Ideas for celebrating the Chinese New Year!

When is Chinese New Year?

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Chinese New Year begins according to the Chinese calendar which consists of both Gregorian and lunar calendar systems. Because the tracking of the new moon changes from year to year, the Chinese New Year can begin anytime between late January and mid-February

Spring Festival, Lunar New Year or commonly referred to as just Chinese New Year will begin on Sunday 10th Feb 2013 with celebrations running for as long as 15 days until Sunday 24th Feb 2013.

Chinese Lanterns

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The fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year is celebrated as Yuanxiao Festival or the Lantern Festival. Candles are lit outside houses and families will walk the streets carrying lanterns. This day marks the end of the Chinese New Year festivities.

Traditional Chinese lanterns are usually red in colour and oval shaped, however at the Lantern Festival you can expect to see an array of bright and bold colours, elaborate designs and patterns, characters, dragons, animal and all different shapes and sizes!

Chinese Cuisine

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Chinese Food can be found at all celebrations from rice to noodles and in a number of styles from Cantonese, Szechuan and even Mongolian cuisine! When celebrating the Chinese new year there will traditionally be a New Years Eve dinner that will be packed full with amazing foods and flavours including dishes of meat such as pork and chicken, and often include a hot pot to signify a family reuinion.

Chinese Zodiac

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There is a 12-year cycle of the animal zodiac which relates a different animal to each year. Chinse Year 2013 is the Year of the Snake.

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Previous Years and their symbolic meanings…

1972,1984,1996,2008 Year of the Rat

The RAT is the first sign of the zodiac. Typically people born under this sign will be a creative problem solver, imaginative a hyperactive worker respected for resourcefulness. Intuitive and with the ability to hold onto all things of value.

1973,1985,1997,2009 Year of the Ox

The OX is said to be an inspiring person that is easy-going and will possess a parent-like nature. They also have a tendency to have a bad temper, be quick to anger and very stubborn. They are however good listeners, yet don’t like to ask for help themselves. Most comfortable around Roosters.

1974,1986,1998,2010 Year of the Tiger

The TIGERs are contemplative, emotional and sensitive. Although they can have a short temper, quick tongue and may startle their inferiors. Widely respected for their courageousness, power is their natural gift. Compatible with Horses and Dragons.

1975,1987,1999,2011 Year of the Rabbit.

The RABBIT is often a private individual, a little introverted and sometimes withdrawn. People born to this sign would rather work behind the scenes and try not to be the centre of attention. With that said the rabbit is a friendly individual and enjoys the company of good friends.

1976,1988,2000,2012 Year of the Dragon.

The Dragon’s personality tends to be that of a free spirit. Everything that dragon’s do will be on a grand scale, they naturally express big ideas and offer ornate gestures. Dragons’ generous personalities give them the ability to attract friends, but they can be rather solitary people at heart.

Years to come…

1978,1990,20002,2014 Year of the Horse

The HORSE is a popular person, cheerful and quick to compliment others. They are also hard working, bursting with energy an extrovert. Entertaining and humourous around all people born under this sign tend to be quick-witted and intelligent.

1979,1991,2003,2015 Year of the Goat

The GOAT tends to be a great artists. They will ask many questions, they like nice things and will be very wise, they do tend to like a bit of peace and quiet and can be very calm, easygoing and relaxed.

1980,1992,2004,2016 Year of the Monkey

MONKEYs tend to be very funny and can run circles around other people. Both curios and clever, they will catch on quickly and are able to accomplish most tasks. They appreciate difficult or challenging to stimulate and make them think.

1981,1993,2005,2017 Year of the Rooster

The ROOSTER can be flamboyant, feisty and obstinate in personality. Also an extrovert, proud of who they are and outwardly confident, the rooster is also trustworthy and hardworking.

1982,1994,2006, 2018 Year of the Dog

The DOG has a giving, compassionate and supportive personality. Is a good listener, always available to a friend in need and are incredible attentive.

1983,1995,2007,2019 Year of the Pig

The PIG can be fun and enlightening, while having patience and understanding. People born under this sign will enjoy life, their family and friends. Honest and thoughtful, they belive it is better to give than receive.

As well as the 12 year cycle of the animal zodiac, there is also a 5 year cycle of the chinese elements, each phase has a complex series of associations with different aspects of nature and the best way in which to remember the order that the phases take place are as follows…

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1. Wood feeds Fire 2. Fire creates Earth (ash) 3. Earth bears Metal 4. Metal carries Water (as in a bucket) 5. Water nourishes Wood.

