type of health and wellness program. Among large employers, 60-80% do so. Nike, HBO, Forbes, Google, MTV and IBM all support workplace yoga programs. Why? A Conference Board study has shown that for every $1 invested in workplace health and wellness an organization can expect to return $3 in cost savings, when measured in worker productivity and reduced absenteeism due to illness.  Drinkware pieces are the perfect vehicle to promote your workplace health and wellness program, because of their large, top-of-mind branding areas, and their high tendency for daily use.  They also make real sense within the scope of the program; after all, hydration is key in any wellness program.


(L to R): WB8907, WB8902, WB9107, WB9054

There are over 2,700 universities and colleges in North America with over 22.3 million students enrolled at those institutions. When you add high schools, grade schools, and sporting leagues to the equation, the numbers are staggering. Oh – and don’t forget that each of those schools and sport teams has a fan base.  Those fan bases generally extend far beyond the field, the campus – and often – the state or region.  The perfect drinkware piece means they’ll be showing their team colors every day.


Your bank teller has an acrylic tumbler at the terminal he sits at 5 days a week. Your insurance agent drinks an average of 3 cups of coffee a day from her favorite mug. The CEO of a brokerage house drives to work an average of 260 days a year with her trusted coffee tumbler. Whether it’s used in the home, in transit, or at the office, the simple fact is that promotional drinkware has the ability to advertise your brand in multiple settings, at all times and phases of the day.


(L to R): DA9017, CM9058, CM9057

Private associations and clubs march to the beat of their own drum. They are careful about their image and have a clear idea of their mission. Using promotional drinkware in this sector provides a fantastic way to promote a vision, recruit like-minded individuals, and raise critical mission awareness. North Americans throw away an astonishing average of over 25 billion paper cups every single year. For every four paper cups manufactured there is the equivalent of 1 pound of CO2 emissions. To create a single paper cup it takes 43 grams of wood, 4.1 grams of petroleum and 1.8 grams of chemicals. A person saving a single paper cup a day for 40 years will save 24 trees. Multiply that by the number of members in your association, and the numbers become staggering. Eliminate every paper cup for all members and your organization begins to change the world.

The effectiveness of drinkware as a branding vehicle across multiple industries is well documented.  What is far less understood are the types of drinkware that resonate most effectively within each industry.  That’s where we’ve stepped in.

We’ve used our 30+ years of industry data to compile a handy drinkware solutions guide.  We’ve studied the types, the shapes, the materials and the designs that sell most frequently in half a dozen key industries.  These are trends – solidly researched and quantified by millions of lines of actual sales data throughout North America – and not absolutes. But they provide an excellent starting point for your search to find the perfect drinkware solution for your next campaign.


Want to find the right way to identify with your target audience?  Why not stack the weight of numbers on your side?

That’s MY Mug

The connection I have with my coffee mug is special. I wake up every morning and fill it with my morning java fix, and then enjoy the few minutes of the morning I have all to myself. Sip and think, think and sip, mornings are my time for me. People who know me refuse to talk to me until they see that bright blue mug in my hand. They know that before my morning coffee… I can be a little bit cranky.

Now, I don’t just use any mug, I use MY mug. It holds the perfect amount of coffee from my Keurig coffee maker, it doesn’t get so hot I can’t touch it, and the handle doesn’t squish my fingers while I indulge in my perfect, breakfast blend, hot Cup-A-Joe. Oh, and it’s also a billboard for my favourite baseball team.

So think about drinkware when it comes to advertising. You use it at home, you use it in transit, and you use it in the office. Drinkware is one of the few advertising vehicles that is used in equal parts in these three domains, making it a powerful promotional solution; however, there’s also power in the personal nature of the product.

Chances are good that you too own a favourite mug, or maybe it’s a travel mug or a water bottle. It’s yours, it’s part of your morning routine. It’s something you won’t leave the house without. You have developed a personal connection with that mug. You love the colour, you love the way the handle fits perfectly in your hand. You adore the way your travel mug slides effortlessly into your cup holder or, you may love how easy it is to wash. Whatever the case, you know that mug, inside and out.

Specialty coffee shops and big box retailers have catapulted drinkware into popular culture consciousness. Is there a coffee shop in the world that doesn’t also sell drinkware? Even bookstores sell drinkware these days, often at shockingly high price points. The consumer demand for drinkware has never been higher.

That’s why we at Debco have been keeping our ear to the ground.

We have all the trending drinkware styles, manufactured using the latest technology. We have developed proprietary, top-rack dishwasher-friendly decorating techniques to make sure your brand looks brilliant on them. We pride ourselves on our industry leading inventory levels and rapid delivery options. We have even designed new, funky retail packaging.

We invite you take a look at a few of our selections, while making sure to check out the full array of drinkware on our website,

Bottoms up!


Announcing the release of our “We Are Drinkware” publication! Flip through to discover the hottest drinkware trends! Explore new items and best sellers to find the promotional drinkware that’s right for you!  See it here! => Canada or United States

You can also check out our Pinterest page and our We Are Drinkware pin board to get tons of cool drink and shake recipes, DIY drinkware projects, new Debco drinkware and so much more!



It would be hard to call yoga a current trend. After all, it’s been around since the 5th century, BC. One of the key surviving major texts, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, is from the first half of the 1st millennium CE. Hatha Yoga, likely today’s most popular and practiced form, can trace its roots back to 11th century texts. Carl Jung, the notable Swiss psychiatrist (1875 – 1961), was one of the first Westerners to study yoga in depth, and his comments on developing higher consciousness in the East helped introduce the concept to the West. The 1980’s saw an explosion of interest in the subject, and has since grown in popularity to become a 6 billion dollar industry in the U.S. alone. It now includes over 100 different schools, encompassing such varying abstractions as Pet Yoga (Doga), Hot



Yoga, Power Yoga and even, for the especially adventurous, a form of Nude Yoga.

The trend that is emerging, however, is one of Corporate Yoga.



Increasingly, major corporations are looking to this ancient practice to promote workplace health and wellness. There is evidence to suggest that yoga, when practiced at work, relieves physical, emotional and mental tension, and employees experience an increase in their ability to cope with stressful situations, have greater energy and focus, and show a marked boost in enthusiasm for their work. Companies such as Nike, HBO, Forbes, Google, MTV and IBM all support yoga programs, in one form or another. Some even sponsor exclusive yoga-retreats to introduce their employees to the idea.

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88627Ash City – North End Sport Red Men’s Lifestyle Pants

The Conference Board of Canada have made the assertion that for every $1 invested in workplace wellness programs, an organization can expect $3 in cost savings or benefits. A worthy investment, by any standards.

Beyond the obvious health benefits of improved flexibility, strength and posture, there are many studies to indicate more far-reaching, systemic health advantages. It’s been shown many times to help reduce blood pressure. Yoga has been linked to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels (the main form of fat in the body). As a treatment for stress and anxiety it has been used for many years.

