Event gifts and giveaways: 7 ideas to make a lasting impression

November, 8 2017

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If you’ve been to any events this year, you’ve likely come away with a tote bag full of branded goodies of all shapes and sizes. In fact, up to 90% of exhibitors give away some form of promotional gift at any given event.

While some of these promotional goodies are genuinely useful and/or exciting, many are destined straight for the bin. So how do you ensure that your event giveaways for 2018 offer real value, rather than simply wasting your precious marketing budget?

Think about the ‘why’

Before you start to search through the swathes of giveaway options, ask yourself some questions. Is there a purpose behind your decision to give such items away, or is it simply that it seems like the done thing? What are you planning on distributing, and does it have any relevance to your brand, or to your overall event goals?

If you find the perfect promotional gift that’s creative, fun, useful and brand, it can be an incredibly cost-effective marketing tool, and one which has the potential for even greater reach via social media or word of mouth. If done wrong, it can be an approach that’s gimmicky, dull, wasteful or even detrimental to your brand image if tacky, tasteless, poor quality or totally off brand. Surveys show that six in ten consumers keep promotional items for up to two years, while 53% use a promotional item once a week or more. With stats like these, choosing the right item to give away can have huge benefits to your brand.

It’s time to think beyond the pen and the mousemat: instead, why not try one of these?


It may seem simple, but a notepad fulfils multiple criteria: it can support your branding, has a definite purpose, and can be used both on the day and beyond. It may be best to avoid garish colours to maximise the chances of it being used.

Power packs

Mobile phone usage tends to be high at trade shows – particularly at those where a specific event app is used. A mobile power pack is a nifty gadget that will definitely appeal – and if you can offer them fully charged on the day, even better.


Gone are the days when branded baseball caps were all the rage as event giveaways. Clothing may seem like a minefield, with numerous sizes and styles required, but it doesn’t have to be. Just as at Christmas, socks can make the perfect gift. Remember, though, that unless you’re a huge multinational brand, many delegates may not to choose something emblazoned with your logo. Keep the logo small and focus on brand colours to create something stylish.

Reusable water bottles

Staying hydrated during an event is key – and branded reusable bottles can help. Water bottles with an infuser are all the rage, and they’ll tie in perfectly with a range of different industries, from tech to food, to automotive and beyond.

Lip balm

Whether it’s the height of summer or the depths of winter, lip balm is a useful choice all year round. Like water bottles, it’s particularly useful at events, where more talking than usual can dry lips right out. Be sure to choose a flavour that isn’t too strong, instead opting for a taste and smell that will appear to as many as possible.

Branded care packages

At trade shows, the long days can be a slog for many. Keep delegates sweet with a branded care package, which could include items like a pen and notepad, mints, bottled water, a snack bar, paracetamol and a flash drive with more information about your brand offering.

Custom 3D-printed figurine

It may be more gimmicky than our other suggestions, but who wouldn’t love a custom-printed model of themselves? The Artec Shapify Booth takes 12 minutes to scan individuals from head to toe – and if you take down contact details to post it to them post-show, you’ve got yourself an instant ‘in’.

For trade show exhibitors, the possibilities are endless – just ensure that whatever you decide to give away is interesting and memorable, as well as meeting your budgetary requirements and show goals. While promotional giveaways shouldn’t be the first consideration when organising event, they shouldn’t be an afterthought either.

The right freebies will keep you front of mind and create a talking point; but choose badly, and you may find that delegates think of you as cheap, boring or unimaginative.

Want to learn more about Rapiergroup’s exceptional event creative, planning and management? Take a look at our latest case studies.

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