4imprint, LLC

5 min read

In-person events play an important role for organizations across many industries—from tech to healthcare to entertainment. Nearly 76% of event organizers believe in-person gatherings will become increasingly critical to their organization’s success in the coming years. And whatever the industry, when businesses gather at conferences, trade shows and other events, they’re looking to stand out. One way to attract attention is through the creative use of event swag.

The first step is determining what promotional products people not only want but are most likely to use. Research by Promotional Products Association International shows 49% of people have kept promotional products longer than five years. The most common reason they did so was because the product was useful. With that in mind, we explore promotional products for events that recipients will keep coming back to.

Drinkware to celebrate

Think of your event swag as a souvenir. Nearly 40% of people say they hold on to a promotional product because it reminds them of an event or experience.

Person looking at a laptop. A thought bubble with an event scene is above his head.


If a significant part of your event revolves around a dinner or social hour, serve attendees their first drink in a pint glass that doubles as a keepsake. Or hand out stemless flutes as part of a celebratory toast.

For warm-weather gatherings, including outdoor expos and conferences, an event-branded water bottle is a useful memento that later becomes a frequently carried item. These handy giveaways fill recipients up with fluids and fond memories. When the weather turns colder, serve passersby a mug of hot cocoa or tea. Offer promising prospects or attendees who stop and engage a higher-end item—like a vacuum tumbler—to say thanks.

Outerwear they’ll love to wear

Research by the Advertising Specialty Institute shows 61% of people keep and wear promotional outerwear for at least two years. That’s great news considering one jacket or fleece can generate an estimated 7,856 impressions in its lifetime.

Side by side view of a person walking a puppy and the same person walking a dog.


Give a lightweight jacket as a thank-you gift for big-ticket purchases at a sales event. Or offer fleece pullovers as silent auction items or raffle prizes at your next gala.

When an employee earns a promotion or accomplishes a significant achievement, show your appreciation. Host an all-staff event and surprise them with a company-branded packable jacket for sticking with your company through rain and shine.

Event organizers say a top priority is increasing attendee engagement. Thoughtful use of promotional products for events can help drive those interactions. Trade show vendors can add a little competitive action to their booth with a dart board, basketball hoop or ring toss. Offer a top prize of a fleece jacket or vest and let attendees give it their best shot.

Bags that will carry on and on

More than 80% of event organizers say in-person events have the biggest impact of all marketing channels. And people often travel for these gatherings—especially trade shows and conferences—meaning the event swag you distribute may span cities, provinces and beyond.

Person handing out branded swag bags.


Tote bags can help get their goods home while also raising brand awareness wherever they go. Sponsor an event’s swag bags or give them out at your booth in exchange for contact information. Attendees might sling them over their shoulder and show them off for the rest of the day. Or boost the interactive aspect of your booth by posting a password on your social media accounts ahead of the event. Anyone who visits your booth and says the password gets a branded tote.

Up the fun factor at your event by applying coloured stickers to the backs of name tags or on the inside page of a program or agenda. During the event, host several surprise drawings with prizes that correspond with the sticker colours. The lucky winners can choose between a sling bag or a messenger bag.

Headwear to top off your event

Logoed headwear is a terrific way to get your brand noticed. On average, a single hat gets more than 3,300 impressions in its lifetime. Bonus—many hats and caps are one-size-fits-all, increasing the odds they’ll be worn again and again.

People outdoors at a food truck.


Include a bucket hat in a gift basket as part of a fundraiser raffle. Reward trade show attendees who sign up for a newsletter or share their contact information by giving them a knit toque. Or offer a trucker hat to people who stop by your booth at an outdoor event. Encourage them to share a photo of themselves wearing their hat on social media and tag your brand. Enter anyone who does into a prize draw for a gift card or discount on a future purchase.

Takeaways that resonate

A successful seminar, conference or gala event can produce lasting memories. And a great way to evoke those memories is through a useful keepsake. Strategic use of event swag can benefit everyone involved. Recipients have a useful product they love that results in repeated impressions for your brand.