But research also suggests that yoga can improve social and occupational functioning in patients with schizophrenia. Other studies expound its therapeutic values on such conditions as asthma, diabetes and fibromyalgia. And there is a growing body of anecdotal evidence for its overall improvement on the amorous arts, passionately promoted by a fervent and conspicuous cohort of love gurus.

Whatever the allure – spiritual, corporeal or metaphysical – there is no denying yoga fosters a devoted following. And now that the corporate world has jumped on the bandwagon, the movement has developed some serious capital wherewithal. Brands that want to position themselves as global leaders are eager to associate themselves with yoga, within the ever-increasing significance of their workplace wellness programs. They’re willing to spend the

W2022 Alo Sport for Team 365 Ladies’ Sports Bra

time and pour in the resources, and that makes it big business.

And that’s a trend that never fades away.





Read WELLTH Magazine here!

Read WELLTH Magazine here!

This article first appeared in WELLTH Magazine, a publication produced in partnership by Debco and alphabroder.  To see the entire publication please click on the cover thumbnail. Please note; although many of these products are available in both Canada and the US, all references here are to Canadian products and pricing.  See or for full details.


Business Gets Fit!

Business Gets Fit

There was something different about the hotel that I checked into on a recent visit to Atlanta, Georgia. From the lush green landscaping to the soothing use of water fountains, a feeling of calm pervaded the porte-cochère. I exited the rental car and was greeted by what must have been the smell of eucalyptus; therapeutic to say the least. A doorman offered me a glass of lemon water and I walked to the check-in desk, feeling relaxed and de-stressed after a hectic day of travel.


The WB6434 Fitness Fanatic – shake your way to a better state of mind

Hotels, like many other businesses are quickly realizing the invigorating effects of health and wellness on their patrons – and their staff. On the bathroom counter of my hotel room were plenty of essential oils and Epsom salts, perfect for muscle relaxation and for soothing my aching limbs. There was even a lavender spray bottle with a card that prompted me to spray my pillow for a more restful sleep.

Hotels are also realizing the shift in thinking when it comes to health and wellness. Wellth over wealth is the pervading mindset these days. Some innovative hotels are lending guests a choice of running shoes, shorts, shirts, capri pants, and jogging bras for women. Forging brilliant partnerships with leading apparel companies is an innovative way to build business and promote a healthy lifestyle. And how about the hotel chain that employs “run concierges” that lead interested patrons on runs throughout the city? This well-documented program is part of a broader initiative called “The Elements of Well Being,” which aims to capitalize on the movement.




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When your core values espouse the tenets of well-being, these types of campaigns become a perfect reflection of an altruistic brand. Hotels aren’t the only types of businesses that are incorporating the health and wellness movement into their offerings. Consider YYZ – Canada’s busiest airport. At Pearson International Airport, a new 10,000 sq. ft. gym has been built so that travel fatigued passengers can reinvigorate themselves by using one of the many cardio stations or weight training areas. To woo more customers, the gym charges a nominal price for a 1-day pass that includes luggage storage, towel service, and toiletries. And they also offer the rental of gym shoes and attire at a reasonable price.

M5004 Alo Sport for Team 365 Men's Mesh Pant with Pockets

M5004 Alo Sport for Team 365 Men’s Mesh Pant with Pockets


SB8885 GOLDEN GATE STRETCH BAND – for a quick health break refresh

But Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, takes it to the next level. New sleeping pods have recently been added to the airport, allowing transiting passengers the option to catch a few hours of uninterrupted sleep in a cozy and high-tech pod, that’s been architecturally designed for relaxation and comfort. There are many conclusions to be drawn from these examples of health and wellness in the business world. First, as much as we’d like to believe that businesses are indeed altruistic, the fact is that they are all accountable to shareholders and stakeholders. Correlations between health and wealth have long been documented. It stands to reason that a healthy clientele is a wealthy clientele. And empirical evidence will also demonstrate that a healthy workforce equals less absenteeism, a more energetic staff, less turnover, and increased productivity over a less healthy workforce. Google is a

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88696 Ash City – North End Sport Red Men’s Immerge Insulated Hybrid Jacket with Heat Reflect Technology

company that consistently ranks as one of the best companies in the world to work for, according to Fortune Magazine. At Google, they believe that providing an onsite gym, massage therapy, an onsite doctor, as well as a fitness trainer, will lead to a happier and more productive workforce. In fact, in their East Coast headquarters, there isn’t an office in the building that’s located less than 150ft. from food. To encourage healthy food choices, sodas are somewhat hidden behind translucent glass, while water and juice are immediately visible. The same theory applies to healthy snack choices that are put in clear glass jars, as opposed to less healthier options that are found in opaque jars with more conspicuous nutritional labels.


B4976 BLANKET/CARRY BAG – create a health break anywhere

77047 Ash City - North End Ladies' Excursion Concourse Performance Shirt

77047 Ash City – North End Ladies’ Excursion Concourse Performance Shirt

But these days, it’s not only white collar executives that are provided the perks of a gym membership or the advantage of massage therapy being added to their medical plans. There is a new trend developing called “blue collar wellness,” whereby companies are seeing the logic of promoting and encouraging the well-being of their “blue collar” staff. Volkswagen recently implemented a program aimed to nurture “industrial athletes,” with the idea that healthier and fitter employees will perform at a higher level of excellence. On the clock workouts are becoming the norm, and Volkswagen even has an onsite gym, in which workers’ families are encouraged to use.

Well placed promotional products and promotional apparel provide a terrific way to hasten the rate of adoption in company-driven health and wellness programs. Providing branded pedometers amongst staff and encouraging daily, weekly, and monthly contests for the most steps taken during the business day can be a great way to spark team-building within and across multiple departments. Branded apparel or name brand apparel prizes often provide the motivation to change behaviour and ultimately belief. Many companies are also realizing the team-building benefits of engaging their staff in corporate team activities such as baseball, volleyball, or run club, to name a few examples. The use of branded water bottles to promote hydration and well-being are not only a win-win for the staff and the company, but provide months of incremental advertising through the high visibility of a well-positioned branded message. When you add the benefits of

corporate team apparel that can be added to the mix, it’s a recipe for healthy, happy, and highly visible staff, who are more likely to have higher levels of employee satisfaction and productivity. Look around – the sheer number of companies adding health & wellness to their corporate culture is staggering. These progressive companies are realizing that one of the keys to building a stronger company lies in the well-being of its staff and its patrons. Health = wellth!

Read WELLTH Magazine here!

This article first appeared in WELLTH Magazine, a publication produced in partnership by Debco and alphabroder.  

UL Certification – A Powerful Assurance

SafetyFirstThe world has changed. The pace is relentless. Innovation is a constant. New concepts no longer trickle across our transoms in ripples measured by years, but in a deluge that comes by the day, the hour, and the minute. Attitudes change, too. Business practices evolve. Success is no longer gauged by profit alone, but by the carefully managed, total customer experience. Price is the definitive factor less with each passing day, for without a reasonable assurance of safety, all costs become too high.



