Marketers: Get in touch with your audience

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Promotional products are more popular than ever, based on data from a 2016 consumer survey conducted by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). The survey respondents were evenly split between men and women, and included millennials (43 percent), generation X (35 percent), baby boomers (19 percent), and the “silent generation” of older adults (3 percent).
Overall, 89 percent of the adult consumers surveyed reported receiving a promotional product within the last six months, an increase from previous years.
Key survey findings include:
–85 percent of individuals said they remembered the branding and 76 percent recalled messaging from at least one promotional product.
–82 percent of individuals said their impression of the brand changed for the better as a direct result of receiving a promotional product from that brand.
–79 percent of individuals said they looked up a brand and 83 percent said they would be more likely to do business with a brand after receiving a promotional product.
–All age groups rated promotional products as the most effective way to encourage consumers to take action with regard to the brand.
PPAI used five metrics to evaluate the participants’ responses to promotional products: Reach, Recall, Resonance, Reaction and Relativity.
Reach: Refers to the length, frequency, and range of exposure of a consumer to a brand. For example, 79 percent of consumers will pass along a promotional product, whether or not they use it themselves, which extends the brand’s reach. In addition, the survey found that 23 percent of men and 13 percent of women would keep a promotional product for up to 11 years or longer.
Recall: Refers to whether a consumer remembers a product. According to the survey, 85 percent of consumers could recall the branding of at least one promotional product, with some prompting; 76 percent remembered the message; and 71 percent remembered a call to action associated with the product.
Resonance: The survey results suggest that consumers feel engaged with promotional products on a personal level: 71 percent described their emotional connection to promotional products as “happy.”
Reaction: A positive response to advertising is more likely to generate the desired reaction, and 79 percent (87 percent of millennials) reported being curious enough to take further action after receiving a promotional product.
Relativity: Consumers across all age groups said they preferred visually appealing advertising with a clear message, and that promotional products were the most effective medium.
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Yes, Olivia, There Is a Santa, and He’s Calling You

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Think there’s almost a conspiracy out there to squelch your child’s belief in Santa Claus? Technology can help you fight back.
For years the big guy in red has had to contend with aggressive pushback from the PC crowd who apparently wish he’d just pack up his sleigh and stay home in the North Pole. Department stores were pressured to nix their Santa stand-ins. Schools changed their calendars to say “winter holidays” instead of Christmas. And let’s not even talk about the damage done to his image by Billy Bob Thornton’s “Bad Santa” movies.
Santa, being Santa, could keep right on ho-hoing when lesser immortals would’ve sicked their elves on them.
But you?
Clearly, just quoting pro-Santa experts like Professor Jacqueline Woolley, chair of the Psychology Department at the University of Texas at Austin, wasn’t going to cut it. “Believing in impossible beings such as Santa Claus may exercise children’s counterfactual reasoning skills,” she’s written. “The kind of thinking involved in imagining how nine reindeer could fly through the sky carrying a heavy sleigh may well be the same kind of thinking required for imagining a solution to global warming or a way to cure a disease.”
Which is where a website called comes in.
First started a decade ago as a pure labor of love by the husband-and-wife team of Dale and Carey Gruber operating out of their home in suburban Washington Township, Michigan, the business has grown to the point where it now includes a 21st-century app — downloadable at the iTunes and Android App Stores — that lets users worldwide personalize a phone call to their kids from none other than Santa himself.
As in, say, “So! Olivia, I couldn’t be prouder of you for being such a good girl! And I’ll see you soon.”
And completing the effect for tech-savvy kids: Both their own and Santa’s name and photo appear on their smartphone’s call screen (with the call shown as originating from the “North Pole Workshop”).
“The reason we continue to do this is that it often seems like there’s an effort to take the joy out of Christmas,” explains Dale Gruber, who’s also a graphic artist. “Whereas we think a child’s innocent belief in Santa is something worth fostering.”
You can watch a video here. But know the site offers three different packages at very affordable prices — all also include a letter from Santa and a personalized Santa video — and feature items like Christmas cocoa, “genuine reindeer food,” and a tin of Mrs. Claus’ Famous Sugar Cookies.
In fact, so popular has become that celebrity fans like Sarah Palin, Bristol Palin, and reality TV star Kim Kolciak Biermann have taken to social media to sing its praises this Christmas season.
Think of it as Santa’s ultimate ho-ho.

