Interview with Christopher Cool – Clipped Card Trick

This week I’ve talked about this Benefits to Using Giveaways In Your Show as well as Different Types of Giveaways To Use In Your Show. Discussing these concepts was all inspired because this year Christoper Cool just released a new promotional giveaway item to the market called the Clipped Card Trick.


If you’re not familiar with the classic effect it’s quite simple: You show a card with five playing cards on it, both front and back. Four of the cards have black faces. The card in the middle is the ace. The goal is to place a paper clip on the ace while the cards are face down. Sounds simple? Surprise! The clip is always on the wrong card!

As soon as I saw Christoper’s Branded Cards I knew I needed to pick it up to use in my library shows this summer. What’s great about this giveaway is that it’s so inexpensive, it matches my other marketing materials, and it’s self working. Plus they look awesome— look at that handsome guy!

paniniLeif: For those who don’t know you, Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Christopher: What do you want to know? I like my panini maker! Seriously though. I am a full time Magician out of Calgary, AB, but I was born in Winnipeg, MB. Most of my work is split between birthday party shows and educational programs at preschools/daycares.

Leif: What kinds of giveaways do you use in your shows?
Christopher: I’ve used coloring pages, activity pages, funny money, invisible magic dust, roll-up wands, magic wands and other small magic tricks.

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Different Types of Giveaways To Use In Your Show

In my last article I discussed the benefits to using giveaways in your show. In this article I’ll discuss the various types of giveaways that I’ve used before. This isn’t just theory on things that I’ve seen or heard about. All of these items I’ve used in my performances. For each item I’ll discuss the context in which I used it, along with sources and examples.

Balloon Animals

A giveaway could be as simple as giving away a balloon dog. In the case of balloon animals there’s lots of ‘bits of business’ that you can include to make it entertaining. There’s the old gag of ‘accidentally’ snapping the balloon into your face while attempting to blow it up, or accidentally letting go of the balloon before tying the end off so that it flies away. These old gags have stood the test of time for a reason. On Gary Dunn’s DVD “Keep them Laughing” he does about 10 minutes worth of material just by making two balloons animals for a couple volunteers on stage. It’s a great way to get lots of entertainment out of a minimal amount of props. Watching Gary work is a masterclass in children’s entertainment. I highly recommend it!

IMG_1628For small shows you can make balloon animals for everyone at the party, and for larger shows just make balloons for volunteers on stage. Be aware though, that if you’re at a birthday party and you start making balloon animals – you’re probably going to get suckered into making one for each child. So, plan accordingly. 😉

There’s also the option of charging extra for making balloons animals for everyone at the party. Personally I’m better at magic than balloons so I stick to simple balloon sculptures like the dogs, swords, flowers, and hats. I find that by doing simple balloons I can make each one in under a minute. Making them quickly is important if you have another show to attend that same day.

Balloons are a great giveaway but they don’t carry any brand information and they don’t last very long. Let’s look at some other options…

Ball and Vase Trick

ball and vaseMy goal was to use the Ball and Vase as a general giveaway and then pitch them as an inexpensive back of room sales item for $2. They didn’t sell very well though. People were more interested in purchasing my Magic Wand and DVD so eventually I stopped selling the Ball and Vase.

I found that it was too difficult for kids to learn on their own from the instructions. I think that this trick is better suited to be part of a magic class or workshop.

Even though I don’t offer any magic classes I’ve still found a way to make use of the Ball and Vase trick. I’ll use it as a  special giveaway in a 1-on-1 situation for a child that’s interested in learning the secrets of magic. It’s a great trick for that 9-12 year old range where they can execute the basic handling and presentation. The magic of the ball and vase is quite deceptive, the secret is clever, and it can be taught in just a few minutes. I’ve found that using them in this way can create a very special moment that goes beyond just a normal giveaway and can be very rewarding on a personal level. For the right person in the right setting, it’s absolutely perfect!

The Ball and Vase sets are a bit more expensive than other giveaways plus they aren’t branded so I only use them in those 1-on-1 situations.

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Benefits to Using Giveaways In Your Show

For children and family performers using giveaways for audience volunteers is quite common, and for good reason too. They make a great souvenir to remember the show long after it’s over. But these innocent looking giveaways can be an important tool in your branding and marketing strategy. They can be used to build your brand, generate future leads, and promote back of room sales.

There are lots of different types of giveaways you could use in your business include colouring sheets, bookmarks, fortune telling fish, ball and vase, and coin slides. For many of these giveaways the actual cost is far less than their perceived value. Giveaway items aren’t going to give you an instant return on investment like a direct mail campaign would. However, they do help establish you in the marketplace and are a long term investment in building your business.

Personalized Branding

clippedcardIf you decided to use a printed giveaway such as a colouring sheet, bookmark, or a printable magic trick such as the Clipped Card or the Two Card Monte there’s a huge opportunity to match them to your existing brand.

Normally there would be no way to get a child to take a business card home from the show to their parents, but with a personalized item that’s exactly what they’ll be doing. You can include extra information such as your name, logo, photo, website, and phone number.

It’s a great technique because while you’re creating added value for your clients, you’re simultaneously marketing your services to generate future business at the same time. Getting your name and contact information into the homes of potential customers is key to getting more bookings in the future.

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Late Night Conversation – Lecture at the 3 of Clubs Magic Convention

This past weekend I lectured at the 3 of Clubs Magic Convention in Coquitlam, BC Canada. In the talk I discussed my stage setup for shows, branding, marketing materials, advertising, newsletters, and evaluations. There were a few additional topics that I discussed live at the event that aren’t included in the below video. You’ll just have to attend in person if you want to hear everything!

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Progressive Learning and Hypnosis

If you’re reading this blog then you know the importance of progressive learning. To be a successful performer you need to be continually learning and developing new skills. Somebody who embodies this principal to its fullest is Corporate Hypnotist and Peak Performance Expert Wayne Lee.

I first met Wayne Lee when I was about 17 years old, which was about 10 years ago. Wayne and I were both hired to perform a highschool graduation party. I was going to be doing some close-up mingling magic, and Wayne would be doing a full Hypnosis show. Wayne flew into Kelowna from Edmonton with his two crew members and rented car then he also picked me up and we drove to the event together that was just out of town. We would be staying in a hotel overnight, and drive back the next day. I remember it vividly because this was the first time I ever had a client pay for my own hotel room. I hit the big time! lol

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Temporary Tattoos

Today Laura Martin (aka Beebop the Clown) shared this great tip with me. This time of year it seems that everyone has the cold or the flu, and this means that you may end up with fewer children then expected at parties. This can be a problem if you’re offering balloon twisting, a magic workshop, or facepainting where the smaller turnout may mean you’re finished early.

For an extra activity you might want to get some temporary tattoos. Since it’s is so lightwight you can take these to nearly every party and have them as a backup activity. Display them in the pockets of baseball card sleeves from the dollar store for quick selection and carry then in a 3 hole duotang binder.

With just a tiny binder there’s huge value added to the client. You can even offer temporary tattoo’s as an up-sell to your clients for an additional fee.

Personally I’ve never offered temporary tattoos at my shows before, but with such a small investment and the portability, it sounds like a no-brainer. With the huge range of temporary tattoos on the market there’s even an opportunity to enhance a themed party. I know for smaller parties this would be a huge hit.

Have you offered temporary tattoos at your show before? Let me know if you give this tip a try!

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