The promotional product world is changing, too. With the flood of exciting new technology products comes a trickle of issues. And if keeping on top of all the added benefits didn’t seem too much, what about avoiding any of the potential pitfalls? Wouldn’t it be nice to just take the good, and not have to worry about the bad? That’s where UL Certification comes in. It’s an old school solution to any new world disorder. Very old school, in fact: UL (Underwriters Laboratories) has been around since 1894. It maintains offices in 46 countries, and has participated in the safety analysis of the new technology of the past 100+ years. That’s the kind of history we at Debco can get behind. How it works:



To establish certification, samples of a product submitted by manufacturers for certification are tested and evaluated. If UL decides the product fulfills all applicable requirements it authorizes the manufacturer to apply a certification mark to production of the samples submitted, or issues a certificate or notification that the product is now certified by UL. A report of the evaluation is provided to the manufacturer. Before the manufacturer releases products with a certification mark, UL must initiate a Follow-up Service in which periodic audits of products at the factory are completed by UL Field Representatives. These audits are described in a Follow-Up Service Procedure that is created as part of the initial evaluation of the product. For some products, factory samples are selected for retesting at UL. Certification continues until the manufacturer requests termination or fails to fulfill a requirement. UL must evaluate modifications to certified products before the modified product is authorized to bear the Mark or be considered certified. (source: What it means:



Debco’s new UL certified power banks are first tested at the factory for the safe functionality of all of their electronic components. That includes rigorous analysis of both the battery and the circuitry, to meet or exceed UL’s exacting standards. It also means that those tests are regularly repeated – at random, unannounced intervals – so that the quality of the product can be assured at all times. No changes to the product can be made without a full re-certification; period. What it means to you:



It means with Debco’s new UL Certified Power Banks, you can sell more than just a great product solution – you can sell peace of mind. And that peace of mind extends to our Samsung battery powered Power Banks, too; those batteries independently UL certified by Samsung. What about our other models? How safe are they? Every Debco 2200 and 2600 mAh Power Bank comes with a Grade-A battery, which is also UL approved. If price point is your primary concern we can accommodate you, with a level of assurance not far behind our premium models. So there you have it. Everything you need to know about power bank safety, wrapped-up with a neat, third-party-approved bow. Enough to know that you can always find your solution with Debco, without compromising your peace of mind.

Debco Named PPPC Gold Supplier of the Year


Wow. What a thrill.

You can read it on the face of every single member of the Debco team in this picture. Why? Because we had just received the coveted PPPC Gold Supplier of the Year Award, as voted by you, our friends and distributor-partners in the promotional products industry. Because we had worked so hard to tune ourselves into that partnership – bending our entire organization to the task – and to make sure we were listening, developing and actioning everything we possibly could to nurture and honour that partnership. Every decision, new product, new service and offering had that idea at its heart, taken from direct feedback from you. It’s everything to us – our raison d’être, our mission, our passion.

We take the Gold Supplier of the Year Award as a testament to the fact that we’ve been listening to you and developing and actioning appropriately. It’s a nod from you that our products and services have fallen in line with your needs and desires, and that we’re meeting your expectations as a partner.

We couldn’t be more proud. And we couldn’t be more grateful to you for voting for us.

From the bottom of our hearts – thank you.

ImageAward_2014_Supplier_Of_the_Year_GOLD_MedNow we begin the New Year with all the more vigour and passion, with a clearer mind than ever before of our mission. It is our pledge to continue to meet and exceed your expectations, and to continue to innovate in ways that serve you best – a further, faster, fitter version of ourselves. We need only to keep in mind the qualities mandated in the ballot for the Supplier of the Year Award.

The criteria for Supplier of the Year are outstanding demonstration of:

  • Customer Service
  • Product Quality
  • Imprint Quality
  • Involvement in our Association
  • Pro-Active Selling
  • Creative Response
  • Willingness to Help
  • Delivery Time.

We can’t wait for the opportunity to do it again this year. We can’t wait to bring you all the new offerings you’ve asked for, and to keep listening to what will make you successful in the future.

What a thrill 2015 is going to be!

See us at for everything exciting and new.

A ‘Von Restorff’ Holiday

GiftsYou know by experience that being unique means being memorable. The Von Restorff Effect (also known as the isolation effect, or distinctive encoding) predicts that an item that stands out is far more likely to be remembered than something mundane.

Generally, memory works by way of ‘serial positioning’, in that items within an association (ie; brands) that are presented first or last have the highest instances of recall. The only thing that trumps those positions are those isolated – or unique – items within that association.

The relevance to branding is enormous.

When trying to position your branding above others, you can only work with those variables that you can control. You can’t change the course of time and ensure that your brand was the first to be seen. Likewise, you can only control the period in which your brand was last seen within a finite spectrum – until next time your competitor exposes the same audience to their branding, in fact. As we well know, that range can be very short, given the age of constant media bombardment we live in. The fight against time is an eternal one, wrapped up into our very DNA and struggled against on a daily basis.

It’s a cycle of win and defeat, ever spiralling faster and tighter. But breaking that cycle can be all too easy, if you’re just willing to look for the right solution.

The Holiday period is a time of massive and multi-varied brand exposure. The battle for position in the ‘serial stack’ of the consumer is relentless. The beauty of a memorable promotional product is that it has a two-fold effect; 1) by being left in the hand of the consumer, it continues to go to the top of the stack, each time it is used, and 2) it employs the Von Restorff effect with its distinctiveness.

In the spirit of being memorable this holiday season, we’d like to present a few unique promotional product ideas, designed to bring distinction to your branding.


The epitome of uniqueness! This amazing 3-in-1 item quickly becomes an indispensable tool. Combines three bestselling products; a car charger, a power bank and a flashlight, all of which are power by the 12 volt outlet in your car. Goes into the car, stays in the car and gets used every day.

DA1321_Clear_LargeDA1321 HO-HO QUENCHER 530 ML. (18 OZ.) LED SANTA TUMBLER, and

Does your brand speak to kids? Or to those young at heart? These tumblers are way too much fun! And just try and get them to use another glass once they’ve used one of these – mission impossible.


How many times this holiday season will a bottle of wine be given as a gift? The number is probably in the millions. How long is your brand remembered after you give it? The time can probably be measured in hours. And with so many institutions giving a bottle of wine to their clients over the course of the season, how can you avoid having yours being mixed up with all the others? Easily, with this original gift idea. Not only will it make a unique brand impression, but it will continue to make brand impressions time and time again, on top of all of those other gifted bottles of wine. Pretty cool, huh?


The gift card is one of the most popular holiday giveaway traditions, but it lacks longevity. Give it in tandem with this economical companion and your generosity will be remembered every time they use their phone.


At the retail level, differentiation can mean all the difference between a failed and successful holiday season. Shopping centers are busy places, packed with stores that are all clamoring for the attention of the holiday shopper. Frequently there is so little to separate one gift idea from another, especially when the shopping list is a long one. At times like these it’s those added value moments that truly shine through. Something as simple as the bag they carry with them out of the store can make all of the difference – the one memorable event in a string of otherwise homogeneous experiences.


