Here's Why Corporate Promotional Items are a Waste of Time, Money, and Resources

  • Contributor

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    Like a kid in a candy store. Everyone who attends conferences wants this shit that they will never use.

    People are generally excited to attend conferences or exhibitions because they:

    • Don't have to do any actual work.
    • Are getting paid for not doing any work.
    • Can stuff their faces with all the ultra-healthy booth snacks for free, while chatting up the booth babes who pretend you are interesting, when in essence, they couldn't give a fuck and just want the day to end.
    • Harvest a hearty supply of absolutely worthless promotional items made by children in sweatshops from various third-world Asian countries which they can take home and collect dust.

    These promotional items could not resonate any less for the receiver as an advertising medium, other than the utility that the pens and the USB drives provide in theory. Even these generally end up living out their days in a desk drawer of other useless shit, or end up laying in the bottom of those massive over sized cardboard reinforced bags with the rope handles that companies give out their worthless little gifts, which you end up taking home and stuffing in your closet.

    This useless trash only rears its ugly head when you need to move, and don't feel like packing it, so it ends up in the trash or left behind for the next tenant or the landlord to adopt, who ends up pocketing the pens, but never actually look at the writing on the pen, because who gives a fuck right?

    "Thanks for calling Joe's Plumbing, how did you hear about us if I may ask?"
    "Well, I came across one of your pens when I was clearing out all the useless shit I have in my basement, and although the fucking ink was dried after an intense scribbling sessions to get it going, I was compelled to call and inquire about your services."

    When was the last time you picked up a pen, read the side, and then ended up spending money there.
    Exactly. Never. In fact, if you inscribed "Whoever brings this pen into my shop will receive $10,000" you could rest assured, that you won't ever have to fork out the cash. You might as well just have "Whoever holds this pen can go fuck themselves".

    A few years ago, I remember being at a conference in Brazil, and one company in particular was giving away their useless certified fair trade organic sweatshop manufactured promotional items in one of those industrial grade glossy cardboard triple-reinforced bags with the company logo on it, and it was so massive it looked like you could smuggle a full grown man in it. It was like carrying a coffin built for Peter Dinklage from the Game of Thrones. This bag was so thick and heavy duty, it could probably stop a 357 magnum round at point blank range.

    The items in their promo/body bag were as follows:

    • 3 x very high quality brochures that nobody will ever fucking read ever, even if it was the last reading material on Earth. They gave 3 brochures in case I was compelled to give them to a friend who I hated, and evangelize their company for free.
    • 1 x foam stress ball, with the company logo on it, which would eventually crack and flake-off when squeezing it a few dozen times.
    • 1 x respectably laughable 1 GB USB drive, with the company logo on it. The drive had the shittiest closing mechanism that has ever been engineered in that there was no way to open it once it collapsed into its sheath unless you hit it on a hard surface so it popped out slightly.
    • 1 x super ultra mega low quality ball cap, with the company's name on it.
    • 1 x acrylic cube key fob with the company logo laser etched into the interior of the cube, which dangled from a key chain that had already broken-off in the box.
    • 1 x sunshade that smelled like a cocktail of about 17 carcinogenic chemicals, which smelled like VX poison gas after making contact with the sun for 4 hours.
    • 1 x faux-leather -- that's giving it credit paper day planner with a 3-ring binder, a built in calculator and a mini pen made for people with hands the size of an action figure.
    • 1 x small t-shirt with, of course, the company logo on it, which I later put on at the hotel, and tore it off like the Hulk Hogan prior to a wrestling match.

    Let's not kid ourselves here -- this was all the absolute worst quality and the most useless trash that money could justifiably buy without bursting out laughing. At some point the manufacturers actually looked the buyers in the eye and maintained a straight face to sign the supply contract.

    Typical conference attendees will fall into one or more of these categories:

    • The Watchers (walk around don't talk to anyone, eat the free booth food, and leave)
    • The Talkers (they don't know how to shut the fuck up and are in constant corporate speak mode. Fucking drones)
    • The Harvesters (attend conference with the sole purpose of acquiring as much useless promotional items as they can get their hands on, with absolutely no intentions of sending any business your way, ever)

    These people parasites walk around, outright stealing all the top-grade, over-engineered promotional material they see. They'll walk up to your booth, and if you have anything laying around on the tables, they'll just smile at you sheepishly, take it, and jam it into their large industrial grade bulletproof bag they have which was lifted from another booth. And let's be clear about one thing -- they will never do business, or send any business your way EVER. That's a rock solid guarantee.

    Some of these guys probably built up their forearms during these events to Popeye strength proportions carrying all of their stolen sweatshop produced goods. Carrying 49 bags of groceries from the car into the house is a walk in the park for these clowns.

    Companies spend a massive amount of money unnecessarily for these useless cheap "promotional items", which, to be quite frank, nobody cares about and are literally give aways to people who by and large will never engage with your business.

    How can you quantify success and return on investment? Oh wait, let me get out my promotional pen and figure this out...

  • Contributor

    @main-sequence these trinkets are a way of not looking cheap, much like having a wife.

  • Contributor

    @clinicallyalive Useless NPC's have become a real epidemic. The cuckery is legendary.

  • Very accurate description. Can attest through personal experience that they serve little function outside of meeting business partners/clients/colleagues you have constant contact with over email & phone etc. ...and of course getting paid to leave the office and waddle about in whatever location the convention or conference is being held at.

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