How to bring swag bag game to a new level? Tips & best bag ideas

- Eventory Blog


How to bring swag bag game to a new level? Tips & best bag ideas



There are many ways to increase the level of happiness of your guests at the event. Swag bags, other known as goodie bags, are one of them. Marketing freebies are really popular. Heck, Oscar swag bags got even straight to Forbes and Business Insider as a scoop of the day. So what are the best swag bag ideas to bring the swag bag game to a whole new level? Read the article and find the answer.

What is swag bag?

Swag bag is a bag filled with marketing freebies, gift cards, and other cool, themed stuff that attendees receive during various events. There are conference bags, convention bags, gala bags, or even wedding bags.They are really popular – people like free stuff, especially if it is useful and pretty. And there’s a reason for that.

Why should you consider preparing swag bags for your next event?

The good conference is a thrill by itself. That’s for sure. But believe me – there’s nothing that says “let’s be friends” more than a bag filled with good stuff handed for free to an attendee during your event.

And, surprise, surprise, it brings multiple benefits not only to a receiver but also to a giver. Just to mention a few, there are:

  • promotion of the brand (through the useful branded items)
  • promotion of the product (if it’s in the bag, people will try it)
  • fixing a positive image of your company in attendees’ minds (by giving them nice things for free)
  • strengthening your relations with partners (same reason as above – they are people too).

Besides, if you put some extra effort and come up with the great gift bag ideas for conference attendees, there’s a huge chance, they will make some social media buzz just for you. You know – hashtags, user-generated content, sharing posts – these kinds of stuff.

What the Oscar swag bag level mean

So why am I talking constantly about the Oscar swag bag?

What makes this gift bag special is what you put inside. Let’s take a look at what’s inside the bag so famous that Forbes published an article about it, shall we? Here’s the 2017 edition.

As you can see, the bag contains products from various categories and with a different purpose. In the Forbes article, the author lists some gifts for 25 nominees in acting and directing categories from the 2018 Gala. On the list you will find:

  • 12-night Tanzania vacation for two
  • A week-long stay at the Golden Door SPA
  • DNA kit from 23andMe
  • Six-night and seven-day stay at Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu in Kauai
  • 10,000-bowl donation from Halo, Purely For Pets
  • “Stylish” pepper spray from PepperFace
  • A year’s supply of Healing Saint products
  • Bath bomb from PETA
  • Levitating Bluetooth speaker by Shop Modern Innovations
  • Luxury false lashes from Le Céline.

The common denominator of all these products is their high quality. But what else can you learn from this case?

Three lessons from the Oscar swag bags

The first thing that stands out while going through the Oscar freebie list is that” the gifts are not random. They are certainly gathered with a person that is used to the luxury on the mind.  

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Here is the amazing collection of items in the celebrity swag bag!! (You can see my black box with wooden tag on the bottom right!)😜 “The Artisan Group will sponsor GBK's Pre-Oscars Luxury Celebrity Gifting Suite, with a star-worthy selection of luxury handcrafted goods prepared by its members especially for attending celebrities, VIPs and select members of the press and media.”😍 I am so excited!! Stop by tomorrow afternoon – I’ll be posting a photo of my display for the event! 😘 #jenvolkodavjewelrydesign #handmadewithlove #oscarswag #gbkoscarslounge #theartisangroup #gbkproductions #gbkpreoscars #celebstyle #gbkoscars2018 #oscars2018 #celebrityswag #giftingsuite #academyawards #oscarstyle #swagbags #swagbag #celebrityjewelry #academyawards2018

A post shared by Jen Volkodav – Jewelry Artist (@jenvolkodavdesigns) on

Tanzania Vacation, Golden Door Spa? These are not the gifts for the less fortunate ones. It means that the organizers have done their research. So what are three main lessons that you can learn from the Oscar swag bag case?

Lesson 1

Know your audience. Period. Do all you can to learn who will come to your event. Even better, start with answering the question ‘Who do I want on my event?’. Write in capital letters your overall reason to organize the event. Then figure out who will help you complete this goal. Analyze the data from previous events that you have gathered with your event software (a platform like Eventory for example). Check your marketing personas. Take a look into website analytics.

Learn as much as possible about your future guests. Learn what they like. This way you can compose gift bags that will touch their soft spots even if you are on the budget. The right gift is worth a thousand vouchers.

