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Old Trophy, New Tricks

John Stangle, CRM, Creative Awards & Screen Printing
President, Awards and Personalization Association


(July/August 2022) I received a phone call the other day, with the caller wanting to know if we had any trophies. I told her, “Yes, we do!” She said she was looking for an unusual trophy, something to do with dogs. I told her we had dog figures available. She further explained that she was looking for an inexpensive trophy for a fundraiser. Sound familiar so far? She then said it could be something we had lying around, like a discontinued or leftover trophy. By now I’m thinking to myself, “How do I get rid of this call politely?”

She then told me she was raising money for Beauties & Beast Dog Rescue, an organization I am familiar with. They didn’t care what the trophy was because they were going to give it to some volunteers to reinvent the trophy and make something crazy. This was my “aha!” moment. I remembered that an old military customer once donated a handful of running/marathon trophies. I told the woman from the rescue organization that I had a couple trophies to give her, all she had to was come in and pick them up.

Several weeks went by, and I had forgot all about the “large donation.” One day out of the blue, I received a thank-you note in the mail. The note had two small photos and a brief explanation. I looked at the photo and saw that they painted most of the columns and figures pink. One smaller trophy had a baseball on the top of the riser that the rescue organization painted to look exactly like a tennis ball.

The two-column runner’s trophy had been painted as well. I noticed they had left the runner on top—then I saw they had attached a teeny, tiny beer mug in the runner’s hand. I just lost it at how funny and cool they had made a secondhand trophy look. The inscription inside of the note explained how this was such a fun event for the volunteers to work on and that they had raised over $13,000.

I was truly blown away (I’m not crying, you are!) thinking about how this dusty trophy that was one step away from being thrown out was able to be “worth so much.” After all, the trophies might have helped save a dog’s life—or saved several dogs. It was a friendly nudge that, even though we may get discouraged about customers at points, we can sometimes turn these little events into something special.

Just a reminder: As you are talking to your friendly competitor on the other side of town or as you type to a new Facebook friend that’s in the industry, take a moment to ask if they have heard of APA. Tell them how much APA has helped your business, and pass along our website, Have them explore all the free content and suggest to them that they should join to unlock all of the other wonderful information—and maybe even come to the 2023 Expo next February. It will be here before you know it! 

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