For Chinese New Year celebrations in other countries there may be some additional ways that you can add to your celebration. This year in Melbourne Australia there are a number of places that you can enjoy the festival. With displays of the traditional Chinese Lion Dance, firecrackers, folk music, martial artists and much more…

… To blend Australian culture with the Chinese New Year why not create party favours and gift ideas to give to your guests and visitors. Coolaz Stubby Holders can be designed with chinese characters and symbols, colours and photographic images to not only brighten up your event and match in with the theme but also they are practical for this summer time celebration in the southern hemisphere as they will keep your drinks cold! Here are some of our latest designs …

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stubby holders
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Happy New Year!

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Relaxation Day – 15th August.

Relaxation day is all about taking it easy, kicking back and having some total ‘me time’!! If you happen to have a day away from work then you should do your best to find a secluded spot for some well-deserved rest!

Relax by finding an enjoyable activity to do … this is described as a form of activity that provides a change and relief from effort, work, or tension, and gives you pleasure. What one person finds enjoyable may not be so for another – so make sure you choose something that you know will help you to relax; you might read your book under the shade of a tree, go for a swing in the park, treat yourself and your car to a detail inside and out (a job you hate doing yourself), bake some cupcakes, buy yourself a box of chocs and eat all the best ones first or have some friends over for a BBQ and a few cold beers!

Maybe you spend an hour or so doing some yoga or meditating, or perhaps browsing the internet to book yourself into a spa retreat for the day is more up your street. You could even extend it and make it relaxation week or two! Our top 10 favourite relaxation destinations and spa resorts around the world are;

1. Mandarin Oriental, Miami USA – A real taste of Asian serenity in the heart of Florida.

2. Banyan Tree, Phuket, Thailand – Absolute luxury staying in a spa pool villa.

3. The Rock Spa, Seychelles – Privacy at its best with outdoor therapies and treatments.

4. Forte Village, Sardinia – Pampering for the kids too in true Italian tradition.

5. Cradle Mountain Lodge, Tasmania – Activities and spa all in one.

6. The Balmoral Spa, Edinburgh UK – Beautiful escape to the country.

7. Le Sport, St Lucia – ‘The body holiday’ for a healthy & sporty retreat.

8. The Blue Lagoon, Iceland – Amazing relaxation and treatment for your skin.

9. Polynesian Spa, New Zealand – Soothe your arching body in the natural hot springs of Rotarua.

10. The Refinery, London – One for the boys at this male only spa.

Make sure whatever you choose to do on your day of relaxation that you simply take it easy and enjoy yourself – maybe you will finish with an ice cold beverage of your choice wrapped up with a Coolaz cooler as a memento of your break away from reality!

Promotional Stubby Holders: Design

The perfect blend of aesthetic and effectiveness is not as easy as you might think

Often overlooked is the design aspect of a promotional product. Design is a strange thing as it can often be overlooked as it appears very easy to many people. A good design will pay dividends well into the future: an example is the Nike swoosh, of course very simple to draw, but very hard to replicate its success! Think hard about dividing up your budget so that a good amount is devoted towards getting the design right. Do not be afraid to test designs with close groups of people (preferably customers) to hone things, but remember that many people will have their own ideas, but not all can be right so it is better to focus on things like making sure the design is clear, attractive and compelling rather than the specifics of colour, size and placement etc. (there are other ways to address those aspects). Also consider that what works well for your customers may not necessarily be something you are in love with. Try and be objective, however if the two go hand in hand all the better!

An example I use to illustrate this particular facet of design is to ask you to think about some of the biggest, and most successful, Internet names out there. Chances are Google, eBay and Amazon are at, or very near, the top of your list. One could hardly say that they are also the most attractive sites though! They work and have become bigger than their competition not only because of their services, but also because their interface with their customers is simple (although Amazon is starting to look more messy!) and therefore they can be understood and used by the widest audience.

A common error, certainly one we have seen many times, is making sure your message is front and centre. Unless you are a recognised brand like Nike, CocaCola or Apple then just your logo on a promotional product is going to have limited value outside your known customer base. If you can, always include a short piece of text to explain quickly and memorably what you do. For the 6% of the population that do not know what CocaCola is just simply adding ‘a delicious, brown, carbonated beverage’ could help them take their first sip!

Once you have captured the viewer’s eye and delivered your message hopefully they will feel as if they want to read secondary information such as your highlighted products, services or maybe just your web address. If that information is not present then you are relying on them remembering to try and find out later, a risky strategy especially as there is lots of completion for everyone’s attention these days! QR codes or unique URLs can be useful here too as a means of getting an instant call to action. For instance: ‘Scan now to receive a 10% discount off of your first order.”

