Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘promotional products’

Eco-Friendly Giveaway Ideas

October 27th, 2022 COMMENTS
eco friendly giveaway ideas
Promotional Products are perfect for trade shows and events

Trade shows and giveaways go together like peanut butter and jelly. Promotional products, as the industry likes to call them, are irresistible when done well. Recently, customers have been asking for eco-friendly or sustainable products. And manufacturers have responded with 100’s of “green” giveaway ideas. We can’t share them all, but we’ll highlight some of the most popular and innovative ones. 

If you’ve never ordered promotional products before, we encourage you to choose ones that align with your company’s values and marketing objectives. Yes, we all enjoy “fun stuff.” However, sustainable giveaways should have more than a 60-second lifespan. They should remind the recipient of your company’s products and services while boosting your trade show ROI and ROO (return on objectives). 

Finally, the sustainable giveaways shown on many online websites are just the tip of the iceberg. To see the full assortment, contact a promotional product specialist. They are experts at finding the right product at the right price and can guide you on effective branding. While your competitor’s giveaways may be tossed soon after the show, your branded cup or pen or coaster or calendar will have a featured location on their desk.  

Why Eco Friendly Giveaway Ideas?

According to Rama Beerfas, Chief Solutions Specialist of Lev Promotions, “Eco-responsible branded products are becoming more important in the marketing world. People like getting things that are relevant to their lives and appreciate them even more when they’re good for the environment – whether by being produced from sustainable materials or recycled products; and/or they can be planted, recycled or composted themselves.”

10 Eco-Friendly Giveaway Items Made from Recycled Materials

Eco-friendly promotional giveaways or swag come in a wide variety of products. Some incentive companies even donate a percentage of your order to ethical/sustainable causes. When it comes to green, you’re not only making a choice on a product but also a business. Let’s start by exploring some popular sustainable trade show gift ideas.

1. MousePaper (MousePad) 12 Month Calendar: Printed on 30% post-consumer recycled paper.

2. Enviro Pens: Available in black, gray, or white, these geometric pattern pens are made of recycled ABS plastic. 

3. Jumbo Non-Woven Grocery Totes: Reusable tote bag available in a rainbow of colors. Made from 10% post-consumer content. 

eco friendly giveaway items
Sustainable Grocery Totes

4. EcoSmart Pullover Hooded Sweatshirt:  Comes in 18 colors and sizes ranging from S to 5X. The fabric is made with up to 5% recycled polyester from plastic bottles. 

5. Classic Baseball Cap: Available in gray, black, blue, and tan. Crafted from 100% recycled fabric. 

6. Bamboo Cutting Board w/ Gift Box: Two-tone bamboo board with laser engraved imprints. Bamboo is a naturally sustainable material. 

green tradeshow gifts
Bamboo Cutting Board

7. Recycled Paper Notepads: 5” W x 7” H Notepad available in 5 colors. Includes 30 lined sheets made with 100% post-consumer recycled materials.

8. Recycled Newspaper Pencil w/ Eraser: Traditional #2 pencil in a variety of colors made from 95% recycled newspaper.  

9. Pine Tree Planter in Gift Box: Pine seeds in a fiber pot that’s 100% organic, sustainable, and biodegradable. Packed in a recycled kraft box.

eco friendly promo items
Pine Tree Planter

10. Sustainable Lip Balm: High-quality lip balm made with sustainable materials. The 100% recycled tup is made from recycled plastic and potato bio-resin.  

5 Green Biodegradable Tradeshow Gifts 

When promotional giveaways are both purposeful and eco-friendly, they communicate a positive, sustainable message to clients.  These gifts are functional products that won’t add to landfills since they are either biodegradable or growable.    

1. Wheat Straw Toothbrush: A medium bristle toothbrush in tan made from wheat straw.   

2. Butterfly Seed Bookmark: The 100% biodegradable eco-paper bookmark includes a butterfly-shaped paper planting embedded with a blend of annual and perennial wildflower seeds. Available in 20 bright colors. 

3. Golf Tees and Ball Marker Set:  Custom printed fairway gear includes 6 biodegradable tees and 2 ball markers. 

Biodegradable Golf Tees for Trade Shows
Biodegradable Golf Tees and Markers

4. Clear Compostable Cups:  These clear brandable cups, In sizes from 9 to 16 oz., are made from renewable resources that will break down in approximately 50 days.