BlackLabelThe executive experience. The VIP treatment. A touch of sophistication. In a season of throw away offerings and gaudy baubles, show them that they are unique – that they stand above the crowd – with a premium Black Label gift set. From travel to drinkware to executive gift sets and beyond, the Black Label collection is sure to offer that defining moment of the holiday gift giving season. Elegant packaging wraps the entire experience together, in one easy, complete solution.

Everything Wine…

179058256Alexis Lichine, a noted Russian wine writer and entrepreneur, once related the following story; a Persian King who was overly fond of grapes, took an entire harvest and stored them away in jars, marking them “poison” to keep others away. Sometime later, a beauty for his harem – now disfavoured by the King – came across a forgotten jar in a darkened corner of a storage room. Despondent and tired of life, she looked upon the warning sign and decided her fate. But as she drank from the jar, she found “the poison was so delicious that, much revived, she took a cup to the King. The King tasted it, took the lady back into favour, and ordained that thereafter the grapes should be allowed to ferment…”

While this mythical tale serves better to entertain than to educate, it does exemplify the oft mystifying qualities of wine. No doubt, in our younger years, many of us would approach the prospect of a bottle of wine with the same wariness as we would labeled poison. The truth is, for the grand percentage of people, there is a stigma about wines that they are the domain of the elitist, and an excellent opportunity to be sneered at by some condescending prig from an “old-boy” network.


An easy way to achieve perfection: WK6409 LE SOMMELIER DIGITAL WINE BOTTLE THERMOMETER

This of course is true.

Or not. At least, it doesn’t have to be. The truth is that the art of wine appraisal is a wholly subjective one, meaning that any opinion beyond the basic truth of wine being “wet”, is yours alone to define. Forget the concept of making any kind of catastrophic mistake when it comes to buying or drinking a bottle of wine. Forget the concept of “missing the point”, or being ignorant of its subtleties. Whatever you get – or do not get – from the wine is absolutely correct, because it is your opinion that counts to you. And that’s the only thing that really matters.

That said, there are some helpful hints that may help you to appreciate wine more easily. And while no wine will ever ruin a meal, there are some pairings that may help to improve it. Take the following pointers as you will, but remember; observe only those that make the process more enjoyable to you.

The many types of wine

In the simplest terms there are two types of wines; red and white. Reds are generally made from “red grapes” and have the skins left on during part of the fermentation process. Whites are generally made from “white grapes”, and have the skins removed before fermentation. Rosé wines are a mix between either the two styles, or the two processes.



Sparkling wines (such as Champagne) are a result of significant levels of carbon dioxide. This is created either by a second fermentation (usually in the bottle) or by carbon dioxide injection (usually in a large tank).

Different types of grapes also make for different types of wines, and these are referred to as varietals. Different regions and individual wineries add their own characteristics (and these can differ widely to refined palates) but there are some common traits that can be attributed to specific varietals. There are also some basic food pairings – those provided here can help provide an easy frame of reference to begin with.

Name Color Characteristics Common food pairings
Barbera Red Hearty red wines with deep ruby colors, full body and low tannin (tea-like) levels. Roast chicken, meat lasagna, veal
Cabernet Sauvignon Red Known for its depth of flavor, aroma and ability to age. Full-bodied and intense, with cherry- currant and sometimes herbal flavors. Steak, lamb, hamburgers
Chardonnay White Flavors range from clean and crisp with a hint of varietal flavor to rich and complex, vanilla, butter and oak-aged wines. A balance of fruit and acidity. Seafood, chicken, orange vegetables, potatoes
Chenin Blanc White Fresh, delicate floral characteristics. It grows well in warmer climates and produces light, well- balanced wines ranging from dry to off-dry (slightly sweet) styles. Cream dishes, ham, BBQ chicken
Gewürztraminer White Distinctive wine, rich in spicy aromas and full flavors, ranging from dry to sweet. Asian flavors, pasta salads, roasted asparagus
Malbec Red A “rustic” version of Merlot, with softer tannins and lower in acidity. Blackberry, raisin, tobacco flavors. Beef with broccoli, Mexican flavors, pork chops, roast lamb
Merlot Red Medium to full body with black cherry and herbal flavors. Typically smooth, soft and mellow. Tomato pastas, chicken soups, cheeseburgers, veal
Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio) White Low acidity that produces rich, lightly perfumed wines that are often more colorful than other whites. Prosciutto, charcuterie, fish, salads
Pinot Noir Red A light to medium-body wine, pegged as one of the most difficult to grow and make. Delicate and smooth with rich complexity, Pinot Noir is a versatile dinner companion. Duck, roast chicken, smoked turkey, mushrooms
Riesling White Known for its floral perfume. Depending on where they’re made, can be crisp and bone-dry, full-bodied and spicy or luscious and sweet. Pork, satays, nuts, sushi
Sangiovese Red Best known as the Italian red wine, Chianti. Hearty and dry, it often displays a distinctively smooth texture with spice, raspberry and licorice flavors. Pasta, pizza, cheeses
Sauvignon Blanc White Best known for its grassy, herbal flavors and is a popular choice for shellfish or as a refreshing alternative to Chardonnay. Shellfish, fish, green beans, artichokes
Syrah (Shiraz) Red Syrah can produce giant red wines with strong tannins and complex combinations of flavors including berry, plum and smoke. It’s known as Shiraz mainly in Australia and South Africa. Lamb, beef stew, wings
Zinfandel Red Medium to full-bodied red wine with berry or spicy, peppery flavors. Pizza, BBQ Ribs, burgers


Different varietals are often combined into blends, aspiring to take advantage of the combined qualities. “Old-world” wine regions (France, Italy, etc.) commonly define their wines by region, rather than varietal. These regions often have characteristic blends determined by the grapes native to the land. A few examples of these follow:

Region Typical Blend
Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France Grenache, Syrah, others
Bordeaux, France Red: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, othersWhite: Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc
Champagne, France Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, others
Soave, Italy Garganega, Chardonnay, others
Amaretto, Veneto, Italy Corvina, Molinara, Rondinella, others
Cava, Spain Macabeo, Parellada, Xarello, Chardonnay
Rioja, Spain Tempranillo, Mazuelo, Graciano, Maturana Tinta


Serving Wine

You can open a bottle, pour it into a couple of juice glasses and enjoy it with a couple of burgers from the BBQ – no problem. Your face won’t shrivel up, your nose won’t drop off, and no catcalls will rain down upon you from above (unless some condescending prig from the “old-boy” network lives on a balcony overlooking your yard, of course.) But there are some simple things you can do to make it a better experience.

For one; let your wine breathe.

Easy elegance; just add wine box:

Easy elegance; just add wine box: WK4371 WINE BOX

This is also called aerating, and what it does in essence is open up the full-spectrum of the wine’s flavors. It does this by introducing air and warming the wine to room temperature, both of which release the aromas. Smell is a critical component of taste – as anyone who has ever had a sinus cold can attest to – and therefore an important factor to consider. Reds (typically served at room temperature) benefit the most from this process, but white wines (typically served at cooler than room temperatures) can also benefit from the process. 20 to 60 minutes before serving is a good duration for aeration, with younger wines needing the more time than mature wines.

