We all are aware that the disposable plastic straws you get at McDonald’s and Starbucks are killing sea turtles and littering our streets. They need to be done away with. We are trying to get rid of all forms of plastics in our daily lives. But, this straw thing comes across my desk at least once a week. Either someone is asking what I think about reusable straws as a swag item or a new vendor popped up and is trying to sell them to me…or rather, my clients.
I am a really great gate keeper for my clients. Ridiculous and cheap promotional products pop up in my inbox like the lottery number balls and I selectively grab the winning numbers to show. The standards I have for corporate gifts, the things I’ll let represent your brand…that’s a high bar. These items are useful, they are often retail, they are high quality and on trend. What doesn’t make it past my inbox and to my clients are items that I believe to be a waste of money. Not one of my clients, even those at Microsoft, can afford to be wasteful of their marketing dollars.
Back to straws for gifts. Sure, straws can maybe be useful…and everyone is trying to give way something branded that can be used and enjoyed. But, as a woman, battling Father Time is challenging enough without throwing straws into the mix. I have never understood them being used on anything thinner than a milkshake. They leave the worst wrinkles around your mouth, ones that to smooth out would require injections and leave me expressionless…so, two things I was taught: wear sunglasses to prevent crow’s feet and don’t use straws, they cause upper lip wrinkles.
In analyzing the straw giveaways on the market now, you have quite a few options. The metal ones…those that may cause a Christmas Story tongue situation if you’re not careful, and even if you are, you still may be gouged in your gums by a metal rod…are not really the safe bet. Who uses these? Metal isn’t something I want in my mouth, let alone between my teeth! Getting one of these as a gift would be confusing. Does the gift giver want me to chip a tooth? Not sure that anyone put too much thought into metal straws other than to replace something we don’t really need.
Collapsable ones are the worst of the metal offenders. These fall into your drinks pretty quickly. At a trade show, I stood for 3 minutes watching as the manufacturer was trying to get their “nice” collapsable straw that can take a full color imprint (known to last at most 6 months) to stand in a cup. Needless to say, I walked away before the poor woman could get the straw to stay standing. Even if this is their sample straw that gets handled at conventions and trade shows, it is still proving non-functional. A useable promotional product by my standards is something that benefits my life in some way and lasts me more than a year.
Then you have the paper options. These taste and smell like cardboard. The ones that can last an entire drink are still breaking down and putting paper (and possibly ink) particles in my drink. I haven’t sampled one that lasts me a whole drink because I drink very slowly. Especially with a straw. Especially through a straw that tastes like cardboard. So, timed in water…there was a straw that didn’t completely unravel by the end of an hour. I still wouldn’t use it.
Silicone straws may be your best option, but imprinting is pretty impossible on silicone. We’ve worked with a lot of the material and every time, we’ve created custom molds for our clients to be able to brand these giveaways.
I’ve yet to try a wooden straw, but I’m over straws for the time being.