If you’ve ever been to a tradeshow, you know that swag is all over the place. Bags, pens, notepads, stuffed animals, games, and trinkets of all kinds. Sometimes it seems like you’re at a carnival with all the little things you can pick up here and there.

At a recent tradeshow it was apparent that people are running out of ideas when it comes to giveaways. I didn’t see the quantity of stuff that’s normally out there, and what I did see lacked in creativity.

Over the years we’ve had a couple of clients who were firm believers in giveaways. And we agree! They’re more than just trinkets, they are concept builders and memory makers.

Here are two of our concepts that have stood out over the years:

Metrics Inc. used a baseball theme in 2009 to promote their team of scientists and their approach to client work. Each person at the booth had their own baseball card, complete with a picture on the front and stats on the back. We also gave out baseballs (stress balls), peanuts and popcorn in the exhibition hall

The concept was rounded out with:

  • Ads in trade publications (printed front/back – very innovative!),
  • A networking event where we gave out baseball-themed prizes and showed baseball movies and blooper reels on screens around the room, and
  • A creative website implementation.

The concept was a hit and Metrics is still asked about it at shows.

Another good example is from Mulkey, a Raleigh-based engineering firm. Taking from their updated branding color palette, they gave out ice cold bottles of Orange Crush and Mulkey branded bottle openers at events, which reinforced their unique brand and connected them to a Southern favorite that folks were sure to remember.

I was pleased this year when Metrics told me that he’d been told that “Metrics had the best giveaway of the whole show.” Made my day!

Metrics trust message was communicated through a custom backscratcher imprinted with “We’ve got your back!”

Many people see a giveaway as just that, but it’s important to integrate a giveaway into a show or event and make it a memorable branding opportunity.

We’d love to hear how you’ve used giveaways at your shows and events. Tell us in the comments what your favorite was!