The earliest known promotional products were commemorative brass buttons produced following George Washington’s election Our White House as the first President of the United States in 1789. However, it wasn’t until later in the 19th century that promotional products developed into a burgeoning industry.
Jasper Meeks, a printer in Ohio, is regarded as the creator of the promotional products industry. It was his initiative that encouraged a shoe store to have their name printed on school bags and supplied to schools. An industry was born and developed rapidly in the US, although in the UK it was not until the 1970s that the promotional products business truly came to the fore.
Today in the UK the industry is worth close to £1 billion annually and research carried out in 2009 concluded that the most popular promotional products includes bags, clothing, mugs, pens, USB memory sticks and umbrellas.
It is an industry which is always on the lookout for new items to brand. The fastest growing product in recent years is hand sanitiser, which has become popular due to increased awareness about the importance of cleanliness in hospitals, schools and the workplace.