21 July 2015 ~ 1 Comment

Advice From 11 Experts On What Makes A Great Swag Bag (And What Doesn’t)


Advice From 11 Experts

Print custom swag: clothes, supplies, bags and more for your next event. Take a look at our products.

The perfect gift bag, or “swag bag”, can show appreciation, boost employee loyalty, or create or improve brand awareness. But, creating the perfect swag bag can be harder than it seems. That’s why we’ve combed through various industries to ask those who know what a great swag bag looks like. Because we’ve all been to one of those conferences where they hand you a bag and when you look inside there are some pens and a notebook and maybe a usb stick with the conference logo on it. And what happens to those things? Odds are, they probably end up in the garbage.

If you’re like us, you probably think “why bother?” Why does every company or event want to give out free stuff to people walking through the door? Because when done right, that bag of random objects can leave attendees with a feeling of value. They are a way to show people you appreciated their presence. And more importantly to you, they’re a way to keep them thinking about your brand long after the event. But only if done correctly.

Take these two examples:

17y6u0gtp8f5djpgThe 2012 Charlotte Democratic National Convention (DNC) gave out a swag bag to all credentialed political reporters covering their event. In it you could find an assortment of red, white, and blue donkey-adorned bumper stickers, a visitor’s guide to the city, a can of Coke Zero, an Ipad case (no iPad) and a foldable water bottle. All told, it probably cost less than $50; it’s not a rule that you have to spend a lot on these bags, which is something we’ll cover in more detail later in this article. The DNC media swag not only failed to impress the attendees, it also garnered harsh public criticism from political bloggers, which is a far worse outcome than people simply throwing them away.

academy-awards-swag-bagOn the other side of the spectrum is the now infamous 2015 Oscar swag bag, believed to be worth in excess of $165,000. There were vacation packages, car rentals, speciality organic and vegan items, and much more, all perfectly matched to their high-end attendees. The mystery behind what all was included in this bag became a trending topic on social media, and clearly the sponsors understood the amount of advertising potential created by good old public fascination. This is now the benchmark when someone mentions the words “swag bag”.

I’m sure you’re not planning on handing out gift bags like the two examples above, but you probably would like to have a reaction closer to the second one than the first. Swag bags can be customized to fit any audience with the right amount of creativity and product sponsorship. Whether that’s done by treating swag bags as a survival kit for your event or filling them with useful branded items that attendees will utilize after the event is up to you.

To help illuminate the number of different ways you can be creative in creating a memorable bag for your event (as well as things to avoid), we’ve gathered some of our favorite advice from experts in the industry.

So what is good swag?

Anything people should stop including in bags?

What’s one way you can make your bag stand out?

What makes people keep an item they get at an event?

Any great ideas you’ve seen before?

What are some good trends that are catching on?

As you can see, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula to creating a swag bag that wows. Rather, you should put time into thinking about your audience. What would they like? What would they use? What do they probably already have? The goal is that this bag will help people remember your brand; so what do you want them to remember?

Print custom swag: clothes, supplies, bags and more for your next event. Take a look at our products.

One Response to “Advice From 11 Experts On What Makes A Great Swag Bag (And What Doesn’t)”

  1. Kori K 9 June 2016 at 9:24 am Permalink

    Through my experiences with event planning, everyone loves to receive tech items like mobile chargers. I’ve been using OFFSITE NYC for events they also recommended to give such a practical and thoughtful swags like that.

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