Sports promotions continually looking for ways to make more noise – literally and figuratively. From cowbells lining the slopes at the Winter Olympics to plastic clapping hands and earsplitting airhorns, the search to improve the volume of applause in ongoing. Here (in no particular order) is a list of some “noisemaker” trends in the promotional products today.
#1 The Vuvuzela
South African in origin (traditionally made from a kudu horn – now made from plastic) the vuvuzela was used to summon distant villagers to attend community gatherings. Present day usage is an integral part of the South African soccer scene and has become a symbol of the sport in that country. A similar device, is used in Brazil and other Latin American countries.
It caught the attention of the world during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Hyundai constructed the world’s largest working vuvuzela as part of a marketing campaign for the World Cup and the loud monotone buzz eminating from smaller promotional units was the audio backdrop for the series. Unfortunately for some the noise level was too intense, leading to future bans by a few sporting organizations. But hey, some folks really like them!
#2 The Clapper Glove
Think about the sound when you smack two billiard balls together. Clapper gloves are a pretty fun way to keep your hands warm and avoid the muffled sound of a golf clap. These are not really native to anywhere – up for grabs for cultural affinity. They are however, a really great promotional tool for making noise.
Maracas are really cool, even though they originate south of the equator. The are native to Puerto Rico, Cuba, Colombia, Guatemala and several nations of the Caribbean and Latin America. Traditionally make from gourds or coconuts, maracas come in a variety of materials. One of my favorites, unearthed by our sourcing department is the inflatable maraca. Who know balloons, beans and plastic could be so much fun!
#4 Inflatable Mylar Spirit Sticks
What happens when you inflate two elongated mylar balloons and bang them together? These popular promotional items are fairly commonplace. The colorful sticks come flat and can be inflated by the user at the event. The large live are for promotional messaging and optional LED illumination make them perfect for all sorts of sporting events. I recently cheered my husband to the finish at the Twin Cities Marathon with a set.
#5 The Cowbell
Who doesn’t want “More Cowbell”? Sneaky livestock I suppose, but they are in demand in the rally culture and sports promotions. Worldwide, in cross-country skiing and cyclocross, cowbells are often rung at the start and finishes of races.
Attempts to suppress them by imposing a ban include the Southeastern Football Conference. However, this does not stop intrepid Mississippi State University fans who smuggle the contraband item into games. Elsewhere, at Penn State football games, the cowbell is played in a particular rhythm and accompanied by chanting. Cornell and University of New Hampshire ice hockey fans also want “more cowbell”. The Alaska Aces fans of the ECHL are well-known in Anchorage as the “Cowbell Crew”. The Tampa Bay Rays even have a pre-built graphic that says “More Cowbell!!” I say give the people what they want.
Fans will continue to look for new ways to pump up the volume. The promotional products industry will continue to pump out novel solutions to help raise the roof and deliver the sponsor’s message.