What’s more, many of the gifts are meaningful. Did you notice the stylish pepper spray on the list? This year’s Oscar Gala took place in the shade of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. The pepper spray was the Academy’s way to support female victims of sexual harassment. So there it goes:

Lesson 2

Make your gifts memorable and meaningful. Check the current affairs and align the theme of your marketing freebies ideas with it. Don’t be afraid to show that you care and step out for what you believe. Even if it is a little bit controversial. As long as the cause resonates with your business, making your statement is not only ok, but it will make your brand image even stronger.

The CSR (corporate social responsibility) is one of the tools that brands use to show their support for certain organizations. Modern clients, especially Millennials, like the companies that will take this extra mile to show something more than their logo and smiling stock-like photos.

The last thing to notice is that the gifts (or at least part of them) are unique. Of course, not all of them are one-of-a-kind, handmade gems, but some of them are prepared especially for this occasion.

Lesson 3

Make your gifts stand out by customizing them to this occasion. What’s the point of giving away the product that can be bought in a store right around the corner? Also, if the items won’t be unique, they will disappear after the attendee will come back home and unpack the swag bag. Their uniqueness will sustain the image that event painted in the minds of the attendees. Plus, it will prolong their event experience. Everytime they will look at the selected item, it will bring back some good memories

Tips that will take your freebies to an Oscar swag bag level

To sum this up and translate the Oscar bags into your company’s needs, I’ve listed some tips to make A swag bag into THE swag bag:

Tip #1 The look

You have only one chance to make the first impression. Make it count. Align swag bag look with the conference theme and make it into an eye-candy. The best part is, you don’t have to murder your piggy bank in order to do that. Look for the bags that are of a different size,  have a memorable texture, or are made of some special material. Maybe go for a backpack?

And remember to put your logo in the right place. It doesn’t even have to be in the most visible place of the bag. Some of the best swag bag ideas include bags with the logo hidden inside, so people see it every time they look into the bag.The unexpected twist will earn you some extra swag points.

Tip #2 The balance

The sales and marketing balance must be just right in this case. If you go wild with the fun stuff, people will get distracted and won’t notice your hidden pitch. If you put too much sales factor in the bag, the will get overwhelmed with it, and lose all the fun.

Tip #3 The quality

The rule of a thumb is: put the quality over the quantity. Even if your budget is low, it doesn’t mean you have to reach for some cheap and cheesy gift ideas for conference attendees. Instead of buying 10 cheap, low-quality items, aim at 3 but really good ones in the same price range.

Tip #4 The UX

Pick items that are pleasant to use. You want to be associated with things that bring joy, not struggle. That’s it. It is that simple.

Tip #5 Usefulness

While completing the marketing freebies ideas list, remember to consider if the attendee will be able to use it. Think of the interactions they can perform including the particular gift. If it will only gather some dust on the shelf, cross it out of the list immediately. I guarantee, that sooner or later (but rather sooner) the gift will end up in the trash bin. And it will happen after the extended period of slightly annoying your potential customer with an item branded with your logo. You don’t want that. Instead of buying paperweights for a bunch of app developers, get them portable USB charges, or screen wipers. If you have zero to none clue on what can be useful, go for chocolates. It is always a safe option.

Tip #6 The transport

Bear in mind, that the attendee must carry the swag bag from the venue to their apartment. Make the bag lightweight and in a manageable size. People will be grateful if they won’t have to struggle in a bus or Uber with a huge bag that they want to take home and unpack. Unless you are sure your guests came in their own vehicles, don’t give them the Grammy-style bags

Gift ideas for conference attendees

There are many great ideas for what to put inside the swag bags. Basically, you can divide those ideas into some categories. Let’s start  with corporate gifts:


Most of the people at the conference didn’t bring an analog notebook. They have voice recorders and/or laptops. But sometimes (especially when your battery is low), everyone will appreciate a “good ol’” paper-smelling notebook.

Sticky Notes Organizer

We all have them – sticky, yet somehow loose post-its. Therefore an organizer will be something that every professional will appreciate.

Screen Cleaner

You can order them with your logo printed on them. Since we all use smartphones, a screen cleaner will be always handy. Even the Emmy bags had those (2:53):

USB Ultrasonic Humidifier

Air condition and winter dry air is something that can damage our health. Therefore a portable USB humidifier will be a unique gadget that will show that you care.

Next group of swag bag ideas contains electronic gadgets. These do not have to be expensive to bring some joy and fun.

Portable Power Bank

Smartphones – again. A portable charger is a must if you travel a lot and don’t have an outlet or a charging station all the time within your reach. Simple and useful. This is the gift that you can’t get enough of.