You can both optimize and accelerate this process with a decanter and/or an aerator. Pouring wine through an aerator into a decanter will dramatically improve the aromas, and therefore the flavour and enjoyment of the wine. If you’ve gone to the trouble of choosing your varietal and matching it to your food, it makes sense to include this as the easiest last step.

And wine glasses? What about them?

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It takes two to the party…

Simple. As they act as a kind of decanter on their own, choose bigger glasses for bigger wines. Wines with “big” complex flavors (Syrahs, Cabernet Sauvignons) benefit most from big glasses, allowing the air to mix freely with the aromas and deliver them to your nose. More delicate whites (Chenin Blancs, Pinot Gris) are just fine in smaller glasses. Just remember that, no matter the size, you should only fill the glass to the one third mark to allow for a proper air-to-wine mixture.

And that’s it, really.

Oh sure, there are people who will espouse opinions varying widely to those presented above, applying thick layers of complexity and confusion. But unless you are aspiring to the pretenses of the “old-boy” network, this will provide a solid footing for the first few steps on your new adventure in wine appreciation. And remember; those steps can be traced all the way back in time to a simple jar.





Wearable Technology


Oh, the ubiquitous computer!

Insidious little digital chips have worked their way into every facet of our lives, whether we know it or not. Traffic lights, car bumpers, toothbrushes, toilets, utensils – the list goes on. They’ve even snuck into the plush toys our children snuggle up to at night, silently tittering away in assembly language and biding their time until daybreak. How much further will they integrate into our lives? Are we destined for a Borg-like future, assimilated into the collective and entwined by Bionanotechnology, all free-will forever deleted from our souls?

Probably not. But the truth is that technology is set to continue its migration closer to our bodies, albeit in a more benevolent manner than science fiction would have us believe. In all likelihood, the level of techno-integration that future generations will unthinkingly employ will astound us, just as the thought of hurtling through the troposphere in winged jet-tubes would have astounded our ancestors. The trend is becoming all too clear; we are poised to enter the golden age of wearable technology.



Do you remember the first time you saw the digital calculator watch? What a marvel of innovation that was! Along came the cellular telephone, with every iteration seeing a decrease in scale – from the Ghostbuster-esque backpack phone, to the cyborg-reminiscent in-ear models. We’ve learned some lessons along the way, certainly (an over-estimation of our calculating needs; an under-estimation of how silly an in-ear phone looks), but we’re figuring it out. It’s about ergonomics – that perfect fusion between function and design. Encumbrances of the past will not be tolerated. Technologies will need to work seamlessly together. A universal language will evolve to curate the exchange of timely and relevant information. And it won’t hurt if it looks cool, too.



Eye glasses that work as a real-time HUD system will be fun and functional. Augmented reality will fuse history with currency, putting both a virtual tour guide and a digital Zagat in your pocket. Watches synced to phones allow for a hands-free conversation while driving. Touchscreen gloves in cold weather allow us to continue to interact with our devices. Technology designed to extend human capabilities, and to do it easily.


More exciting still is the health and wellness potential.

Imagine a watch that could warn you of an impending heart attack just from listening to the sound of your blood flow. Or a wristband monitoring arrhythmia or measuring blood-glucose levels. What about an undershirt that incorporates a defibrillator? What you put on that morning could ultimately ensure your safe return that night.



Wellness applications are already well established. Digital pedometers are a highly effective means of general activity measurement. When combined with fitness software they become like digitized personal trainers. Body monitors are all part of the ‘Quantified Self’ movement, in what could be considered the evolution of prophylactic medicine. Store and upload your Biometric data to the Cloud for evaluation. Why not download the ‘health templates’ of Hollywood stars, in an effort to mimic their workout and dietary routines?

What if your doctor could be alerted to a condition before you are? Hospital triage software could reduce stress on the healthcare system, optimizing staff levels to reduce wait times. Emergency services deployed algorithmically, with 911 calls made by sensors embedded in jewelry. Fallen down and can’t get back up? You’ll wait mere moments before help arrives.

Health census data delivered in real time could help prevent epidemics. Interventions deployed instantly would ultimately prolong lifespans. Reducing uncertainty, predicting needs, preventing illness and improving the quality of life – this is the true potential of wearable technology.

And all this started by a humble wristwatch calculator.

TotTech_Page_01“Wearable Technology” is a feature article from Debco’s Totally Tech magazine, available on our Publications page here.


Powering Your Mobility

Powerbanks have become an essential part of the tech-lifestyle

PowerMobilityCoverHere’s a common scenario; you arrive at a client meeting with a phone fully charged from the night before.  The meeting begins haltingly, as the client grills you on a series of minutiae in a random fashion.  You begin to get the feeling that there is something else at play here, so you begin to ask pointed questions aimed at routing out the real cause. Through the ensuing dialogue a new picture begins to emerge.

The issues with the Singapore contract; the logistical variances in your last order; the vagaries of the marketplace and your relationship together within it.  And then it comes out, “we’re doing some restructuring and a potential new partner has approached us.” A new partner that just happens to do exactly what your company does.  The competition.

This is going to be a long day, and you’re not going back to the office anytime soon.

It’s a day of using the portable office – your smartphone – to request supporting documents, verify emails, download PDFs and Google clever phrases from Sun Tzu’s Art of War.  With every jab and riposte, you begin to make headway.  Tensions in the room ease with each obstacle hurdled.  Midway through the afternoon you realize that you can save this relationship; all you need to do is continue to make your case.

Suddenly the charge status on your phone turns to red.  One lonely bar blinks back at you, like the waning pulse of a mortally wounded creature.  A sweat gathers on your spine as you frantically try to convert charge bars to real time; how long do I have left?

From this mother of a necessity was the power bank born.



Keep a charged one with you at all times and you will never have to face this again.  It’s not a charger, per se, you already have one of those and it came with your phone.  No, think of a power bank as a life recharger, a redundancy system for emergencies.  You could just as easily think of it as a deal recharger, or as a business recharger.  It buys you a second chance – a priceless second chance.

Okay, so you’re converted.  But knowing that you need a power bank is only half the problem.  There are so many models that the problem becomes knowing which one to get, right?  That’s actually not complicated at all.  Power banks only survive on the marketplace if they service the needs of a wide variety of smartphones.  Modern phone makers provide an option for USB charging bundled in the box alongside the standard AC adapter cable.  If not, it’s not hard to get one, and usually for not more than a few bucks.  For universality, most power banks output to a USB cable.

So the issue then becomes one of charge capacity, or how much power you need with your particular device.  That of course varies, but it behoves us here to take a step back and understand the true purpose of the power bank.