Three Innovative Twists to Our Favorite Sandwiches

(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – However you stack ’em or slice ’em, everyone loves a good sandwich — especially when it incorporates healthy ingredients. Americans everywhere are looking for quick solutions on making healthy diet choices, and many will be happy to hear that this doesn’t require a whole meal overhaul. In honor of National Sandwich Day on November 3rd, here are some fun twists on sandwich classics that can help you incorporate easy ingredients for guilt-proof lunch solutions.* PB&J Quesadilla: PB&J’s are an American favorite. To cut down on the high fat, calorie and sugar counts in typical peanut butter and jelly, sub in almond butter paired with fiber-full fresh strawberries and bananas. Wrap it all up in a whole wheat tortilla to cut carbs, throw it on a skillet and make your taste buds sizzle.* Wild Turkey: According to a recent study, turkey takes the cake for America’s most popular sandwich, but can sometimes get a bad rep if it’s piled up with fatty toppings. For a healthy new take on the classic club, ditch the fattening mayonnaise and bacon and trade it with almond butter and apple slices instead. This healthy upgrade also lends some crunch and sweetness to your sandwich.And remember: not all meats are created equal. Look for turkey that is lower in sodium and fat, without sacrificing flavor. Simply Delicious Slow Roasted Turkey Breast from Land O’ Frost is a great option and certified by the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Food Certification Program, making it the perfect option for you and your family.* Green Grilled Cheese: Get your daily dose of greens and dairy with this healthy spin on everyone’s greasy, guilty pleasure. Pack your grilled cheese with avocado, spinach, pesto and parsley for a substantially more nutritious and flavorful sandwich. Better yet, substitute your go-to, boring deli cheese, with goat cheese, which is extra creamy and surprisingly low-cal. Feel free to experiment with any of your favorite veggies — it’s what’s on the inside that counts, right?This National Sandwich Day, try out any of these creative transformations with your family, or use your imagination to invent a new, unique concoction of your own. For coupons and healthy recipe ideas for the whole family, visit

Backpack Offers Instant Drink Discreetly At the Push of a Button

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – Carrying drinks conveniently and discreetly remains a challenge, but the latest design from Genie Bags can grant the wish of anyone looking to carry and tap into the drink of your choice while on the go.
The “T-Bag” is a new patent-pending tea, water (or other beverage) – dispensing backpack. It’s easy to use, effective, refillable and discreet; just lift the flap, open the spout, and quench your thirst at will. The backpack is available in camouflage or khaki in a durable nylon fabric that complements a range of casual outfits appropriate for a vast variety of activities. The straps are designed to be easy to adjust and comfortable to wear. The target audience for the T-Bag includes college students, athletes on the go, busy moms, and friends meeting to catch up.
The T-Bag joins the Genie Bags product line of elegant and functional beverage-carrier handbags: Cosmo, NY Nights, and Pinot. Each holds the beverage of your choice in a safe, durable, stylish carrier.
The unique design of the T-Bags allows for a discreet, stylish and practical transport vehicle for any beverage to a concert, sports event, movie theater, or anywhere else where it might be convenient or otherwise difficult to bring your drink of choice.
The line of T-Bags and Genie Bags were the invention of entrepreneur Beth Walters, a consummate designer with a flair for innovation and design and a desire for instant gratification when it comes to accessing her beverage of choice. Her motivation: a desire to combine necessity and convenience while maintaining class and dignity. But the added value of the Genie Bags line includes the potential for significant cost savings. The money you save can add up by bringing your own 2-liters of liquid to an event instead of paying a marked-up drink price set by the venue, and you don’t have to wait for a waiter.
Another benefit that comes with buying a Genie Bag: supporting a worthy cause. A portion of all sales of Genie Bags goes to help support disabled veterans and others in need through a partnership between Genie Bags and the Gift of Health Foundation.
For more details and product information, visit or contact

