Helpline

Samuel Solley takes the hassle out of finding the right product or service - you ask the question, he'll provide the answer.

GET INTO CHARACTER

Q: Over recent weeks, I have noticed a fantastic Christmas display at Milton Keynes' shopping centre and would love to arrange something similar for next year. Can you recommend a company that would be able to supply costume characters with a seasonal theme?

A: The Snowman characters in the Milton Keynes skating rink display were all supplied by Rainbow Productions (020 8545 0700), which represents hundreds of licensed characters, including the cast of The Snowman.

Rainbow is acknowledged throughout Europe as an expert in licensed costume characters and tailored brand mascots. With almost a year to play with, time is certainly on your side .

GYM JOY

Q: As a corporate new year resolution to get fit, we want to create a gym in the basement of our offices. Is it possible to get branded fitness equipment?

A: You couldn't do better than Mighty Mast Leisure (01375 385 020). For the past 15 years it has been best known for its branded pool and football table games, but Mighty Mast also makes fitness equipment, which can be branded with images and logos.

A comprehensive range of kit includes everything from a full multi-gym to benches, cycles, weights and bars - and all goods are covered by a warranty.

DIGITAL DALLIANCE

Q: My production manager is trying to persuade me that we should switch to digital printing to improve the targeting of our communications. Will the upheaval be worth it?

A: Almost certainly, because digital technology can help reduce costs, improve work flow and shorten turnaround time.

Print-on-demand technology reduces time and waste, and keeps your literature up to date all the time. One of the best operators, MTA Digital (020 8699 1811), will be happy to give you chapter and verse.

BRANDED BLIMPS

Q: We are planning a few big outdoor events next year and would like to investigate the idea of a couple of those massive, blimp-style inflatables. Can you suggest where to get one from?

A: A giant, helium-filled blimp can be an excellent outdoor site marker, and both ABC Inflatables (01295 278 600) and Eclipse UK (01733 237 691) could help you.

Both ABC and Eclipse will design and, if necessary, operate your blimp for you. If it is for a one-off event, you could rent one and brand it with your own artwork on detachable banners.

Blimps can also provide a stable advertising platform for a store or service, which can be seen for miles and can be used on a more permanent basis.

- Tel 020 8267 4305 or email marketing.helpline@haynet.com.

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