I’ve picked up lots of corporate swag at conferences and trade shows during my PR days, but free ballpoint pens or cheap fridge magnets can hardly compete with the really good swag that other people seem to get. Consider for example what was handed out to sports photographers covering the February Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver/Whistler this year: an eye-catching coffee travel mug shaped exactly like a 70-200mm Canon L-series lens. Now that’s a very cool and potentially useful Olympics souvenir to bring home.
Or how about the American Society of Clinical Oncology? The drug company Genentech gave out to each annual meeting attendee in Chicago a beautiful black leather case filled with a wireless mouse, a 1 GB thumb drive, a combination laser-pointer/infrared remote control PowerPoint slide advancer, and a four-outlet USB hub – each one engraved, of course, with the Genentech corporate logo.
Other drug companies use even more creative and arguably more sinister swag strategies: in the waiting rooms of child psychiatrists, for example, children play with giant Lego blocks prominently stamped with the word Risperdal, courtesy of the drug company Johnson & Johnson – who have now lost the patent on the antipsychotic drug and have stopped handing out these toys.
But few promotional gifts can compare with the $91,000 swag bags distributed to celebrities at the Academy Awards ceremonies in Hollywood this past March. Continue reading