As we mentioned before, you already have a charger, one that you likely plug in overnight to ensure your phone is ready for the next day.  You can bump that up with blasts from a car charger during the day, or simply by plugging into the wall or the USB port on your computer as you work away at your desk.  That’s just a part of your charging routine.  By contrast, a power bank is for those moments when your phone is in imminent danger of going dead and you need to gain enough time to get back to your regular charging routine.  Invariably these moments are never more than fifteen to thirty minutes long, with rare instances stretching to a few hours.



Instead of litres and gallons, you measure the capacity of a battery in Milliamp Hours (or mAh).   A power bank is really just a battery, combined with helpful gadgets like USB ports and shielding circuitry (thermal and short-circuit protection are available in advanced models).  Your phone also contains a battery.  Fill that ‘tank’ up half way and you get half the normal operating time.  But how do you know what size ‘tank’ your phone has?  The seven most popular Smartphones models feature a range of 1420 to 2880 mAh.  So if you have a charged 2200 mAh power bank you have more than enough to fully charge most phones, and an 80% charge at the high-end of the scale.

More than enough to get you to the station, under even the worst of circumstances.



It is worth noting that all batteries loose mAh capacity over time, as their cycles (times used and recharged) increase.  Extreme heat and cold exacerbate the issue, so leaving them in a hot car in the summer or a cold car in the winter affects them detrimentally.  It’s also worth noting that batteries lose charge even without use, so that topping them up now and again is recommended.

The very final aspect of a power bank to consider is one of output.  That’s how much power a USB port that is transferring to your phone is rated for.  Think of it as the pouring spout on the Jerrycan.  One amp (1A) is standard for recharging most smart phones, while many tablets prefer 2.1A.

Power banks power your ability for mobility.  They are lifelines in a time of crisis.  Whether they’re saving that dropped call to your mother or an entire corporate partnership deal, what they ultimately buy you is something far beyond measurement in mere mAh.  That’s piece of mind, and a second chance.


“Powering Your Mobility” is a feature article from Debco’s Totally Tech magazine, available on our Publications page here.





Go Green in Everything!

Brian Hughes Headshot
Featuring guest blogger Brian Hughes, Internet Marketing Director at

The impetus for protecting our environment has been growing steadily for decades, and recognizing that is important. This is true not only for those with concerns about global warming and air pollution, but for people in all areas of marketing and business. If a high quality product can be made in an eco-friendly way, consumers tend to prefer the eco-friendly version.

Marketing trends, like politics, have always depended on popular demand. Richard Nixon was one of the most environmentally friendly presidents (establishing the Environmental Protection Agency and the Endangered Species Act) because he understood people cared about the environment in the early 1970s. Businesses and corporations need to recognize people care deeply about the environment today, and should act accordingly.

If your promotional paraphernalia is green and eco-friendly, it promotes a positive image that shows you care about the environment. Let’s take a look at the importance of eco-friendly practices.

Grow Gardens, Not Landfills

FlowerGarbageGrowing fruits, flowers, and vegetables in a garden is a relaxing hobby that is good for the environment. Growing landfills, however, are not. Landfills are everywhere in the United States now, but it’s becoming more difficult to create new ones. Nobody wants a landfill in their back yard. If there was only one landfill in the US, it would have to cover more than 1000 acres. Here’s how this conclusion was drawn:

  • The average person living in the US produces about three to four pounds of trash daily, an amount that includes plastic or glass bottles and cans, along with paper products like newspapers, magazines, and junk mail. Broken or out-of-date household appliances, Styrofoam cups and packing material, disposable diapers, and more all add up to an enormous amount of trash.
  • All that trash takes up a large amount of space in a landfill. With an average population of 300 million people in the US multiplied by 3.5 pounds of trash daily, the total amount adds up to about 18,433,779,281 cubic feet of trash. If the pile was 400 feet deep, one landfill would require more than 1,000 acres of land.

If this was the only landfill in the US, and it was continually filled with trash for 100 years, and assuming the US population doubles, the landfill would cover about 160,000 acres. That adds up to 250 square miles with trash 400 feet deep – a lot of trash and a lot of space that over time would only keep growing! With these numbers in mind, growing one big landfill for each person’s trash is not a good idea for the environment. A more practical option is to use eco-friendly promotional products.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is Not a Hydroponic Garden

Not only are landfills rapidly “filling” up in North America, but the waters surrounding it are, too. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is creating significant problems for marine life in the Pacific Ocean.

What is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

pacificgarbageThe Great Pacific Garbage Patch is an assortment of litter and debris in the waters of the North Pacific Ocean. It lies in a high pressure area between Hawaii and California and is in the middle of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. An ocean gyre is a circular ocean current formed by the wind patterns on earth and forces created by the planet’s rotation. The center of a gyre tends to be calm and stable but the circular motion of the gyre pulls in debris. The debris gets trapped in the center of the gyre and just keeps getting bigger. The debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch accumulates because much of it, such as plastic, is not biodegradable.

Oceanographers and climatologists say the Great Pacific Garbage Patch does exist and was discovered by Charles Moore, a racing boat captain, while sailing from Hawaii to California after competing in a race. Moore and his crew discovered millions of pieces of plastic surrounding their boat.

Why is Debris Detrimental to Marine Life?

The majority of the debris in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is plastic. Scientists have collected as many as 750,000 bits of plastic in a single square kilometer (or 1.9 million bits per square mile) in the patch. Bits of plastic in the water are quite harmful to marine life. For example, a loggerhead sea turtle could mistake a plastic bag for their favorite food, a jellyfish. Marine mammals and birds are also getting strangled by the plastic rings used to hold six-packs of soda together.

Debris in the water can block sunlight when it collects on the surface, effectively preventing it from reaching plankton and algae below. Algae and plankton are autotrophs, which means they are capable of producing their own nutrients from oxygen, carbon, and sunlight. If production is disturbed, marine life that counts on autotrophs for food will have less food to eat. If they die from starvation, tuna, sharks, and whales will have less to dine on as well.

How Should the Patch be Patched?

Simply “patching the patch” is not an option because the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is located a great distance from any country’s coast, and no one wants to take responsibility or invest the necessary funding to clean it.

Cleaning up marine debris is difficult because pieces of debris can be the same size as some sea creatures. Using nets to catch debris often inadvertently captures the same size sea creatures, too. Because of the size of the ocean and the garbage patch, nets designed to just catch garbage would be an expensive and time consuming proposition. Using eco-friendly promotional products will help reduce the size of the Great American Garbage Patch. Using reusable bottles for drinking water, wearing clothing made from recycled material, and using products made from recycled materials will help alleviate the amount of waste making its way in to landfills and bodies of water.

Global Climate Change

Overwhelming scientific evidence tells us global warming, or climate change, is indeed happening. Here are a few facts you need to know:

  • Average temperatures have risen 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit globally since 1880, mostly in recent decades.
  • The 1980s and 1990s were the hottest decades in 400 years.
  • The Arctic is feeling most of the effects. Average temperatures in Alaska, western Canada, and eastern Russia have risen at twice the global average.
  • Arctic ice is melting and disappearing, and the region may be completely free of ice by 2040 or earlier.
  • Glaciers and mountain snows are rapidly melting. Glacier National Park now has only 27 glaciers, versus 150 in 1910. Thawing in the northern hemisphere now occurs about a week earlier in spring and freezing starts a week later in the fall. That might seem like good news for gardeners but is bad news for Mother Earth.
  • Increasingly extreme weather, such as hurricanes, wildfires, and droughts, are a result of climate change.

