Marketing departments of businesses have discovered another use for colored rubber bracelets other than as “awareness bracelets”: they are a cost-efficient, no hassle and high ROI (return on investment) method of advertising. Even American Peace Corps personnel and volunteers are sporting these wristbands which have become effective message conveyors.
Any product, brand or idea which is in need of publicity would benefit tremendously by employing these rubber bracelets as they have indispensable marketing collateral. Print advertising is gradually losing its hold on business because of the high costs it entails to produce and sustain. Unlike other promotional merchandise such as mugs, key chains, pens and umbrellas, colored rubber wristbands don’t just have novelty but an inspiring history behind it from when cyclist and testicular cancer survivor Lance Armstrong and Nike joined forces and came up with the yellow custom rubber wristbands emblazoned with the words “Livestrong,” printed as one word. Since then, they have become the top choice of non-profits as their “awareness tool.”
Their potential to reach out to many people as seemingly walking billboards for various causes and advocacies has gained a niche market for silicone rubber bracelets faster than for other traditional awareness tools such as t-shirts. And because rubber wristbands are relatively lower priced than similarly-featured merchandise, they have easily transitioned from being awareness tools to marketing collaterals to fashion statements. They are now all-encompassing, all-purpose factors that help spread awareness, bring in monetary profits and enhance outfits as accessories. More than just a few celebrities such as actors Liam Hemsworth and musician Tuomas Holopainen have been photographed wearing these colored rubber bracelets so have athletes like Josh Beckett of the Boston Red Sox, politicians like Arizona Senator John McCain and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
The fact that even icons are not above wearing them spell out the situation clearly: these rubber gel wrist accessories are powerful messengers and dynamic attention getters. Remember Havaianas flip-flops and their “Design Your Havaianas” marketing campaign? A customer buys a pair of the Brazilian-made flip-flops and gets to design his or her new Havaianas any which way, sequined, beaded, hand-painted, with glitters, matte, in neon colors, the works. The same could be done for these silicone wristbands as well, but as of date, there’s no charitable organization, advocacy or cause-oriented group who has done this on a large scale.
But perhaps somebody reading this will go out and do “Design Your Own Rubber Wristband” for some good cause, maybe even using the use of laser printers or some other high technology gadget. Commercial manufacturers, though, would do well with constant innovations of the technologies they use to make these bracelets in order to keep the interest in them sustained. To go the way of other trends which hog the limelight for the 15 minutes of fame they originally only desired is a setback which would leave so many searching for another marketing initiative. There is the reality that, since they have become ubiquitous, these colored rubber bracelets might suffer potential saturation if not marketed with discretion.