The Marketing Emmys: Our Picks for the Best Business Strategies

Just in case you don’t keep up with award shows like I do, the 64th Annual Primetime Emmys happened recently. There were sweeps, there were upsets, and more Modern Family awards than you could shake a stick at.

But there’s a huge emphasis on acting. And reality shows.

So where are the awards for best use of promotional products? Or best entrepreneur business strategy? Clearly those shows should receive awards for portraying smart (or terrible) marketing campaigns!

Fear not. Thorough my extensive TV watching research, I have hand-selected the TV shows that will take home QLP’s top honors for the best and worst business moves on television.

Best Marketing Strategy (Mid/Large Company)Best Marketing Strategy (Mid/Large Company)

Winner: The Office

Reason: The team at Dunder Mifflin/Sabre had all kinds of ups and downs last season, but they shined brightest while launching a brick-and-mortar store in Florida. Taking their cues from Apple, they made the grand opening a true spectacle, had a sparse but welcoming layout, and invited tons of technology bloggers.


Best Marketing Strategy (Entrepreneur/Startup)Best Marketing Strategy (Entrepreneur/Startup)

Winner: Sherlock

Reason: Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are a startup dream team. Sherlock has the crime-solving knowledge and John has the business know how. Watson pushes the team forward by making sure they find cases, accept money, handle their customers with grace, and keeping an active blog about their business.


Craziest PR Move (Mid/Large Company)Craziest PR Move (Mid/Large Company)

Winner: The Office

Reason: While opening this brick-and-mortar store, the team from the Office wanted to make sure that they entered the technology business with a bang. Dwight gives specific roles to his employees: Erin pretends to be a hipster to interest a young crowd, Cathy is tasked with flirting with all of the bloggers, and Jim has to don a bizarre costume and give a presentation a la Steve Jobs (but with a lot more pizazz).


Craziest PR Move (Entrepreneur/Startup)Craziest PR Move (Entrepreneur/Startup)

Winner: 2 Broke Girls

Reason: The in season finale, Caroline and Max find out that Martha Stewart is going to be a fancy party. Determined to get the homemaker maven to try their cupcakes, they head to the party, disguise themselves as the wait staff, and roll a food storage unit all the way to the bathroom. Their determination paid off, though! They met Martha in the bathroom and she obligingly tried their cupcake.


Best Business CollaborationBest Business Collaboration

Winner: Community

Reason: When a retail food area in the Greendale Community College lunch room becomes available, one of the study group members proposes opening up a sandwich shop. She pitches her business plan, but the college ultimately chooses to partner with Subway. The big brand name draws a lot of business (and a highly hilarious episode later).


Best Personal BrandBest Personal Brand

Winner: Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother

Reason: The competition for best personal brand was tough this year. The nominees were Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation, Schmidt from New Girl, Rachel Berry from Glee, Taco from The League, and Barney. All of these characters possess a strong personal brand, but Barney’s brand is truly the stuff of legend. (He also got bonus points for breaking out of his comfort zone more than once last season.)


Best Use of Promotional ProductsBest Use of Promotional Products

Winner: Royal Pains

Reason: Evan, the CFO of concierge medicine practice Hank Med, books the team to man a booth during a summer festival. He makes sure that their company logo is on a bunch of first aid kits and bandage-shaped magnets and hands them out to whomever he encounters. He accompanies these promo items with a quick elevator pitch about their business. But since Royal Pains has nailed promotional products before, this award wasn’t much of a surprise.


Worst Use of Promotional ProductsWorst Use of Promotional Products

Winner: Parks and Recreation

Reason: Early last season, Tom Haverford decides to quit the parks department to start an entertainment company with his friend, Jean-Ralphio. In addition to the flaws in their business plan, they use promo items completely wrong. They have a small budget, but they customize dozens of different big-ticket items and then go around and hand them out to their friends instead of potential clients.


Lifetime Achievement AwardLifetime Achievement Award

Winner: The Office

Reason: Even though the Office just started their ninth and final season, this award is not just for the longevity of their show. It’s also because the producers on the show were smart to order from Quality Logo Products. In one episode of the seventh season, one of the characters gave a phone company a fake name to get a free stress ball. And those stress relievers came from us! I applaud the smart business sense of the producers and am happy to present them with this award.


And there you have it; the winners of the 2012 Marketing Emmy Awards!

Let’s congratulate all of our nominees on a TV season well done. And to the runnerups, there’s always next year!

Were you surprised by any of the outcomes? Any show that you were rooting for? Pleased that Homeland and Modern Family didn’t win anything else?


Mandy Kilinskis

Mandy is proud to be a part of QLP’s content team. A self-professed nerd, her interests include video games, sitcoms, superhero movies, iPods and iPhones but never Macs, and shockingly, writing. Her claims to fame are: owning over forty pairs of Chuck Taylor All Stars, offering spot-on coffee advice, and knowing an unbelievable amount of Disney Princess facts. You can connect with Mandy on


  1. Rachel

    Go Sherlock go! If the show couldn’t win any normal Emmys, at least it got a QLP-flavored one. 🙂 Fun post, Mandy — congrats to all the winners! (Best not tell any of the runner-ups in the “Best Personal Brand” category that they lost, though; I think they’d all have something to say about that … ;))

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      I am honestly surprised that Sherlock didn’t win anything. I guess I didn’t realize that Homeland was such a tour de force! What it lacks in Emmy-likability it more than makes up for in startup tips!

      And no, I wouldn’t dare tell any of those runner-ups. They would not be happy with me whatsoever.

  2. Eric

    Trying to think if “Mad Men” has ever featured any, that is, any appropriate to the time period. Matchbooks, maybe? I can’t imagine making any ROI when you’re gifting away cases of rye with your business card attached to them, so there must’ve been something. Hmm…

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      I’m pretty sure that when you’re a show about an advertising agency that has spear-headed an entire resurgence of style and nostalgia…you’re a little above my marketing Emmys. (Also might have something to do with the fact that I have yet to see an episode. 🙁 )

  3. Jenna Markowski

    This was a very fun post, Mandy! I think your nominees and winners were all spot-on and completely fair (*cough* unlike the real Emmy’s *cough*). Naturally The Office wins the lifetime achievement award for ordering from us…but maybe another one of our favorite shows will knock them out of that slot eventually (fingers crossed!). Another nominee for the worst use of promo items could definitely go to Dean Pelton for the defective imprinted condoms he gave away at the STD fair!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Great point, Jenna! Dean Pelton is definitely in the running for worst use of a promo item! It was a really good idea to have imprinted condoms for their STD awareness week…but they should’ve stuck to imprinting on the wrappers instead of the actual condoms. Whoops! Maybe next time, Greendale! 🙂

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