The Weird and Wonderful World of Promotional Giveaways

Exhibition season is upon us and with that comes the requests from clients for branded promotional items that will steal the show and draw everyone to their stand.

From the standard branded pens and post-its to the latest craze to take home for the kids (fidget cube anyone?) we’ve been there, sourced it, printed it, delivered it.

But how useful are promo items, giveaways and competitions and what is the best way to attract customers to your stand?

Promotional items are all about increasing engagement; whether it’s at an exhibition, a product launch or a sales visit, you just can’t beat free stuff to capture people’s attention.

Novelty items are great conversation starters and a good tool for helping you stand out from the crowd in a packed exhibition hall.

For a more lasting impact, you’ve got to get creative and choose things that might be of actual use to your customer – something they’ll stick on their desk or in their car where without even realising it they are being reminded of your brand every day.

So what is the most effective? Well, you wouldn’t believe what is available out there – if you can think it, you can get your logo printed on it!

We have done everything over the years; an entire menagerie of stress ball animals, water bottles, lanyards, pens, post-its, fidget spinners, fidget cubes, colour changing mugs and more.

They are all effective in their own way, so there’s always a solution to suit your budget and event. Pens are always popular and you can pretty much guarantee they’ll get used – this is true of most stationery items, they’ll usually end up back on someone’s desk.

The more novelty items can be beyond popular; they can cause a riot! We’ve heard tales of people grabbing fistfuls of items to take away with them.

However, that’s not going to generate sales is it? So you’ve got to be smart, force the customer into engagement before they can smash and grab.

A great tactic that a few of our clients have used is to keep the promos in Perspex display boxes, meaning that people have to approach and engage in conversation with a member of the sales team in order to get their hands on that squishy unicorn.

However, whilst these lower cost items can be effective, it is also worth think about enticing the attendee with something interesting, useful or with a higher perceived value.

A good tactic to employ is a ‘tiered’ system of giveaways based on the level of client interaction and enquiry.

For example, investing in a small number of higher value items (such as power banks perhaps) to give to those who ask for a demo, which again could be displayed in clear boxes to entice attendees to enquire further.

Then you have your top tier, which would be a high ticket item – think iPad or Fitbit – which can be won through a competition based around your stand.

Whether this is a skills based challenge (hole in one golf, high score computer games) or a social media based competition with a hashtag that will get you trending, it’s all about creating a buzz that draws people in.

Ultimately, the idea is to create some fun, to encourage engagement and encourage people to spend more time at your stand than any other.

If you can achieve this then you have your golden opportunity to capture data and generate those all-important leads.

If you’re looking for a creative new promo for your next exhibition or event, why not get in touch and see what we can conjure up! Our marketing agency, located in Macclesfield, can help you with innovative strategies to help your business grow.

We develop and implement big ideas


We have over 30 years of design experience and were early adopters of the web, so we know how to grab the attention of the viewer - whatever the target audience.

Strategic Marketing

At Williams&Crosby we believe that marketing is about delivering a sustainable competitive advantage for our clients.

Exhibitions & Events

If you are looking for an exhibition stand that will give you stand out and attract more we can provide a solution to meet your budget.


Creativity and solution creation should never be about making pretty marks, it’s about the intelligence behind the marks. This is what distinguishes good from outstanding.