Filling the Swag Bag: Some Tips and a Few of Our Favorite Things

Written by Talana Morris

We support many client events—from tradeshows to customer appreciation parties to air shows. The types of events and guests really run the gamut. One thing we’re often tasked with is coming up with ideas for swag/giveaway items. Since it’s something that comes up multiple times each year, we thought it would be helpful to provide some tips on selecting swag, show you an example of how we’ve done it for one client and share a few of our current favorite promo items.

Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Promo Items


Of course, you need to stick to a reasonable budget but be sure that whatever you’re putting your name on is appropriate for the event/audience (more on that below) and of good quality. For special events such as celebrating a company anniversary, it’s always nice to give clients some sort of gift to show your appreciation.

Production Time

Production times vary widely for different products, from as fast as a 24-hour turnaround to as long as several weeks or more.  Plan ahead and also remember that most production times are based on the final art being approved, so be sure to build in time to get the correct logo format and review artwork, colors, etc.  And don’t forget shipping time!


The purpose of giving out promotional items with your logo is for your company to be remembered…so it’s ideal to come up with a practical product that will be used and kept around.  Why waste money on something that’s just likely to get tossed into the trash bin of a conference exhibit hall or find its way into a kid’s toy box? Try to look for items that are substantial enough to be useful for a long time.

Appropriateness for Audience/Event

This is where you can really make an impact with your promotional items. Think about the demographics of your audience and try to find products that are a fit for them. The type of swag item you give may also depend upon the type of event you’re participating in.

Swag selection snapshot

Below is an example of how we’ve tailored swag choices for one client—a municipal airport—for whom we support several events throughout the year. The airport has three different target audiences: Air Show Performers, General Aviation Pilots and children.

Air Show Performers

For the Flights of Our Fathers Air Show & Fly-In hosted at Terrell Municipal Airport, we wanted to give our pilot performers something during the morning safety briefing they could use during the event. Many of the pilots are fellow Texans, so we want the items to be something to remember our airport in hopes they will come back to visit. It gets hot in the cockpit when you’re thousands of feet in the air doing acrobatics in September, so we went with these two options:

  1. Chill Out Sport Cooling Towel: The pilots really appreciated this. They were able to quickly run the soft, microfiber towel under water before takeoff and wrap it around their neck to keep cool during their performance.
  2. Heavy Duty Cooler Bag: Each year we always make sure we have plenty of water for the pilots because it’s very important they stay well hydrated. We decided it would be easiest to provide them with a cooler bag with six chilled bottles of water wrapped in branded airport labels. It was easy for them to just grab their bag and take it with them to their plane.

General Aviation Pilots

We also have several recreational pilots who fly into our events. Again, we want them to come back to Terrell Airport to purchase fuel or spend a day shopping at local stores, like Buc-ee’s or the outlet mall. Below are some of the items we’ve given to these visitors:

  1. Microfiber lens cloths: These are perfect for cleaning lenses, phone screens, tablets and more. The ones we ordered have a beautiful sunrise picture of the airport terminal.
  2. LED stylus pen: Everyone likes a nice pen, but these heavy-duty pens are multi-purpose and something our pilot audience loves. It has a stylus, as well as a flashlight.
  3. Portable phone chargers: These are handy for anyone, but especially a pilot who is traveling and may need to charge his cell phone wherever he is without having to find a power supply.
  4. Spinning propeller letter opener and paperweight: This giveaway is a little more costly, but super fun and useful.


Many of the events hosted at the airport are geared towards kids, so we’re a big fan of giving out inexpensive, old-fashioned balsa glider airplanes. What kid doesn’t love throwing one of these around?

Some of our favorite all-purpose swag items

While the above aviation-related examples were given to demonstrate how you can choose your swag based on your audience and the event, the below is a quick list of some of our other favorite items that are practical and appropriate for almost any audience.

  1. Pocket notebooks – small enough to fit in a purse or briefcase. I keep one with me everywhere I go!
  2. Koozies – a classic; this is particularly good if your event is a casual one involving cold beverages.
  3. Stone coasters – perfect for protecting your desktop from sweat rings, or you can go with the smaller car coaster option.
  4. Duo charging cable – who can’t use a spare phone charging cable? Well, this one is super cool because with one charger you can charge either an iPhone or an Android. Sure, the new wireless charging pads are nice, but not everyone has the latest and greatest Qi-enabled devices that work with these. So, until we’re all cool enough to be able to use that technology, we like this option that is universal to all phones.
  5. MopTopper stylus pen – this is a more whimsical option, but very practical. These fun pens also have a stylus and screen cleaner.
  6. Tumblers – these always come in handy whether at home, in the office or on the go. There are a variety of styles and options to choose from.

Need help thinking through your promotional item strategy or just want us to handle it for you? Contact us today.

About Talana Morris

Talana brings over 20 years of experience in managing complex projects, teams and budgets. In addition to a project management role, Talana also leads digital and event marketing for clients. Her skills span from project management to technical to provide clients with a resource knowledgeable in the process of delivery and the functional requirements.