Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Confessions of a shwag hag

I’ve admitted in a previous Pork Chop Diary blog that I am a “shwag” junkie. That’s the freebies, giveaways and gifts given out at the Mid-America Trucking Show each year.

That year, I vowed to go cold turkey. I was going to endure four grueling days (media are there a day before the show starts for media day or the press conference marathon as I call it) without picking up even a pen.

I broke my resolution that year when I grabbed a coffee mug courtesy of the Mobil Delvac folks outside the South Wing.

Well, if that was breaking a resolution, this year I fell completely off the wagon.

As the picture shows, the Land Line Magazine crew’s van was packed to the gills with shwag for the ride home. Now, it’s not all mine, but I will admit a lot of it is.

Detroit Diesel had duffel bags I couldn’t resist. Mac Trailers had a cooler – a for real hard-side cooler. Mack offered up hood ornament paper weights with the bulldog. (Mack CEO Denny Slagle said it’s real gold. I’m heading off to get it appraised right after I write this.)

Western Star had the cutest calendars. Daimler and Volvo offered up model trucks. Bendix and their video cameras. T-shirts, pens, yard sticks, notebooks, logbook rulers, coffee mugs, plastic cups, flags (U.S. and checkered) … I think you get the picture. I was shwag punch drunk when I got home.

I felt like the hunter who returned home to the hungry family the way my kids ransacked my bags looking for the good loot.

While it honestly bordered on excess to the extreme, I will say that as I collected each piece I grew more and more impressed.

Things haven’t been so good the past few years. Everyone was scaling back, and marketing budgets are usually the first to go.

So I’ve decided to turn my addiction into a socio-economic indicator. If the giveaways are great – things are economically improving. If we’re stuck with stickers and pens that write once – rough roads are ahead.

Heck, using the shwag at MATS as an economic indicator has got to be as reliable as anything else, right? At least that’s what I’m going to convince myself of by next year.

1 comment:

  1. I can relate to this article very well. Prior to attending MATS this year, I told myself "I'm not going to collect any useless junk that I have to take back to Chicago through being shoved in my carry on which results in an overstuffed suitcaes that will not fit in the overhead compartment on the plane." Well....that did not hold true as I left the show with 3 white Progressive bags FULL of shwag items that I couldn't resist picking up. That's usually how it goes at these types of shows, however as being a frequent exhibitor at many different shows I have an appreciation for shwag. The first thing we do as marketers when preparing for a trade show it to order the coolest shwag that we can find. We search online catalogs for items that are totally different and unique (which ends up never being cool or unique because everyone else has the same thing). But in the end, we attract more visitors to out booth which is the purpose of providing shwag, right??