This is why it’s really not cool…

By swag I’m talking about promotional products, aka gifts and premiums, aka cheap marketing sh** usually given out for free. It comes in many forms as branded:

  • hats
  • mugs
  • pens
  • koozies
  • keychains
  • water bottles
  • phone chargers
  • etc.

The history of promotional products actually goes back to the 1800’s when companies plastered their logo and messaging on everyday goods like bags and started giving them out free. It was a quite clever and effective marketing technique at the time, but now, like many other things it has gotten out of hand.

Today you can find swag everywhere: at your real estate agent’s office, in “goodie” bags at conventions, and at the entrance of many sporting events. These cheep marketing props are being mass produced overseas, shipped in to the states, handed out, shortly after thrown away. It’s time to put an end to the madness. Habit #8: Deny Swag.

The environmental issue with promotional products is pretty clear. They are throw aways made as cheap as possible and go from cradle to grave with little chance at being reused or recycled.

Not only is the use and post use of these products downright toxic, but their production is also about as bad as it gets. To be affordable as a mass marketing tool they have to produced as cheaply as possible which means manufacturers frequently forego environmental regulations and fair labor practices.

I understand the appeal of something free, but is it really free? Maybe it’s time we start asking what the environmental implications of those playoff thunder sticks really are…

Your Action Item

Recognize promotional products for what they are and make a conscious effort to deny them. When in doubt, ask yourself if it’s really going to add value to your life because chances are:

  1. You don’t need it
  2. You aren’t going to use it more than once
  3. You don’t want to be a walking advertisement for a brand you don’t support


Stay responsible:

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In this post I briefly share my experience with promotional products and continue my rant about swag: Why I Say No To Swag



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