Blog Trade Shows

"Swag" might be new when it comes to youth slang, but it's an old idea in the marketing world.

Companies love to use swag (also known as trade show giveaways) to drum up interest at conventions, expos, and other marketing events.

But does that mean are people excited to get those pens and notepads you bought by the thousands?

Promotional giveaways are an important part of marketing. They increase brand awareness for the people who walk around with them, but also for everyone else who sees them using it.

But there's a catch: those trade show giveaways have to stand out.


Rules For Trade Show Giveaways That POP

Landing on the perfect trade show giveaways for your next marketing event should go beyond "what's the cheapest item on 4imprint?"

You want to make sure you're choosing something that's going to do what you want it to: represent your brand while it's out in the world.

It can't do that from the trash can.

There are three rules you should follow when selecting swag for your upcoming expo.

Rule #1: The item should be exciting.

Would you purchase this item? If not, don't give it away.


No one is going to be excited about a pen just because it has your logo on it. Find an item that makes people say, "Yes! I could TOTALLY use this!" Because that means they'll not only use it regularly, they'll pull it out and show people their new loot.

Boom. You just got in front of seven more pairs of eyes.

Rule #2: Clothes should be cute.

Brands like Nike and Adidas can get away with asking people to wear—and even buy—shirts and other clothing items with their logo on it.

But these are well-established brands with history, presence, and a huge market saturation. If you're using promotional giveaways to get customers, you don't have that kind of following yet.

shirts hanging on a rack

Have a graphic designer work up a cute design for the front and stick your logo (small) just under the back collar. Or find an inspiring, funny, or thought-provoking saying.

Yes, everyone loves a free T-shirt, but the best marketing happens when people actively choose to wear that shirt outside the house (and not just for washing the car).

Rule #3: The item should be high-quality.

When it comes to marketing, if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right.

It shouldn't matter if you got those pens for a penny a piece; if they won't write, what are you really giving away?

Trade show giveaways are a reflection of your brand. If the item falls apart or doesn't work, they're gonna assume you work the same way. Put the same amount of effort into your swag as you put into the product or service that you sell.


Trade Show Giveaways (That Don't Suck)

Maybe your head is swirling with ideas right about now. Maybe you've totally blanked and the only word in your brain is "mug."

Don't worry! At Photobooth Rocks, we've been to TONS of trade shows!

Here are 10 ideas for trade show giveaways that people will actually get excited about.

1. Photo Booth Picture Strips


4x6 corporate tradeshow print out

When you hire Photobooth Rocks to set up at your trade show booth, you're not just getting awesome, branded photo strips, you're getting a fun activity that will have people sending their friends and family to your booth.

And the best part? You'll never run out! For one hourly rate, you get unlimited trade show giveaways that no one will EVER throw away!

2. Reusable Straws

Plastic straws are slowly but surely going the way of the dodo bird as businesses are replacing them with paper versions or doing away with them altogether.

Portable reusable straws are a great way to show your support for the environment while enabling others to do the same.

Portable collapsible straws that people can take on-the-go are sure to get plenty of buzz.

3. Keyboard Vacuum

Okay, be dirty is your keyboard right now?

If you're like most of us, it's currently covered in a layer of dust and crumbs that you're probably not going to do anything about.

That's why people will FLIP for a USB-powered keyboard vacuum!

4. Sunglasses

Here in Central Florida, sunglasses are a year-round necessity, which means that everyone always needs a pair.

blue haired woman wearing sunglasses

Pick an on-trend pair of shades with a subtle logo on the temple. Or, opt for a sunglasses case/lens wipe.

After all, this is the Sunshine State.

5. Smart Phone Accessories

While just about everyone you know has a smart phone, brands vary widely, so make sure you don't go with something too brand-specific. (Remember, not everyone has an iPhone.)

Stay away from cases (people want to make a fashion statement there), but there are other cell phone accessories that make great trade show giveaways.

6. Bag Clips

We all use them, but has anybody ever bought them?

A sturdy bag clip will get used regularly and frequently. Plus, the cheap ones are always breaking, so a good one will get snatched up in no time.

7. Food

Combine a long day with overpriced convention center food and you've got a recipe for disaster.

But once people hear you've got food, you'll have them lining up!

No, this doesn't mean you have to put out a full buffet. Mints, chocolates, tea bags, nuts, pretzels, and candy are just as exciting (and very useful to guests staying in hotels).

8. Umbrellas

colorful umbrellas hanging

Florida might be known as the Sunshine State, but thunderstorms are a big part of life here.

Stick your logo on a folding umbrella and your booth visitors will know you'll stick with them, rain or shine.

9. Hand Sanitizer w/ Holder

Whether you're a germaphobe or not, hand sanitizer is always nice to have around.

Pick one with a leash or other type of holder so you'll always be right at your visitors' fingertips.

10. Insulated Cups

If you have a vacuum-insulated bottle or mug, why would you want a cheap plastic one?

Upgrade your water bottle giveaways to ensure your trade show swag will actually get some use.

YETI isn't the only player in this space. Plenty of other brands have similar products that work just as well, but for a fraction of the price.


Rock Your Next Trade Show!

Competition on the convention center floor is fierce, but having awesome trade show giveaways will help give you an edge.

We've seen some great swag over the years, but trust us when we say that NOTHING gets as much buzz as a photo booth! With other items, you'll get the odd person who just wants to grab the freebie and run. But with a photo booth, everyone wants to stay and get in on the action.

Right from the get-go, the photo booth will catch their eye (especially if it's wrapped with your company logo!). Then while they're waiting for their turn, you have a captive audience to hear about your company and what you do. After they leave, your logo is front-and-center on that photo strip (that they won't ever throw away)!

Our Open Air, Mirror, and Digital photo booths are the perfect size for any trade show booth. Call us today to reserve your spot.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *