The crowd counts down: 3…2…1 Then the show floor opens, and the race is on, a sea of frantic women trying to get to the back of the show floor. Some are not even sure why they are running or where they are going. They just know if something was good for someone else to run for they should probably be a part of it. Some women breathlessly discuss what they are running for: “Fancy…..Pants…….cute aprons….first 50.” Arriving in time to see the last few aprons handed out proves that to get the swag some must be willing to go “the extra mile” (Fancy Pants Designs apron pictured below.)
Swag [Stuff We All Get] are the promotional and giveaway items handed out by manufacturers and vendors at an event, and are a fun part of trade show culture. Whether you blame it on a “sign of the economy” or just manufacturers wanting to limit promotional items to those that purchased from them as incentive, this year at CHA Winter 2011 the swag was a bit more difficult to find, however.
As at previous shows, tickets for giveaways were handed by many manufacturers. Yet for many companies the number of giveaways were fewer, and tickets were not as freely handed out. Most tickets had to be earned in some way. Participation in a make-and-take, viewing a demo, or discussing product with a sales rep would earn an attendee a chance at winning product from the manufacturer. The more time spent in the booth participating in what was going on there, the more chances could be earned to win. Another addition in Los Angeles to the typical scrapbook product giveaways were Apple iPad giveaways. Manufacturers such as Momenta, Echo Park Paper Company, and even the CHA show itself held drawings for the popular device.
At past shows typical giveaways were at 11am, 2pm and 4pm. This year companies usually only held one big giveaway that attendees had to be present for to win. Many of these events happened at the same time, causing attendees to have to choose a favorite to be at for their chance to win. Attendees at these giveaways could be rather ruthless, giving people merely seconds to check their number or hear their name called before declaring the person not present and demanding a new winner be drawn.
As in years past the most predominant item being handed out were bags, since companies know that attendees have a tendency to collect a lot of stuff on the show floor. Promotional bags are an easy way to get your name out there while providing something useful at the same time. There were gift style bags emblazoned with a company’s logo, oversized vinyl bags showcasing a companies product or logo, and eco-friendly bags with colorful designs reminding us to reuse and recycle. An attendee couldn’t walk down any given aisle at the show with out being offered one or two (or a dozen) bags.
Product samples were another popular giveaway. Offerings we saw included adhesive samples, swatch books, cards of ribbon, embellishments, and (as in the case of Painter’s Pyramid) a 10 pack of their product. Following the adage “if they try it they will buy it” some manufacturers gave potential customers a chance to sample the product before committing to place an order.
Many publishers offered copies of their latest editions. Magazines Crafts-n-Things, Bead Unique and Scrapbooking & Beyond found their way into many attendees bags. Those with a few moments to spare could net not only a new book but a copy signed by the author. Celebrity authors Mark Mantano (pictured below), Margo Potter, Becky Fleck and more held appearances all over the show with not only their publishing companies but with manufacturer partners as well.
One thing obviously lacking this year were the usual t-shirt giveaways. There were a few promotional clothing items walking the floor: aprons from Fancy Pants Designs, Making Memories, & Silhouette, plus hats from We R Memory Keepers. But with the exception of the t-shirt giveaway at the Cricut birthday party, there weren’t many company logos being worn by attendees on the show floor.
While attendees could come home with a fair amount of crafting treasures from CHA, it was obvious this time around there wasn’t as much available as there has been in the past and what there was didn’t flow as freely to attendees as at past shows. Perhaps it was just a sign of the economic times, or as one manufacturer told Scrapbook Update, “I don’t really know why we didn’t offer any swag this year. We just didn’t do it.”
So…what article on swag would be complete without a chance to share in the “loot”? Would you like to win one of 3 boxes filled with some swag from CHA Winter 2011?
How To Enter: All you have to do to be one of the lucky winners is leave a comment on this entry before Midnight U.S. eastern time on Sunday night, March 13th. Make sure you include your email address in the line reserved for it on the comment form (for your own protection, don’t put it in the text of the comment, where it will be visible to the public – just in the line labeled “email” in the form where only Scrapbook Update staff can see it). We will need it to notify you if you are a winner. Winners will be drawn by random drawing from all eligible entries. One entry per person. U.S. mailing addresses only please.
[Editor's Note: Enjoy this article? Check out Betsy's report on CHA swag from CHA Summer 2010.]
Scrapbook Update would like to thank the following manufacturers for providing swag for the prizes: AAA Imaging Solutions (photo coaster), Ad Tech-Adhesive (crafters tape), Advantus Corp (Keepsafe Photo Organizer), All American Crafts (Christmas 365), Bead Unique, Scrapbooking & Beyond, Amos Press, Crafts ‘n Things, Blumenthal Lansing (button assortment), Creative Options (tote), Cri-kits (Swirls pen), Busy B’s (paper kit), Clearbags.com (bag assortment), Cottage cuts (die), Coredinations (cardstock), Darice (Hercules Glue), Fancy Pants Design (apron), Faber-Castell (bag/mix and match book), Fiskars (punch, scissors, bone folder), Foss Mfg (ecofi felt samples), GCD Studios (candy), Glue Arts (adhesive samples), Grafix (Metallic Foil Board), K and M of Virginia Painters Pyramid (starter pack), Make it Fun Flora (craft light up pin), New phase (embellishment keeper), Offray (ribbon assortment), Pioneer (photo glue stick), Plaid (Mod Podge Gloss), PSA Essentials (bag), Puzzled-3-D (mini puzzle), Scotch 3M (scissors, adhesive dot roller, super glue), Scrapbook Business Magazine, Sculpey (oven baked clay sample), The Robin’s Nest (paper assortment), Unibind (bag), WE R Memory Keepers (hat), Westcott (scissors), Xyron (chocolate coin).
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