Also worth mentioning is to try and select a product you can offer in a number of colour ways for little or no extra cost, this will increase both uptake and longevity – like Coolaz stubby holders. This can be a double-whammy of sorts, which can often also be quite economical in volume orders, but is increasingly possible with smaller orders too with some suppliers.

Promotional Stubby Holders: Competition and Saturation

Stand out from the crowd

Becoming ever more a factor in choosing the right strategy is trying to find a promotional item that stands out among the rest: commonly selected items such as keyrings, stress balls and now USB sticks are becoming so popular that you will be hard pressed to find someone that has not already got one, so you’ll have to work even more harder to make sure they like your one! Occasionally a new product arrives on the market and it is important to quickly evaluate the potential of new ideas with respect to your target audience before others usurp you – stealing your thunder. A new product idea done well cannot only generate interest from the person you gave it to, but to others who see it and are curious. This is an added bonus not to be sniffed at!

A Coolaz stubby holder is a new design of beverage insulator that is sure to get attention as it does not compete with the more traditional – and ubiquitous – wetsuit type.

Promotional Stubby Holders: Adding Value to You

How to measure your campaign’s effectiveness
Once upon a time all you could use to track a campaign was ask each customer how they reached you, use a seperate PO Box or obtained a new telephone line and number. With the age of the Internet it has gotten a little easier with unique URLs and server side tracking, but you still need to make the link memorable and not clumsy. QR codes are a new marketing phenomemon that could help drive measurable traffic to wherever you want people to go!

A large proportion of the cost of a bespoke designed promotion item is the set up and artwork. Once that is done each little addition cost less and less. Even something like adding a custom QR code can improve the value of your product – sometimes for free. QR codes are becoming more and more visible and are a great way to exact a call to action to the tech savvy generation. QR codes can be used to push people to a website, deliver an electronic business card and much more. They can also be used, once people have used their code, to track the visitor and personalise content.

By capturing the QR code below with an app enabled phone (iNigma is a very popular one for both iPhone and Android) the embedded URL can tell me that you came from this article and I can store the date and time you visited, find out how long you visited for, where you went in my website, your ISPs location and even the operating system on your phone!

This QR code can easily printed on Coolaz Stubby Holders – and we can even make up a different one for each one we print! This variable information encoded into QR codes (i.e. each product has a unique code) can be used to further enhance the experience and are an immensely powerful marketing tool whose scope is still being explored.

Promotional Stubby Holders: Adding value to your customers

There are lots of ways to add value to your promotional stubby holders!
With some promotional products even more value to the target audience can be added for little cost, especially those that are made by the much more flexible digital printing processes. Something as simple as a consecutive number can become a valuable offering when it becomes a perhaps a lottery entry or perhaps a means to get a discount, both of which will undoubtedly increase the lifetime of the item as it retained until redemption. Some digital processes also now allow you to add more complex variable information such as names, numbers and addresses. What easier way to make sure your gift sweeps all its competition away and to also impress your recipient as you have taken the time to personalise their gift with their first name!

An ideal addition is one that evokes a subsequent interaction with your website or makes ordering simple and easy – possibly even including a login code that unlocks discounts or specials. A simple QR Code printed on your promotional stubby holder can do this by encoding a unique URL that visitors are pushed to.

Coolaz Ticket Stubby Holder

Coolaz Ticket Stubby Holder

Due to the fact they are printed digitally, Coolaz Stubby Holders can also be used as lottery or entrance tickets.

Improve your promotional product’s impact and persistence: Functionality

Generally a promotional item should appeal to the widest demographic possible (although sometimes it can pay to narrow your audience) otherwise the attrition rate is going to be higher. Let’s work through the example of keyring bottle openers: these commonly used items clearly appeal to drinkers, but only those that drink bottled beer, and then only to those of them that prefer premium style beers that do not commonly have a screw cap. So what was wide group has now been whittled down to a fraction that will find the gift useful. The Venn diagram below shows this concept quite nicely:

Venn Diagram of impact of Keyring Bottle Opener

So while many other people will also accept the gift, only a percentage will see their item often, and most will be put on the spare keys, or worse, the kitchen draw! With keyring bottle openers, and many similar promotional items, adding a further complication is the fact that the group that are going to be most interested in your promotional gift are those most likely to already have an alternative already, thus increasing your competition!

By increasing the functional base of your chosen item you can obviously spread your message much wider and by making it suit the needs of a wider percentage of that audience you can increase awareness further. Using products that are adjustable or have a one-size-fits all aspect are clearly more valuable in these circumstances.

Next > Adding value to the customer