So what’s the cause of climate change? If you guessed humans, you are correct. Scientists have long suggested humans are to blame for all or most of the changes happening to the climate. Switching to eco-friendly promotional products will not only save the environment, it will show that your business cares.

The Importance of Eco-Friendly Promotional Products

After learning about the effects of non-eco-friendly promotional products on the environment, you and your business should be more than convinced it’s time to start providing eco-friendly promotional products to your customers. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money throwing out your current promotional products and buying new ones. Instead, try replacing products as their current supply runs low, or are used up completely.

The (Recycled) Pen is Mightier than the Sword

RecycledPensRemember the saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword?” Obviously, the phrase was coined by a writer. But pens are truly the perfect way to advertise your business. They are relatively inexpensive, portable, and used on a daily basis by individuals and businesses. It’s easy to put your logo on a pen, and if it’s made from recyclables, you’ll advertise your care for the environment.

Water Bottles That Won’t Land in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

WaterbottlePlastic water bottles are clogging the ocean and harming marine life, but you see them everywhere from the gym to the mall. We’re a nation obsessed with getting our recommended daily amount of water. There’s a better way to consume the recommended amount of water each day, however, by making a simple switch to a reusable water bottle. Reusable water bottles are often made from recycled materials such as plastic and aluminum and can be washed after use. Put your company logo on a reusable water bottle made from recycled materials and you will be doing your part to keep debris out of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Plastic Bags – Just Say No Thank You

TotesEnvironmentally friendly totes have been one of the most popular eco-conscious promotional products for some time now. They are inexpensive, extremely versatile and are tremendous advertising vehicles, making them a natural solution to our plastic bag problems. The statistics on the effect of plastic bags on our environment are quite astounding. Here are some facts that are sure to make you say no thank you at the checkout and carry your own reusable, recycled totes.

  • Four to five trillion plastic bags are manufactured each year.
  • 1% of these are recycled.
  • Plastic bags are made from polyethylene, which is a thermoplastic made from crude oil. China alone use billions of plastic bags and their ban on free plastic bags would save them over 37 million barrels of oil annually.
  • It takes 1,000 years for polyethylene bags to break down.
  • As polyethylene breaks down, toxic substances leach into the soil and enter the food chain.
  • Plastic bags account for 10% of all coastline debris in the U.S.
  • Eight million pounds of plastic end up in our oceans killing our wildlife to the tune of approximately one billion seabirds and mammals. These animals suffer a painful death, with the plastic strangulating their airways and intestines.
  • If one out of five people in North America convert from plastic bags to reusable cloth totes, it will save our environment from the damage of 1.3 trillion plastic bags in our lifetime.

Canadian supermarket chain Loblaws took a leadership role in January 2009 by charging $0.05 for each plastic bag and thereby hopefully reducing their usage. Your company can take a similar stance in this initiative by using reusable, recycled tote bags as a promotional vehicle whenever possible. Talk to your promotional products distributor today to discuss the opportunities and go to for a look at your options.




Charting the New Year – Part II

ShipAtSeaLLuck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.

– Lucius Annaeus Seneca

500 years ago, a tattered ship limped into the Castilian port of Seville. Aboard her a crew of eighteen withered men shuffled wearily to the railing, casting their jaundiced eyes upon the city that had been both the origin of their journey, and the focus of their fevered dreams. Separating the two was three years of epic journey, the first circumnavigation of the world, and the filling in of the last blank space upon their oceanic maps. It was an accomplishment that even today shapes the way we live our lives.

Ferdinand Magellan – a Portuguese explorer serving under King Charles I of Spain – had been the orchestrator and visionary behind the expedition. But he was not one of the eighteen men this day lucky enough to raise his hands in supplication to the heavens; his body lay thousands of watery leagues behind, eviscerated upon a bloodied Philippine field of battle. History posthumously attributes this epic feat to him, an honour that would be accompanied by the christening of a small Patagonian penguin, and the recognition of a great navigational Strait that would come to bear his name. It was, after all, his vision and burning obsession that had made the achievement possible, and what he paid out in lifeblood he reaped in immortal legacy.

MapFortune favours the brave, though discretion is always the better part of valour. Luck is the consequence of preparedness meeting opportunity. These adages scale themselves no less willingly to the everyday events of our lives, not least of which to our business practices. That same Pacific ocean that Magellan’s voyage illuminated 500 years ago is the one that the team at Debco crosses many times every year, at the beginning of our product development cycle. While it is a feat less brazen, it is no less critical. For while Magellan had trade and posterity on his mind, we carry with us the responsibility of our 30 plus years of thousands of distributor-partnerships.

Our search for innovation is a long, patient, painstaking process. It involves experience and intuition in equal parts. It involves thousands of man-hours of research and investigation. It involves a vision for the future, an eye for contemporary ergonomics, and a history of safety and compliance. We employ thirty years of relationships, carefully cultivated and nurtured, constantly honed and tempered. Then, with an eye to current market conditions and a mind to the health of our partnerships, we negotiate the best main-catalogue-2014possible pricing solutions and services. This is our obsession – to be the very best partner that we can be, and to be that TODAY.

So, without further ado, we would like to present to you our vision for 2014, our main catalogue. The best products, the best pricing, the best services and the best partnership…

Charting the New Year – Part I

TitlegraphicIf one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.

– Lucius Annaeus Seneca

2013 was a year of great windfall.

2014 lies in uncharted water.

Every year is built upon the progress and lessons of the previous year.  It is impossible to know where you are going without looking back on where you’ve been.  At Debco, every New Year begins with the excitement of the new product development cycle, culminating with the release of the new catalog.  This year we will actually release two catalogs in short succession; our Only New catalog (featuring new release products only) followed by our main catalog.  But every new cycle begins with a thorough analysis of the old one.  What products and services did our partners find success with?  How can we improve upon that success?  How can we make that journey to success faster, easier and more profitable for them?

It’s a process that never ceases to illuminate.  It grounds and centers us, and helps to refine our focus.  Often, it simply serves to remind us that many of the products we have chosen still have a valid – often indispensable – place in our line-up.  These are products that enjoy currency – and currency means opportunity.

Therefore we thought a look back at our most successful products of 2013 was in order.  It is essential that we give our partners every opportunity to begin the year as successfully as possible.  With our new catalog launch in the coming weeks, we thought it would help you to “take a bearing” on where you are, before charting the course of the New Year.

To do that, we enlisted the help of our award-winning line-up of Sales Representatives, the promotional product “Captains” of their territories.  Here’s a few of their favourites from 2013.

Cindy Puritt


Why was it so successful?

