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DOG TAGS: THE NEXT GREAT PROMOTIONAL PRODUCT

Today dog tags with names, logos and messages have moved into the civilian population in a big way. From wedding and party favors to tradeshows and religious events these customized dog tags are gaining in popularity and proving to be big hit promotional items. The most popular of these custom dog tags are embossed stainless steel, laser engraved anodized aluminum and full color printed plastic and metal.

All varieties of custom dog tags for people have the same dimensions as those used by the U.S. armed forces. The military dog tags we are most familiar with had their origins during WWI (1914-1918). By the Second Word War (1939-1945) the army was distributing sets of dog tags including one long chain, one short chain and two stainless steel tags. The soldier's information on these tags was stamped into the metal using a marking method known as metal "embossing".

Custom dog tags fall into two main categories: authentic military and military "style". Authentic military dog tags are made from stainless steel and feature a top rolled edge. These tags are typically available with a shiny and matte silver finish and are the same tags used by the U.S. armed forces. Military style dog tags lack the rolled edge and are made from either aluminum or plastic in a variety of basic colors.

Distinct customization methods exist for each category of dog tag.

Authentic military stainless steel tags are "embossed" resulting in raised letters from the surface. Embossing can be applied to only one side of the tag and is limited to letters, numbers and some special characters. There's enough room for 5 lines and up to 15 characters per line. Many more imprint options exist for anodized aluminum and plastic dog tags.

Aluminum tags are typically customized using a marking method known as "laser engraving". Here both text and logos can be reproduced at very high resolution on one or both sides. Laser engraving works by eliminating the colored anodized surface and exposing the raw aluminum beneath the surface. A high quality laser engraved mark appears bright white.

Military style plastic dog tags are customized using full color process printing. Here, a full color imprint is first applied to adhesive backed vinyl which is then contour cut to the exact dog tag shape and adhered to the surface. With this printing method full color logos and designs can be reproduced at very high resolution.Dog tags continue to evolve into new materials, shapes and functional designs for personalization. Beyond the familiar stainless steel, aluminum and plastic dog tags there are many unique dog tags appearing in the marketplace (i.e. dog tag flashlights, dog tag lip balm cases, mini and jumbo dog tags). Custom dog tags have proven to be very popular marketing tools for both business and individual applications and are poised to become the next big hit promotional product.

Article written by Scott Shenkel