To swag or not to swag?

To swag or not to swag?

(noun.  loot – booty – spoil – prey – plunder)

Bringing home event ‘swag’ is a tradition for the SmartShow team.  Whoever travels to events on our behalf can’t get back in the office unless he/she displays their swag haul and allows the rest of the team first pickings.  There’s always a scrum for the USB sticks and some laughing at the naff hats and pens-with-pull-out-bus-timetables.  It’s lots of fun, but it’s also a worry on many levels:

  1. What expense!  Have you seen the cost of plushy teddy bears these days?!  And how much did exhibitors have to pay to ship it there, and ship it back.
  2. ROI much?! Can you honestly track back your new clients and say, “gosh, it’s lucky they took away a 1Gb flashdrive from the Dog Show that time, or we’d never have got that deal.”  No you can’t.  And – 1Gb is mean.  We’re all after at least 4Gb now, just so you know.
  3. How does it differentiate you?  What does a flashdrive/beer cooler/pen/mouse pad say about your brand?  Especially as every other exhibitor had the same idea.  I think it says ‘no imagination’.
  4. Could we think a little greener, perhaps? It’s one of our regular cries, but we just hate seeing printed swag and thinking about what gets wasted.

I don’t want to end the post on a whinge, so here’s an example of the BEST SWAG EVER.  Who knows what it cost the company, and the issue of ROI is still up for debate, but differentiation – oh yes.  Thoughtful, witty and it felt like a gift, not just ‘tat’ taking up room in our bags:


Personalised caricatures presented to each and every visitor to The Orange Exchange‘s booth at MEETINGS2013.  Drawn without us realising.  Fantastic.

(Frames, models own)


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