Promotional merchandise is used by all companies all over the world. Items branded with companies’ logos are given away or used in conjunction with a sales promotion are used to boost sales or promote a new product or service. You don’t have to look far to see to what extent promotional items are used to promote a product or service. The pens on your desk, mugs in your cupboard or logo’s on any clothing you may have; surely you will find something that has been used for promotion.

Like with any industry steps have to be put in place to ensure the promotional items are safe. Particularly as they are often used as giveaways companies often source the cheapest items available. Quite often with anything the cheapest items are not always the best and sometimes corners are cut to save the extra pennies on each item.

Just a couple of days ago one of the corporate giants – McDonalds has had to recall 12 million collectible drinking glasses painted with the characters from the movie “Shrek” because the pain in them contains cadmium. The leading fast food chain was selling these glasses as part of a promotion after the movie was released. The paint however has been found to contain a substance whose long term exposure can cause long term health effects and is used in the production of batteries. McDonald’s shares have since dropped by over 1% on the announcement of the news.

So where do promotional products come from and how could a big company like McDonalds slip up on such a basic precaution in manufacturing. Like most companies today, savings are sought after in the buying of promotional items especially since these items are used as giveaways. Many products as most manufacturing these days are sought from the far east, which although may incur substantial savings also includes its own risks. If a product does not comply with strict health and safety guidelines then these products could end up detrimental to your brand.

If an order of promotional products is made and these do not meet health and safety ultimately it is the brand that is going to suffer. It is vital to check the experience and standard of the distributor you are sourcing your items from. Do they have their own factories? What steps do they cover to ensure all the products meet strict health and safety guidelines? Do they offer you any guidance when choosing “safe” items for your next promotion?

In the end it is the company that is distributing the items that faces the penalty. After all it is their name printed on them, so there is no escaping. If a massive fast food giant has been caught out in their recent batch of promotional merchandise, what make you so sure that you will not be affected? So in your next order of promotional products, make sure you are aware of the consequences of perhaps ordering those products that are just that little bit too cheap.

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