Tag Archives: swag

The Rise of the Swag Bag

As an event manager, party planner, or all-around brand genius, we know you have your event planned down to the most obscure points possible. But have you paid as much attention to this year’s swag bag? Sure it’s easy to throw a few pens and a plain journal into a basic  bag and call it a day, but your guests probably won’t bother to read the logo on yet another pen. How do you combat swag bag fatigue?

By learning from your viral predecessors, of course! This year there have been a few swag bags that have gone viral. Let’s look at the top 3 and see what makes so worthy.

1. HBO’s Behind the Candelabra lavishness- The Liberace biopic that HBO aired earlier this year already had a good amount of positive press surrounding it. HBO stepped up their game and took their protagonist’s taste for all things lavish one step further with the swag bags they sent out to the press.  Liberace is quoted as once  saying, “Too much of a good thing is wonderful!”, opulence was a big theme in his life and the film strived to capture that. The same sense of grandness was then applied to the swag bag sent out to the press. It included a bottle of champagne, an iPod, and sparkly jewelry along with a few other items Liberace himself would have been glad to wear. It not only reminded the press to watch and review the film, it provided extra marketing when recipients would write about the swag they had received. While you don’t have to send out bottle of Moët, make sure the promo items you choose serve to enhance your message instead of being a boring side note.

2. VidCon’s Mashup -VidCon is a convention that aims to bring together online video creators. If you’ve ever spent anytime at all on YouTube, you can image what a diverse crowd those video-makers must be. So at first glance, VidCon’s swag bag seems to be a jumble of things that don’t quite tie together: guitar picks, bingo cards and potpourri to name a few. But if you pan back, you’ll see that VidCon strives to include all genres, ages, and skill-level of online video fans. So, naturally, their swag bag would be an extension of that everyone-is-included mashup. If you are hosting or sponsoring an event that’s going to bring in a wide variety of people, choose items that both fit your brand and enhance the event theme. Your recipients will run a gamut of interests, likes, and dislikes, and even a small amount in variety will ensure that everyone goes home with something they enjoy.

3. ComicCon exclusiveness – Sometimes it seems that the brand managers at Comic-Con have a single mantra when it comes to their swag: if you make it exclusive, they will come. The term “swag” stands for “stuff we all get”. Comic-con turns the meaning on its head: not everyone will get it and you may have to pay dearly for it. Most people head to the San Diego Comic-Con fully realizing that they may not make it into the panel event of their choice, and instead choose to wander the convention hall picking up exclusive items you can only get during this time. Knowing that they will have the chance to receive things that other won’t can be a plus in your favor when people are deciding whether or not to attend. Best of all, people love to post to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram about all their exclusive new stuff and that amounts to free marketing and potential new customers for you.

We’ve all been to that one event where we received a swag bag of such amazing and relevant items that it set an impossibly high bar for all other promotional products, but what made it extra special for you? Let us know in the comments and keep those same principles in mind when it’s time for your next event!

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