Bringing the Family Together At the Dinner Table

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – If you are like most families, the stress of having kids and maintaining hectic schedules, can heat up the happiest of households in no time — especially when it comes to trying to decide what to have for dinner.
However, with a little planning and some cooperation, even the busiest family can find time to sit down and enjoy a meal together.
The following tips will give you an idea of how you can streamline the dinner process, while squeezing in some much-needed family time:
* Get the whole household involved. Not only on chores like washing and drying dishes, but on tasting and choosing the menus.
* Schedule a mock cooking class. If you want to get family members involved, make time on a weekend for a prepping and cooking session, where everyone can share knife skills, recipes, and other culinary lessons.
* Do a taste test. Let’s face it, every family has that one member who’s finicky. To combat that, have them weigh in for taste tests. This way, you can plan to cook that dish in bulk.
* Strive for leftovers. Whoever is cooking can make extra of anything that’s a hit with family members and store leftovers in the fridge or freezer. Two roasted chickens (instead of one) are great for hot or cold sandwiches, soup, salad, and great filler for fajitas or burritos.
To help you get started, the maker of Minute Rice is giving out this one-stop shopping, anyone-can-make recipe:
15 Minute Chicken and Rice Dinner
1 tablespoon oil
4 small, boneless, skinless
chicken breast halves
1 can condensed cream of
chicken soup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 cups Minute White Rice,
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cover. Cook 4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned on both sides. Remove chicken from skillet.
Add soup, water, and chicken broth to skillet; stir. Bring to boil.
Stir in rice, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Top with chicken; cover. Cook on low heat 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. (170 degrees). Let sit 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley, if desired.
Substitute: For a whole-grain alternative, use Minute Brown Rice for the Minute White Rice and cook an additional 5 minutes.
Yield: 4 servings.
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Family Has a Home: TV Network Has Something for Everyone

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – In a world that thrives on bad news and sensationalized storytelling, it can be difficult to find programming consisting of genuine and authentic shows about family.
Research suggests that 42 million adults are looking for programming with family in mind.
Enter UP TV, a network whose mantra is We Get Family, and is staying true to its brand by ushering in shows that bring adult viewers all the fun, dysfunction and love that defines the modern American family.
“With family as our framework, we are filling a void in the media landscape as the brand families trust most to bring them positive programming,” said Charley Humbard, president and chief executive officer, UP.
That is how UP is finding its niche with families — through its brand. From shows about a single mom to parents with sextuplets to a family with 19 kids, UP is all about relatable and entertaining storytelling.
“We believe family, whether through blood, friendship or community, provides us with the most emotional and memorable experiences in our lives. It’s a journey with highs and lows and everything in between.”
No doubt, with an endless array of choices, it can be difficult to find good, authentic, entertaining stories that viewers can feel great about watching. UP seems to have found its footing through original programming such as Growing Up McGhee, Bringing Up Bates, and Jo Frost: Nanny On Tour, as well as syndicated series such as Parenthood, Gilmore Girls and America’s Funniest Home Videos.
And for those who are looking specifically for family and faith-affirming content, UP has a subscription-on-demand offering, UP Faith & Family.
For more information, please visit

