Good Promotional Give Away for a Conference

Our group is sponsoring a three day conference for about 150 science / pharma / statistics people, and there was a request for ideas for a give away for the conference. The most obvious answer given was a zip drive of some sort, but I think that most people have a drawer full of them at work. I don’t think that I have ever received a good give away at a conference, so I was wondering if anyone has and would like to share or has any ideas.

–about 150 science / pharma / statistics people, many flying in
–neat and/or useful give away
–about $10 or less

My idea is a utility tool such as this. I’m not sure that would get past airport security, though. Any comments on this?

Absolutely do not give away anything that people can’t take thru on carry on bags. (Which a lot of people only use.) If you do, your group will be made fun of big time as clueless.

Try USB thumb drives and SD cards. Load them up with company info and the like. Maybe some goofy videos, etc. Make sure there is no malware. People may not look at the info, but they’ll use the drives.

Non-transitive dice

USB Bendy Light

The TSA just announced that it’s going to be okay to bring small knives onto airplanes soon. Why that’s safe, I’m not sure.

The only - I mean only - items I regularly use from conferences are the teeny bottles of hand sanitizer and the fabric bags that I use to put all the swag in, and then reuse for grocery shopping and schelpping stuff.

I’ve got banker’s boxes full of other stuff that had a much higher WOW! factor at the conventions, but I couldn’t tell you who any of it was from. I can tell you who my hand sanitizers and bags came from, though, 'cause I look at them a dozen times a week.

So which are you going for? WOW! or long term name retention?

Classy business-card case. People will need it at the conference, and then hopefully continue using it afterwards.

Entirely different field but notebooks similar to these were popular at the last trade conference I attended.

We all have more badge lanyards and tape measures than we can ever use.

Also popular were vendor branded reusable shopping bags. Not my thing. I’ve had too many of those for a few years now, but people were rushing to get 'em.

Have you checked out the on line catalogues for promotional gifts?

Only problem with that is that there are so many gifts in those things you can take weeks getting through them!

The best received conference present I’ve given out is an umbrella, of all things. Umbrellas break so often that everyone needs more, you can probably afford to get a decent one, and if you have supporting companies or societies you can put their names on the umbrella. We also gave a thumb drive out, but that was because we put the conference proceedings on it since I could do it myself to save money. (We had 100 attendees.)
Another good one which I gave out when I was Program Chair at a bigger conference to the program committee was a clock with three dials - time, temperature and humidity.
For everyone we used to give out a mug every year with the current conference logo, but now we give out a t-shirt and tote bag. T-shirts are kind of a pain since you have to worry about sizes. A small workshop (size 50) I used to got to which had good corporate support gave out jackets of various types each year. It was in Bodega Bay in February so they came in handy. But they are relatively expensive.

I got one of these for a promo giveaway once. It’s a little square, smaller than 2 quarters in size. One side is tacky and the other side feels like the top of a mouse pad. You stick it to the back of your phone (non permanently, almost like a Color-Form) and pull it off to wipe your screen. Here’s a video of how they work.

I was hangin with my business partner, who is a man who uses his phone about 100x more than I do, and showed him my screen wiper. He said it was the greatest promo item ever invented.

No squishy balls, and no yo-yos! Before I moved cross-country, I had a drawer full of stress balls, squishy elephants, miniature teddy bears, teddy owls and even some intel “bunny people”, all of which were a “oh, that’s cute” thing to stuff into the sack as I made my way through the aisles, then back at the office, they were condemned to live the rest of their lives in that drawer.

Good pens are always nice, as are notebooks like what gwendee mentioned.

I’ve gotten similar multi tools like what the OP mentioned. Unless you can afford to hand out Leatherman, Gerber or similar name-brand tools, don’t do it. The cheapies are dangerous. The last thing you want is for someone to see your name/logo as they cut themselves when the non-locking blade folds in on their finger.

Some good responses so far, and thanks for those. Any more from the day shift (in US)?

Unicorn Apocalypse cell phone skins!

You mean they don’t give away free pills at pharma conferences?

I second the idea of umbrellas - they’re always useful and easy to print a logo on. Usually, though, I get tote bags. Man, do I have a lot of tote bags.

The most popular thing we’ve ever given out have been little keychain flashlights with our name/logo on them. Some people even called afterward asking for one.

My favourite conference freebie was a Rubik’s Cube. Of course, that was in 1981…

I’d still suggest a flash drive, but one of the nifty ones the size of a credit card. I hate carrying normal flash drives and am always losing them, but even I’m not capable of misplacing one that lives with my driver’s license and debit card.

Here’s a 4GB model for $10, for instance:

Flash drives are great. Who can’t use another one or give them to their kid. When I did tons of seminars and small conferences, flash drives were my back up gift. Have your logo on it and it will be passed around. Most of the other crap giveaway stuff has about 5% of the receivers actually getting home or back to the office with it. Very few of the giveaway tools are keepers and I believe most people don’t keep 'em.

Thing is, if you’ve got a bunch of USB drives, it’s amazing just how often you’re in a meeting and it’s just really convenient to copy some big files on a drive and give it to someone. Since I don’t do the seminars/conferences any more, I’m down to just 1 or 2 flash drives and really watch not losing one. And flash drives are one of those things that I have never ever not even once bought myself.

My brother’s company gave away the coolest thing. I’m not sure what the price point was but it’s a combination device: ball pen and USB drive inside it, and laser pointer. Plug that USB drive in, and it also recharges the laser pointer. No batteries needed.

Like these images.