Q Can you tell me where to go for helium balloons for promotional


A One particularly effective way of using balloons for marketing

purposes is as hand-outs to children in a store, thereby encouraging

others in the shopping area to pay a visit. Once inside, parents will

hopefully take the opportunity to make a few purchases. Such promotions

are usually mounted by manufacturers, but the retailer can also be

involved by putting its logo on the balloon.

B-Loony (01494 774376) will provide a full service, or give you the

balloons and pumps for your staff to handle. Latex rubber balloons are

cheap and cheerful, whereas foil ones are stronger but cost more.

Air-filled balloons will last for two days; gas gives a more dramatic

effect, but escapes after eight hours. Allow about 1000 balloons per

store. The firm says the huge number of variables makes it impractical

to offer cost estimates, but this item clearly isn’t going to break

anyone’s bank.

Additional contacts: Jumbo Inflatables, 01926 311145; Everts, 01724

282525; Fantasia Balloons, 01279 871444.


Q Can you help us to source and cost promotional mousemats?

A Elaborate Creations says full-colour A3 mousemats are the most

popular, quoting pounds 1.65 for 250 and pounds 1.18 for 1000, becoming

progressively cheaper for bulk orders. Set-up charges are pounds


As with normal printing, any photograph or computer-generated image can

be used for the design.

Simple text-setting is free, but allow about pounds 50 for scans or

anything time-consuming.

Mats with a gloss surface can double as desk jotters for use with marker

pens that wipe clean. They are made from polycarbonate with a foam


Contact Elaborate Creations on 01252 378637.

Pinfold Promotions offers various shapes, and has just devised a

mousemat for the Worthington Cup in the form of a scroll (above).

Standard thickness is 3.5mm, but it also supplies 5.5mm mats. Contact

01159 655564, or try Britstick, 01727 847443.


Q We are a new internet-based company launching in six weeks’ time and

are looking for a company to help us set up the software and send secure

documents electronically.

A Telelink offers a complete e-commerce solutions service, including

catalogue development advice, web design, response and fulfilment, and

warehouse storage, as well as database cleansing and outbound

telemarketing. The firm can complete online sales, and has its own data

processing and call centres.

Telelink advises that an online catalogue should be backed up with a

printed version to start with, but customers will increasingly use the

internet for choosing as well as ordering items.

To get a catalogue out to the market would cost between pounds 50,000

and pounds 150,000, depending on the quality of the pictures, paper and

number of copies.

The cost of consultancy varies from pounds 200-pounds 1500 per day, and

set-up charges for fulfilment will vary from pounds 800-pounds 5000.

Start-ups can pay pounds 2.50-pounds 4 per order, but established firms

will prefer a fixed contract.

Contact Telelink on 01329 331331, or try Sureline Marketing 01903

231906; Arden Direct Marketing, 01455 852242; or Allied Marketing, 01189



Q We are looking for a mini-casino to amuse 40 or 50 people at

networking events.

A 1 Entertainment can lay on a variety of gambling tables, complete with

croupiers. The most popular are roulette and black jack, followed by

dice games, pontoon, and a ’wheel of fortune.’ Guests play with chips

’bought’ with specially printed high-denomination notes.

Prizes can range from a bottle of champagne upwards: the winner at a

recent event hosted by a travel company managed to pick up a holiday to

Hong Kong.

The firm quotes pounds 250 for one table and pounds 350-pounds 450 for

two, depending on which games are chosen. Two tables would be sufficient

for 50-70 people, especially if the event involves other elements such

as a disco.

For larger occasions, a casino manager might be useful to oversee


Short-notice bookings are possible; for maximum availability allow two

months or more. Contact 01322 384706


E-mail enquiries to Susan Moffat at


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