April Fools’ Fake Out: How to Sneak Healthy Twists Into Kids’ Favorites

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – As a busy working mom to two young children, Tamera Mowry-Housley, co-host of TV’s “The Real,” understands the daily challenge of juggling her time between home and work. However, family time is of the utmost importance to her, and she still sets aside time to cook meals with her family almost every night. She encourages other parents to reclaim family dinner nights, and there’s no better time to start than summer, when the days are longer and the weather is perfect for backyard dinners.
While it may sound daunting and time-consuming to prepare dinner after a long day at work, it doesn’t have to be. To make cooking easier, the RAGU brand has launched its new line of RAGU Homestyle sauces that have a heartier texture and a bolder flavor. Even the most demanding home cooks would be proud to serve new RAGU Homestyle sauces to their family, including Mowry-Housley.
“I’m a busy mom, but I make it a priority to set aside time to unplug and connect with my family over a meal almost every day — products like RAGU Homestyle sauces help me do that quickly and easily,” said Mowry-Housely. She partnered with the makers of RAGU because dishes made with quality ingredients are must-haves at her family’s table, year round.
RAGU Homestyle Sauces contain no artificial colors, no artificial flavors and no high-fructose corn syrup. “The great ingredients and made-from-scratch taste make me feel good about serving RAGU Homestyle pasta sauce to my friends and family,” added Mowry-Housley.
With its new line of sauces, the RAGU brand is honoring its rich heritage by using the tried-and-true cooking methods inspired by its founder, Assunta Cantisano, who started selling homemade pasta sauce in 1937. Made from a bold combination of vine-ripened tomatoes, onions and fragrant herbs and spices such as basil, oregano, fennel and ground black pepper, the ingredients are peeled, chopped and simmered to perfection. The result is a thicker and heartier sauce that hugs pasta perfectly, making it an easy choice for family meals.
With the variety of sauces available — Traditional, Meat, Mushroom, Roasted Garlic and Four Cheese — there are many summer-inspired dishes you can create. For recipe inspiration, Mowry-Housley recommends watching a delicious grilled chicken parmesan and zucchini noodles recipe video featuring RAGU Homestyle Traditional. The recipe was developed by lifestyle influencer Dzung Duong of the popular YouTube channel “Honeysuckle,” and can be found here:
For more information and additional recipe inspiration, check out and follow along on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.

A Delicious and Warm Pear Salad for Winter

(NewsUSA) – Sponsored News – The cold, blistering months can take a toll on our mental and physical health, but a colorful mix of seasonal ingredients can keep you going strong until springtime.Honey sweet roasted pears and tangy balsamic lentils are tossed with winter greens to make this simple and balanced meal, packed full of essential nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, antioxidants, folate and iron."Combining the refreshing flavors of fruits and vegetables, this satisfying salad is soul-warming comfort food at its best," says Kathy Stephenson, marketing communications director for USA Pears. "Roasted pears on a bed of greens with lentils capture the lively promise of springtime and the nourishment our bodies crave this time of year."Serve salad warm. If you desire a little more richness, try topping the salad with long curls of parmesan cheese.Warm Winter Greens with Balsamic Lentils and Roasted PearsIngredients:* 2 bunches of winter greens, washed, dried and torn into large piecesLentils:* 2 teaspoons olive oil* 1 small sweet onion, cut into half rings* 1/2 teaspoon salt* freshly ground black pepper* 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar* 3/4 cup brown lentils, rinsed* 1 cup cold waterRoasted Pears:* 2 firm, ripe Anjou pears* 2 teaspoons olive oil* 2 teaspoons honey* 6-8 sage leaves, tornPreheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare greens and transfer to large bowl. Place saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil, onions, salt and pepper, and saute until onions begin to caramelize. Add vinegar to deglaze pan, stirring to pick up bits that may be stuck to the bottom. Cook until vinegar reduces and pan is nearly dry, about 3 minutes. Add lentils and water, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15-18 minutes, or until lentils are al dente.Spread pears onto sheet pan. Stir olive oil and honey together and drizzle over pears. Add sage leaves, toss pears gently with mixture and transfer to oven. Roast pears for 12-15 minutes, or until just tender.When lentils are done, pour atop the winter greens while still hot. Using tongs, toss lentils and greens together until greens are softened and glossy. Transfer mixture to a clean bowl and drizzle with more olive oil. Top the warm salad with roasted pears and sage leaves. Serve immediately. 