Whistling key finder Keychain

Hands up who never lost their keys and never spent nearly half an hour to find them! A portable key localizer will help people with this struggle.

Waterproof Smartphone Case

Boring as it sounds, this is one of the best gadgets. It’s practical, it can be customized so you can place your design wherever you want on the case, and the best part – it can be a budget-friendly gadget!

LED Flashlight

A handy thing during a night in a new place, when you forgot to charge your smartphone (that’s what power banks are for!). Often it doubles as a keychain.

Green, environment-friendly gifts

Such gifts can relate to CSR actions. By giving them away in the goody bags you spread the ideas you cheer for.

Grow Your Own… something

Mushrooms,  sprouts, trees, nice smelling plant… The ideas are endless. And their result can be healthy, important and delicious. Consider Grow your Own … kits especially if you organize an event somehow related to the conscious lifestyle and ecological mindset.

Ecological self-care products

Companies offer different kits to make your own products. Usually, they contain some natural oils, something to add nice smell, and the thing that adds a twist to the whole set an makes it unique. Perfect for beauty cons. Check some more marketing freebies ideas for beauty events.

Gifts that support a cause

Some companies and organizations donate a certain amount of money if you buy an item. These items will be a perfect gift for people who also support this cause – they will appreciate your donation.

Recycled stuff

Recycled doesn’t mean it’s trash. Such things can be both beautiful and useful (while being super eco-friendly).

Consumables also can make a perfect swag bag filling. Beverages, sweets, snacks – they all will be consummated and leave a nice aftertaste. Just like your event.


A good cup of tea is not only a domain of book lovers. When November rain comes, we all crave for something hot and heartwarming. And the tea is an answer. Aim at the higher shelf while picking it. Remember the quality tip.


Black, aromatic with some fruity or floral notes. A coffee is an art itself. If your event isn/t for people with cardiac diseases or any other poor souls that can’t enjoy a quick espresso or flat white, put some coffee in your swag bags right away!


Artisan pralines will delight all your guests. Everybody loves chocolate or at least knows someone who likes it.

Other ideas

Virtual swag bag

It’s a relatively new idea. Virtual swag bag contains mostly virtual coupons and gift cards. It doesn’t weight much, it is usable and extremely nice to receive. Also, if you partner with some software houses or cloud-based SaaS producers, this kind of bag may be a hit – put some discounts or promo codes for their products inside the virtual swag bag. Your partners will promote their products, and you will upgrade your gift bags.

Travels and experiences

You can also hand the attendees a voucher to a SPA, for a bungee jump or a lesson of Tuva throat singing (whatever butters their parsnips). This will make a great gift if your audience contains daredevils and adventurers.


Another group of giveaway products is apparel. It’s the type of products that is easiest to customize. You can choose from many different clothes and accessories. However, bear in mind that the clothes should fit. So either go for universal stuff, like hats or tote bags or be prepared and bring clothes of many sizes. What else you can put in the bag?

– T-shirts

– Hoodies

– Polo Shirts

– Vests

and so on…

What to do if you’re on a budget but still want to make the best gift bags ever?

If you’re on a budget you don’t have to give up on swag bags. There are some clever tricks to still have cool gifts without going bankrupt.

Keep it local

Use your local connections to complete the greatest bag you can imagine. Local products show your appreciation for community initiatives and are often cheaper alternatives to the corporate stuff.

Make it seasonal

It’s a great way of customizing the gift bags. If it’s rainy season, buy umbrellas, during summer – buy green thumb kits or lip balm with sunscreen.  During winter put some Hot Cocos emergency kits, and so on, and so on.

Avoid junk

Junk is often used as a filler. But it brings zero to none value. And as a junk, it will soon land in a trash bin. Still, these items cost so don’t waste your money on it, spend it wisely.

Ask your partners

Oh yeah! This is one good piece of advice. Partners are here to support your event. Also, they are here to promote their business. A small contribution can make a difference. Their products will reach a wider audience and you will have nice gifts for your guests.

Wrap up

The swag bags truly put a swag into your event. Swag bag ideas may vary from sweet and simple budget versions to the swagissimus rexes of the gift bags. To complete a list of the perfect gift ideas for conference attendees, you should brainstorm multiple ideas and then pick the ones that resonate with your company values, your attendees’ values and the theme of the event.

Mind that they should be usable, transportable and pretty. Their main purpose is to build trust for your brand, put your logo on the plain sight of the potential customers, and establish positive connotations with your company. The best marketing freebies ideas are those that will help you accomplish all three goals at the same time.

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