Company picnics are great for employee participation; forgo the same old hot dogs and potato chips, and add pizzazz to your picnic with the help of a theme that will increase excitement and encourage participants to get involved. Check out these popular theme ideas, and be sure to ask your ad specialty distributor about obtaining the best products for your picnic and all your promotional events.
Have employees bring their favorite dessert, garden produce and homemade crafts for judging and award ribbons to all. Sponsor pie eating, egg juggling, apple bobbing and watermelon seed-spitting contests. Make sure to decorate your picnic tables in country prints. Arrange games such as three-legged races and tug of wars; have team members wear logoed bandannas in their team’s color. Finally, set up hay rides around the picnic area. Keep plenty of logoed water bottles and sunscreen on hand for the long day outside.
Provide a set of Mexican hats and serapes and photograph your guests wearing them. String colored lights from poles or trees and add colorful streamers. Decorate picnic tables with colorful Mexican blankets and cacti centerpieces. Engage a mariachi band or use recorded music, and give employees logoed maracas to shake. Hang piñatas filled with candy and treats and let attendees take their best shot.
Encourage guests to arrive in costume and have hula girls and hula boys greet them with leis to the accompaniment of Hawaiian music. Have a pig roast and put accompanying food items in large seashells or logoed beach pails. Arrange for hula lessons and sponsor hula contests. Whip up a tasteful floral combo that mixes island blooms, fruits and foliage. Provide temporary Hawaiian warrior tattoos and hold coconut passing contests.
Way Out West
Provide vests and Stetsons for your guests and encourage them to add to the ensemble. Serve Western party foods such as hot dogs, hamburgers, pork, beans, chips and peanuts. Arrange for a steady supply of country music for your cowgirls and cowboys to dance to and enjoy. Take digital photos of your costumed guests and Photoshop them with sepia tones and faded edges to give them an old-timey look. In addition to Western gear, provide guests with branded boot-shape drinking glasses, take-home cactus centerpieces, flashing marshals’ badges, miniature horseshoes, belt buckles, bolo ties and stuffed-animal horses for the children.
When the legendary Greenbriar resort hosted its inaugural Women in Leadership conference last year, there was significant attention paid to detail, as the speakers included a star-studded array of high-profile women in business, media and government. The event was organized by media power player Cathie Black, former president and chair of Hearst magazines, and a regular on the list of the 50 most powerful women in business.
"To say Cathie is particular is quite an understatement," says Greenbriar director of digital media and branding Chelsea Hover, noting that Black's exacting standards were evident in every aspect of the conference, including the gift bags that were handed out to speakers and attendees. Martha Stewart was the keynote speaker, and presenters included such luminaries as ABC News White House correspondent Ann Compton and Mikki Taylor, Essence magazine editor-at-large and stylist to First Lady Michelle Obama.
"Cathie had very specific guidelines. The bags needed weight and had to include high-quality products with a focus on beauty," says Hover. The bags also needed to have a particular fit over the arm and be able to hold a laptop or an iPad. Many of the speakers were close friends of Black and traveled great distances to participate, making it even more important to Black that these women really enjoy the gift bags.
Hover began researching items for the bags six months before the conference took place, and the feedback from recipients suggests the end-result was five-star. The 300 stylish bags were made of reusable burlap. Greenbriar hotel-branded items in the bags included bedroom slippers, lip balm and wooden serving spoons. Birchbox, a beauty subscription service, supplied Hover with samples of high-end beauty products to try out for possible inclusion. "In one week I sent out 100 requests for donations to the gift bags – and 75% said yes," she notes.
When Sandra Alexander, a marketing rep for cosmetic firm darci by Di Caprio, sent out a press release announcing the firm's new makeup brush cleaner in September 2011, she never dreamed that the product would find itself in the Oscar gift bags of Hollywood's elite at last year's Oscar ceremony.
Upon reading the press release, a representative from an agency that specializes in the entertainment industry reached out to Darci Henry and Lisa Di Caprio, to see if they would be interested in contributing their new brush cleaner to the gift bags for Oscar nominees in the top five categories of the 2012 Oscars.
At first the pair ignored the call, but after receiving a second call telling them their product would be great for the celebrity swag bag, they decided to get involved. "Make it as unique as you can," was the only request the agency made. The women brainstormed about how best to build around this opportunity, and ultimately won raves and press coverage, including mentions in Lucky magazine and Philadelphia Business Journal for the cleverly designed gift packaging, which centered on the founders' mission statement, "The Beauty of Believing in Yourself." Henry and Di Caprio, divorced mothers who overcame personal adversity, became best friends and started darci by Di Caprio to support themselves, become independent and inspire others to do the same.
The women chose boxes that looked like hollowed-out books bearing the tagline, "Don't Judge a Book by Its Cover." The box contained the brand's signature brush cleaner, with limited-edition Kabuki brushes (no animal hair was used and the product was cruelty free-certified by PETA) as well as a towel with the brand's logo to dry off the brushes.
A card insert read, "You can't summarize your career with one performance, define a character with a single facial expression or take one look at someone and understand who they are or how far they've come. On the surface, your makeup brushes may seem clean. But look a little closer and you may find a different story." The gift box also contained a mini movie script and a short video on a USB drive telling the story behind the brand.
Appearances on talk shows and morning shows to discuss the Oscar gift bags reached almost 3 million viewers. The press that darci by Di Caprio received resulted in increased traffic in their PA-based store, plus the addition of four new wholesale accounts, including Beauty Cirque, New Beauty at Fred Segal, and two major online retailers, www.beautysak.com and www.dermstore.com.