Welcome Winter’s Chill With the Taste of Fresh Pears

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Winter is here. While thoughts of orchards hanging heavy with fruit may feel like a distant memory, fresh, U.S.-grown pears are at their prime. This year’s pear crop — as many as 10 varieties — are in stores now, and abundant throughout the winter months.
Eating nutrient-packed pears as a snack or as part of a meal is a great way to meet the daily recommendation of fruit this season. Sweet and juicy with no fat, no sodium and no cholesterol, pears are an excellent source of fiber (24 percent Daily Value) and a good source of vitamin C (10 percent DV) for only 100 calories per medium-sized pear.
In addition, a recent study revealed new information regarding the health benefits of pear consumption. The study found that adult pear consumers had a lower body weight than non-pear consumers, and they were 35 percent less likely to be obese.
Fresh, earthy pears are a portable, wholesome treat and a perfect addition to sweet and savory dishes. These chicken and crunchy pear lettuce wraps combine crisp Anjou pears with lean, protein-rich ground chicken for a budget- and family-friendly winter meal.
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 2 tablespoons peanut oil
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 1-1/2 tablespoons grated ginger root
* 6 scallions, thinly sliced, green and white parts separated
* 1 pound ground chicken, dark meat
* 1 tablespoon chili sauce
* 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
* 2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 1 USA Pear, such as Red Anjou or Bosc, peeled, cored and cut in matchsticks
* Toasted sesame oil to taste
* 12 large tender lettuce leaves, such as bib, butter or red leaf
* Cilantro sprigs
In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of water to form a smooth paste and set aside. Warm the peanut oil in a skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and white parts of the scallion and stir-fry until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, stirring frequently until it breaks into small pieces and is no longer pink, about 8 minutes.
Add the chili sauce, hoisin sauce and soy sauce, stirring to combine and evenly distribute the ingredients. Add the reserved cornstarch slurry and stir until the sauce is clear. Finish with the reserved scallion greens, pear matchsticks and a splash of sesame oil.
To serve:
Place a heaping tablespoon of filling in the middle of a lettuce leaf with a few cilantro leaves, if desired. Wrap the lettuce around the contents and eat.
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A Hard Makeover for America’s First Soft Drink

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Is ginger ale the world’s most evolved beverage? It has been enjoyed as a mixer for many liquors, a tonic for the queasy and a stand-alone refreshment. Over time, its variations have been many, but there’s no doubt this libation has serious staying power.
Today, deep into the 21st century, what is commonly considered America’s first soft drink is evolving again by receiving a hard makeover. “Spiked,” or hard ginger ales infused with alcohol, are making their way onto store shelves. Craft beer companies, such as Brooklyn, New York-based Coney Island Brewing Co., are noticing the demand to return to one’s roots and are playing on these nostalgic beverages with quality ingredients as this trend in the craft beer scene grows.
Dating back to nearly three centuries ago in Ireland, ginger ale’s first incarnation can best be described as a homemade tonic consisting of sugar water and a healthy heaping of ginger root. By the mid-1800s, it was barrel-aged into a golden beverage with a sweet, bubbly texture and a ginger punch. By the time ginger ale crossed the Atlantic into the United States, it evolved still, receiving new life during Prohibition. During this period, ginger ale, in all of its golden, dry effervescence, served as an ideal mixer to mask powerful, bootlegged liquors. Beyond the Prohibition era, ginger ale’s hold over consumers stood firm, and thanks to dry ginger ale pioneer and Canada Dry brewer John McLaughlin, this version of the drink — which consumers know and love today — became a fixture in grocery stores.
“We launched our Hard Root Beer this summer and the response was unprecedented,” said Chris Adams, brewery operations manager for Coney Island Brewing Company. “We knew we would appeal to the tastes of craft beer drinkers if, like with Hard Root Beer, we created hard craft sodas that are both delicious and nostalgic, and we are excited to be doing that once more with our recent Hard Ginger Ale and Hard Orange Cream Ale.”
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