Seasons Greetings

It’s Christmas every day for Tim Cadel, co-founder of Festive Promotions


As summer turned to autumn Tim Cadel was already focused on the Christmas season at his Oxford HQ – known as ‘The Grotto’ – surrounded by snow globes and Christmas tree baubles.

The idea came in 2002 when Tim received a marketing Christmas card from a company. “It was quite a nice one but I knew that it would be in the bin in January – I still can’t remember the name of the company that sent it. But I thought that if you could come up with a product that would be retained and used every year – but still relatively inexpensive and branded – that would be much better.

Shortly afterwards, Tim was visiting a client which was a stickler for having everything branded to the correct pantones following a major rebranding exercise. Tim noticed that their Christmas tree was filled with all kinds of garish colours and pointed out that they were missing a trick – how about corporate coloured, even branded, baubles? “Good idea,” said the client. “We’ve got 80 offices, say 50 baubles per tree – get me a quote for 4,000 and we’ll look into it for next year.”

So Tim immediately set up Festive Promotions with his business partner Leisl Donovan. They say that Christmas comes but once a year but Tim soon found out that it never really goes away – not in the marketing world, anyway. “The main trade exhibition for Christmas and gifts is held every January in Harrogate – so it all starts there.” Tim and Leisl have picked up clients from every imaginable sector in the intervening years,from banks and car showrooms to, whisky distilleries, football clubs and even popgroups. “We’ve worked with Duran Duran for several Christmases now. They create a Limited Edition design each time and sell them to their fans who love them.

“And we supply the baubles for Arsenal’s Christmas trees at the Emirates, and they sell them to their fans as well.” So what’s the hot trend for Christmas this year? “A lot of clients are asking for filled baubles,” said Tim. “It started with a
hotel chain which wanted to promote its new high quality pillows, so they asked for baubles to be inserted with a feather.” Since then, a perfume house has ordered baubles filled with rosebuds and lavender and a watch company wants baubles with gold stars. Tim’s advice for a successful Christmas marketing campaign is the same as for any other campaign involving promotional products. “Plan early,” he said. “We’ve already donea lot of work for our clients for their Christmas campaigns but if you haven’t already started, then now is the time to get going.

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