"Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience." - Victoria Holt
Every company is guilty of it. The refrigerator magnet that seemed so cute at the tradeshow, the chip clip that just had to have our corporate logo plastered on it, or the ever-ubiquitos logo pen. I probably have ten pens at my desk right now. I'll bet at least eight of them feature a logo somewhere that is completely seperate from the actual manufacturer of the pen. What does Bic do when they need to swag somebody?
SWAG: Stuff We Always Get
Think of where we'd be without SWAG. Endless seas of keys going lannier-less. Countless amounts of chips that have suffered the indignaty of going unclipped for so long. How is somebody going to remember your company if you didn't give them the logo balloon? The prospects of a SWAGless world are too frightening to even contemplate.
SWAG, when done responsibly, can be cool. A nice t-shirt from a company that you admire is always welcome. The Livestrong laptop that we had a few years back was on the dope side of the highest end of SWAG. A canvas shopping bag that isn't heinous to replace your paper or plastic grocery bags sends a nice message about your brand and might actually get used. But what about the crap? The custom yo-yo's of the world. Isn't there an air of arrogance among many of these SWAGoffenders? The assumption that a consumer would rather interact with your brand in a "nontraditional method" rather than spare the additional landfill space is a bit of a stretch, isn't it? It's gotta be some rule like "people don't care what it is as long as it's free." Tradeshows must've been created by some genious at a plastics company; for the amount of crap that is unloaded on doctors and salespeople by various vendors has to be in the astronomical regions.
Fact is, we're guilty of it too. I remember cleaning out a whole closet of logo'd garbage that I'm sure looked like a creative idea in 1998. So we've made a pact in Trek's marketing realm. No more trash and trinkets. We're saying no to the 0-weight load bearing carabiners. Sorry Consumers, you'll never have access to a Trek logo mouse pad. Hoping for a Lance Armstrong bobble-head snow globe? Look elsewhere. The Trek pleather-covered daily planner? Not on my watch. We've also sworn off the customized paperweights. Paperweights. What a joke. As if the offices of the world have all been exposed to Poseidon-induced gales moving through them. I know i haven't been in the game that long but I'm yet to have ever encountered a situation that required the use of a paperweight. When I do, it'll have to come from some other company.
I've included some regrettable examples of our offenses and some that were not so bad.
Left To Right:
Shop Apron - Nice concept. Bikes can get dirty and shop rats need to protect their skinny jeans. Old school logo, not so bueno. The straps were tricky so loses points for that. Bad SWAG Score: 5
Liquid floppy frisbee - A classic example of bad SWAG. No practical application. I'm guessing whoever ordered this no longer collects a paycheck here. BSS: 9
Gary Fisher Pom Pom Hat - Dope. This is the kind of stuff people go crazy for at events. BSS: 0
Trek Shades - One side says: "Trek Bicycle Corporation". The other side says: "The Future Is So Bright." Comically terrible. I feel like I have to apologize for these and they preceded my employment by 7 years. BSS: 10
Lance Lunchbox - A must-have. On the outside, bad SWAG - dated and impractical. Dig deeper and there's a ton of applications for this and they're totally rare. Very niche item. Ebay gold! BSS: 3
Wasabi Sandals - Original idea but a little overdone. the bottom is cut out so it says "Trek" in the sand. Velcro is out. BSS: 6
Shimano's Coasting Combs - Landfill content. Awful. BSS: 9
Tour de France Champion Yo-Yo - Nothing says, "We're awesome! We've won the Tour 3 times!" like a yo-yo. um.........we're sorry? BSS: 10