September 20, 2023

In today’s ever-evolving marketing landscape, where digital strategies often dominate the conversation, one element continues to stand the test of time – that of branded merchandise. International research shows that this steadfast pillar of modern marketing, commonly known as promotional products, has remained a powerhouse in successful campaigns for decades.

In fact, according to Chris McNabb, Founder and CEO of Jimbu, a South African Marketing and Procurement Group headquartered in Durban, commanding statistics highlight the impact of promotional products and why South African marketers and business owners should continue to embrace them as an integral part of their campaigns. “In South Africa, just as in other markets, these statistics indicate that promotional products continue to be a persuasive and cost-effective marketing strategy,” McNabb notes.

He goes on to explain, “Branded merchandise establishes a tangible connection between brands and consumers, creating lasting impressions that continue to promote the brand long after the initial interaction. At Jimbu, we’ve seen first-hand how branded merchandise can drive brand recognition and customer engagement. It’s a strategy that transcends time, borders, and industries, and its versatility makes it a valuable tool for businesses of all sizes.”

As marketers and business owners allocate their marketing budgets for the forthcoming year, it is abundantly clear that branded merchandise should be a non-negotiable inclusion in their strategic plans. McNabb offers four compelling reasons why it simply cannot be overlooked:

1. Long-lasting Brand Impression:

Studies by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) in the United States indicate that promotional products typically enjoy an extended lifespan in the hands of consumers, with an average retention period of approximately one year. Furthermore, among various product categories, outerwear, umbrellas, and T-shirts emerge as the frontrunners in terms of prolonged retention. This enduring presence ensures your brand remains at the forefront of your customers’ minds. 

2. Brand Recognition:

ASI research also shows that an impressive 85% of global consumers remember the advertiser who provided them with branded apparel. Moreover, nine in 10 people recall the company’s name or logo on the promotional item they received. This exemplifies how branded merchandise creates a tangible and memorable connection between your brand and your audience, fostering recognition.

3. Customer Engagement and Loyalty:

Findings by the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) show that 83% of individuals acknowledge buying products or services from companies that have given them branded merchandise. This underscores the influence of promotional products in driving customer engagement and fostering loyalty. ASI reports that promotional products also influence consumer behaviour and the likelihood of them conducting business with the advertiser. In fact, if provided with a promotional product, 83% of people report an enhanced sense of loyalty to a brand at which they currently shop.


  1. Greatest Return on Investment:

Promotional products offer an incredibly low cost per impression (CPI), surpassing the cost-effectiveness of most other advertising platforms. This affordability makes them an ideal choice for smaller businesses operating with limited advertising budgets. Additionally, the long-lasting nature of promotional products ensures that your brand message continues to reach and resonate with your target audience for an extended period, providing lasting value.

“In a world inundated with digital noise, branded merchandise remains a beacon of enduring marketing effectiveness. It offers the perfect blend of longevity, brand recognition, and customer engagement that modern marketers seek,” McNabb concludes.