eliPlaying off their ad campaign of avoiding shipping mixups, “No two hogs are alike” (the animal vs. the motorcycle), ELITeXPO gives away their “mascot,” Eli T. Expo. Eli, a pink stuffed hog in a leather jacket emblazoned with XPO on the back, comes complete with a tag stating his “birthday” and limited edition number, as well as company contact information. But a promotional item this nice can’t go to just anyone looking for freebies! ELITeXPO pre-qualifies attendees using lead cards and awards Eli in periodic drawings.


Other unique and clever giveaways:

• geekpack“Geek Pack”: a plastic pocket protector containing a pen and a pair of black plastic glasses (complete with masking tape on the bridge), imprinted with the company logo of BigEdison.com, a Web design and hosting firm.

• Sandwich-shaped memo pads imprinted with company logo; also available in cookie, hamburger, hot dog, or waffle shapes (works great with a food themed booth). The foam outside opens up to reveal the memo pad as the “meat” of the sandwich. (Available from DeLano Service Inc.)
• Compact, fold-away binoculars with the message, “Take a closer look at two great hotels in Chicago!” and logos of the Sheraton Chicago and the Westin River North.


• “Prescription” filled with M&Ms, with a label that says: “For fast, effective relief from planning headaches, take two tablets daily and visit www.EventSource.com” (a meeting planner Web site).

• Bean bag turtle with a tag providing facts about the sea turtles found at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort in Florida. They also handed out sand-filled keychains.
• Yellow hard hat keychains imprinted with the Overland Park (KS) CVB logo were handed out to commemorate the construction of their city’s new convention center. At the reception the CVB sponsored, attendees were served ice cream in yellow hard hat cups.
• Interactive keychain with pushbutton sounds of seagulls for the Wildwoods Convention Center by the Sea (this followed a pre-show mailer that announced “You haven’t heard anything yet” and played the seagull sounds when opened).

funnyface1funnyface2• Funny Faces can “morph” an attendee’s photo (with their permission, of course!) and turn them into a “talking head” on the video screen. Each volunteer also receives a copy of the photo to take home. (Here you see an example of yours truly!)

Another advantage to these photo items? While attendees are able to get the item on the spot, it does take a few moments to produce. Voila! A captive audience for booth staff to present information about your company while they wait.

(All of the above are excerpts from Build a Better Trade Show Image, © 2002 by Marlys K. Arnold. All rights reserved.)