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A Shift from the Conventional!

Oh great, another free pen that’s going in the free stationery holder right next to the free coaster and free notepad. Event giveaways such as these have become all too common and they no longer work as an attractive-enough lure to get event-goers to patron your stall – perhaps just freeloaders. You may even have tried some of these more creative giveaway ideas. But to really stand out at an event these days, you gotta start thinking out of the box in terms of conventional swags and offer something a lot more innovative.

The most effective swags have to satisfy these basic criteria: small, light, practical and cost-effective but yet valuable at the same time – kind of like a good sandwich. Nobody in a psychologically healthy state of mind goes to an event with a luggage ready to load up on freebies. The primary purpose of the visit is to check out what products/services are being offered. The giveaways are secondary but remain an important part in promoting your brand as its aim is to create an impression that lasts way beyond the duration of the event.

After cracking my brain and getting into the mindset of an event-goer, I’ve come up with a list of innovative and creative giveaways that would entice me and could draw a larger crowd to your stall than your competitors next door. Some of these may be rather controversial but a little controversy never hurt anyone, did it? After all, there’s no such thing as bad publicity… or is there? I guess there’s only one way to find out!



#1 Social media follows

Riding on the proliferation of digital platforms and social media, an attractive giveaway could be in the form of free follows on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It appeals to social media addicts (just about every random Tom, Dick and Harry on the street these days), can be done right on the spot and certainly isn’t time consuming at all. Just make sure you’re already logged into your social media accounts to speed up the process and all you have to do is to get account names from event-goers and click follow! It would also encourage a return follow or like, which drives up your list of followers!


#2 Wi-Fi hotspot password

The two most powerful words in this much-too-digital day and age are undoubtedly “FREE WI-FI”. I can’t remember the amount of times I’ve chosen one café or restaurant over another because they offer free Wi-Fi or because their Wi-Fi speed is significantly faster. Event halls don’t always provide free Wi-Fi and you could jump on this to lure the crowds. It shouldn’t have a wide range especially if you want folks to crowd around your stall. Given that we’re natural crowd followers, what’s a better lure than a huge gathering of people around your stall? It creates the perception of an attractive and successful product/service! Again, this could be coupled with a social media catch – like/follow you to gain access.


#3 Part of a pair

This works if you have a physical store. You could give away a part of a pair – one earring, sock, glove or perhaps even one side of a bookend and have them visit your physical store for the missing piece to complete the set! Take it up a notch of annoyance and offer a calendar with the months of, say, February and December missing or a box of jigsaw with one piece short – you get the drift. If you’re dead set on re-using the conventional giveaways, you could play around with them too such as a polo T-shirt with missing buttons or a water bottle without the cap – both of which would be given when they visit your physical store! Essentially, you’d want to ruffle a few OCD feathers and give them an incentive to drop by your shop!


#4 Innovative classics

How about a free water bottle filled with iced soda for an event in the heat of the summer, or a hot beverage in a tumbler during winter? It’s doubly practical – providing event-goers with instant gratification and repurposing those classical swags into something much more interesting and attractive!



#5 Transport reimbursement

As a driver who absolutely loathes paying for parking, this would be an extremely pleasant surprise of a swag. To get reimbursed for parking at the event hall makes battling traffic en route to the event all the more worth it! You’ll probably have to work out a deal with event site organisers, but it serves as a way to thank event-goers for their patronage and making the effort to visit. It’s always nice to be appreciated. Just remember to hand out your business cards together with the parking coupons! After all, you’re there to market your brand!


#6 Blind date

This may very well raise a few eyebrows so be sure to scrutinise your company’s HR policy very carefully before trying this! It could work if you’re a small start-up and your employees are essentially your friends. It requires of course permission from said employee(s) – perhaps someone from sales or marketing. But hey, if it does work out, who’d have thought that cupid would have a station at stall 2C at Event Hall 4?


#7 Multi-functional power bank

Just imagine a regular power bank but instead of a simple block, this multi-functional one would work and look something like a Swiss army knife. The key difference is – instead of having tools like scissors and knives jutting out of it, it would have a USB drive, a bottle opener, a mini pen and perhaps even a corkscrew that you can pull out. It could also have a keychain attached to it. Essentially, it’s a condensed all-in-one version of all your conventional giveaways.



#8 Scratch cards

A chance to win thousands just by visiting your stall? Count me in! Heck, even as someone who never buy scratch cards, this is a lure. It’d save me the trouble of having to get in line to purchase them. Plus, if I actually do win, it’s basically just money falling in my lap! With this, you’re essentially attracting both the risk-loving and risk-averse crowd. And with scratch cards going for as low as £1 each, it’s cost-effective! Again, remember to hand out your business cards while you’re giving these away!


#9 Live animals

You’d be heartless to not swoon over these little creatures, whose perky ears and large dark eyes are certain to draw a crowd to your stall. They could be given away perhaps in exchange for signing up for a company newsletter, for example. It’s a definite lure for people who are suckers for all things fluffy and cute. Be careful with this one though – it’s best to do fewer rather than more because they cost more. Plus, what are you going to do with 20 leftover hamsters? It also has to be in line with your business. It could work if you’re a pet shop but doesn’t quite make any sense if you own a crafts shop now does it?


#10 Toilet paper

Last but certainly not least, this – for me – is the most practical item on the list. Think about it – it’s something everyone uses every day, it is light and small enough to take away, and easy to print on so you could ideally print your company name/logo on it. Unless they’re constipated or severely dehydrated, event-goers won’t be able to help but think about your company a handful of times a day – even days or weeks after the event!


What do you think of these giveaways, would they draw you in? What’s your favourite item from this list and what’s the most unique swag you’ve ever received? Do share your thoughts with us, we’d love to know what attracts you!


author picAbout Author

Lin’s an all-rounder in terms of physical shape. Her weekly schedule revolves around Printsome, football and abhors cutting her nails.




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