Looking at Advertising Gifts in an Industry Context: Distributors and Suppliers

There is a difference between the supplier and the distributor of any item. Each occupies a link in the supply chain, which ultimately ends up filling the hands of the buyer – the last stop before the chain has completed its motion and returns to the beginning.

It must be noted that in commission situations, where a buyer specifically requests a distributor to find a certain type of object, or a very specifically detailed subset of that type (for instance, a novelty stress ball in a very particular shape), then the buyer become the prime mover in the supply line. He, she or it starts the process that also finishes with his, her or its purchase of a number of the items in question.

In normal supply chain situations, it is the manufacturer that starts the chain turning. Whatever the manufacturer makes, the distributor distributes and the buyer buys. The computer game industry is a key example of this form of supply: the consumer, which is the gamer, directs his or her purchases according to advertising telling him or her what he or she can have.

Advertising gifts have a pair of roles to play within the promotional supply chain. In some instances, for example with the specifically commissioned stress ball alluded to above, the advertising gift starts and finishes the supply chain. It is designed, branded and fulfilled when it passes into the possession of the company that commissioned the design in the first place.

The other role of advertising gifts is, in a way, more interesting. This is because it points out ways in which the supply chain can be externalised – that is, where advertising articles intersect with other articles of the same type.

Clothing is the key representative of this group. A blank cap may be used in advertising; or it can be turned into an official team cap for a sports team; or it can be sold as is, with no brand or logo; or it can be branded for a specific sports company. Caps bearing the logos of tennis racket manufacturers, for example, are not designed by the brand; but they are owned by it without strictly being advertising items.

Advertising gifts, of course, have an element that defines them incontrovertibly. You can’t be a gift if your recipient pays for you. So any clothing item, any cap, or any other kind of promotional object that is received for free is an advertising gift; while any that is paid for, is not.

The free nature of advertising gifts may have implications for the general stocks created and kept by suppliers to the industry chain. Cost effective items, for instance, which are used in large numbers by multiple brands (like pens) may be kept on hand more readily than prestige items, which can cost a lot more to make as well as to buy. As such, it may be the case that the industry operates supply and demand in some instances and demand to supply in others.

About the author bio:

Tom Brown is involved in advertisement agency and blogger. He writes regularly gifts content for  helping consumer .