  • It’s a super tote! Its box shape makes it truly all-purpose.  Maximizes space – so convenient!
  • It has so many uses; samples, catalogue carrier, groceries, use in the kitchen as a recycling box, trunk organizer, file organizer, cupboard organizer, etc.

Guylaine Chaumont


Why was it so successful?

• It’s perfect for carrying frozen products home from the grocery store

• Fantastic price point

• It’s such a high-demand, large order item that many orders are in the tens-of-thousands and get repeated several times per year. That makes it a sure fire way to get to the next Debco Delegates level!

Joshua Shaw


Why was it so successful?

  • Good things come in small packages.  Its incredible sound and full bass response never fail to impress.
  • It’s compact, easy to store and fully portable.
  • It’s Bluetooth enabled, making that wow factor all too easy to achieve.  But using the SD card reader also makes it a standalone unit, and therefore multiple-scenario ready.

Tim Schruder


Why was it so successful?

• Quick and easy to clean, leading to no-fuss mornings.

•Great eco-friendly item; forget the plastic bags, tinfoil, saran and waste-happy wrappers!

• Save money by packing your own lunch.  Why waste valuable leftovers that we usually throw out.

• It employs the common denominator of eating, making it a product that covers all ages/sexes/races/religions.

Trecia Jones

CU6356 TOUCH SCREEN GLOVESCU6356_Black with Grey fingertips_Large

Why was it so successful?

  • It’s Tech, Debco’s fasting trending category!  That means convenience, and our feedback indicates that once people put these on, they won’t go without them.
  • Hits a great price point (between $5-10 to end user is a key end-user range right now)
  • Debco’s E-Z Import option makes it a winner for any campaign because of its unbelievable custom colour range.  Its lightning fast overseas turnaround time makes the CU6356 Touch Screen Gloves convenient too!

Line Chaumont


Why was it so successful?

• These days, no one wants to walk around with their pockets full, or a huge bulky wallet.   We keep everything critical in our cell phone now, with the exception of our Bank or Credit Cards.  Debco now has the solution.

• Its superb affordability has yielded an unexpected windfall for our partners; using it in conjunction with other items to round out an order.  (Eg: Budget $50/person.  Golf shirts @ $48.75 + SB8499 Smartphone Wallet @ $1.25…. you are now using the entire budget).  This allows our partners to not leave any money on the table, and always have a low cost useful solution to maximize sales.

• Another item with that coveted ‘for everyone’ distinction (men, women, children, etc.)

Mo Plamondon

KP8280 ON-THE-GO SALAD CUPKP8280_Green_Clear_Large

Why was it so successful?

  • Promotes a healthy lifestyle, making it ideal for wellness programs, promotions or corporate picnics.
  • It is a unique and inexpensive alternative to going with a traditional water bottle that many people already have
  • Comes with a fork and matching cup for dressing, providing a cool contrasting color play when your logo is incorporated.
  • Always ends up in a highly visible spot like the fridge at work, and maximizes the amount of impressions your logo receives.

The Black Label Treatment

BlackLabelHeaderIt’s a cool, grey day in Calgary, and people are hurrying inside the hall to get out of the wind.  On a table by the front door sits a collection of products – jackets, fleeces, pens and a few other gadgets and trinkets.  They’re the usual suspects for door prizes, and the seasoned attendees hardly do more than give them a quick glance.

But at the very end of the table there are two items that not only make them look again, but actually stop.  What are these?  The elegant black boxes sit wrapped in stylish bows, silently guarding their treasure.  Are these also part of the door prizes?  Oh, how interesting.  They press on, into the heart of the show, stealing one last glance over their shoulder as they go.

The hall warms, voices swell, and the show proceeds.  It’s like any other show, only today instead of the slow trickling egress of attendees reducing the space to an early and inevitable vacancy, people are sticking around.  There’s some interesting swag here, some real opportunities.  They are enjoying the pitches more than usual, and everyone is really on their game.  Besides, there’s the door prizes to get to, and that’s always fun.

Someone by the door prize table takes up a microphone, PK5001and begins   announcing names at random.  A jacket is given to a smiling winner, who nods and melts back into the crowd, turning back to watch the draw continue.  Another winner, and then another.  Pens are always useful, at least.  Finally the MC moves to the end of the table, and her hands rest next to the mysterious, ribboned boxes.  People in the crowd strain forward, listening.

A name is announced, and there is an excited exclamation.  A young lady moves forward, quickly stepping around those in front of her.  People actually move in behind her.  She grins, her eyes crinkling, as she put out her hands to receive her prize.  Quite involuntary, her hands begin to undo the shining ribbon, and she places the box on the table to lift of the lid with both hands.  The crowd takes another step in behind her.

“Oh, wow,” she says.  “Those are fantastic.  Thank you very much!”  The crowd murmurs approvingly, and then looks up with anticipation at the MC.  There is still another present to give away.

PK2003                It’s a great story, and one with an interesting twist; this event actually happened.  It was a distributor’s annual showcase of new offerings, and the seasoned attendees were end-user buyers for their businesses and corporations, veterans at their umpteenth product knowledge session of the year – not the type to be easily impressed.

That’s the Black Label treatment.

Originally developed in 2011, the Black Label collection has quickly become the go-to solution for high-value holiday gifting season.  That’s high-perceived-value.  With sets beginning below $20, your premium gift program does not have to come at a premium price-point.  And with gift set categories ranging anywhere from Executive to Technology to Drinkware and beyond, there is a Black Label gift set for every personality and occasion.  Graduations, retirements, anniversaries, guest speakers, recognition and incentive programs have all received the Black Label treatment.  Better than that, they’ve received that pampering with a bare minimum of fuss for the gift-giver. Call it logistical Shangri-La; Debco fulfils each order with specially molded inserts – custom-designed for each set – in beautiful, sturdily constructed boxes.  You need only add the bow to those kits that require it, and like magic, you are done.  Two minutes spent on a gift that even the most discerning executive will believe you spent hours slaving over.  That’s high-perceived thoughtfulness.

What about decoration?  Black Label offers unsurpassed branding opportunities, with many gift sets including multiple imprint locations for one decorating cost.  Taking advantage of Debco’s value-priced quality products, and packaging them in a premium format aligns your brand with excellence.  Want to take that a step further?  Try our Aquamark, LaserLike or Impress Print on specially selected drinkware sets.  Whether it’s holiday cocktails, morning coffee over the newspaper, or a mug of hot chocolate in front of the fire, quality decorating will make them want to spend valuable time with your brand.

PK4001                And while discerning, Debco’s Black Label is not exclusionary; these gender-neutral gift sets are perfect for everyone.  Imagine the time saved not having to worry about tailoring different gifts for men and women, in a way that is so much more personal than a gift card.

We all come across Black Label moments in our lives.  These are the special occasions, moments to be remembered, and opportunities to stand apart from the crowd.  Avoid the usual suspects – make an impression.  Reward them with mystery, with elegance, with a gift of value.  Treat them – and yourself – to the Black Label experience.BlackLabelFooter