5. Standard Seed Packets:  What’s more green than seeds? The packets are brandable in full color. Choose from 42 high-quality flower, vegetable, and herb varieties. 

5 Organic Eco-Friendly Promo Items

Your customers will appreciate the thoughtfulness of these eco-friendly promotional items. All include organic and/or sustainable components such as bamboo, beeswax, tea, and cotton. 

1. Eco-Bamboo Lanyards:  Made from sustainable and biodegradable bamboo. Choose from a wide variety of colors and  13 standard lanyard attachments. 

2. SPF 30 Sunscreen with Carabiner:  An SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen with skin-friendly, organic ingredients like beeswax and coconut oil.  

3. Herb 3-Pack Eco-Planter:  Each set includes three flower pots, three compress soil wafers, and three seed packets (parsley, basil, and chive). Pots are made from renewable materials including bamboo and corn fiber. 

Herb Planters for Trade Shows
Herb Planters

4. Organic Stash Tea in a Canister:  Delicious organic team from Stash in a decorative metal canister. Comes standard with Earl Grey and Green Teas but specific flavors are available. 

5. Organic Cotton T-Shirt: 100% certified organic cotton t-shirt in 11 colors and sizes from small to 3X. 

Eco-Friendly Giveaway Ideas with Classic Exhibits

Over the years, we’ve learned that it’s easy to get carried away about eco-friendly giveaways. However, before you buy 10,000 reusable straws, remember that the giveaway should reflect your company’s culture and branding. Classic Exhibits has over 25 years of experience working with clients on their trade show marketing program. Let us be a sounding board for you as you navigate the white-water rapids of promotional products. 

If you are interested in pairing your eco-friendly giveaway with an eco-friendly exhibit, browse through our ecoSmart Displays. With over 400 inline and island designs, the ecoSmart line has something for every company. 

With over 200 Distributor Partners throughout North America, there’s a Classic representative close by. Contact us today.

Promotional Product Trends with Rama Beerfas from Lev Promotions

May 18th, 2022 COMMENTS

Rama Beerfas of Lev Promotions shares 20 promotional product trends for 2022 in this Fast and Furious Webinar, sponsored by Classic Exhibits.

For more information about promotional products, tchotchkes, or giveaways, contact Rama at or If you are attending EXHIBITORLIVE, schedule an appointment with her at

For an overview of Promotional Products: 0.00 to 6:39. To see specific products, along with benefits and features: 6:40 to the end.

20 Promotional Product Trends in 20 Minutes (or so)

20 Trending Products

  1. Custom Designed Canister of Mini Gourmet Cookies
  2. Apple Paper Appeel Mid Size Notebook
  3. 24 Page 7.25″x8.5″ Note Paper MousePad
  4. Key Tag with ReturnMe Lost & Found Service
  5. Sustainabalm
  6. Smashlight 180
  7. Bag Tag Survival Multi-Tool
  8. QR Code Key Chain Custom Shape
  9. Classic Series Post-it® Custom Printed Flag & Pen
  10. Plantable Seed Card – Vertical or Horizontal
  11. Phone Loops – Petite Loop Cell Phone Strap Holder
  12. Professional 6″ Engineer Pocket Scale Ruler
  13. MicroHalt Toothbrush Cover, Full Color Digital
  14. SoberStick
  15. Post-it® Extreme Notes w/Custom Printing
  16. Cooling Stick
  17. Soothing Stick
  18. Hydra Stick
  19. Retro Lunch Box
  20. Whatever’s the Perfect Promotional Product for You!

Your Guide to Trade Show Giveaways (with Examples!)

January 22nd, 2022 COMMENTS
Trade Show Promotional Incentives
Promotional Incentives

Trade show giveaways carefully folded into a marketing campaign are an investment in your business. If used wisely, they will spread the word about your company long after the trade show, event, or exhibition has ended. If you are considering adding incentives to your marketing strategy, you are in luck. The incentives industry is a multi-billion-dollar business with a vast range of products that can be printed, embossed, programmed, or custom-made to enhance and bring attention to your trade show exhibit.

What are Trade Show Giveaways?

Whether you use the term “premium incentives,” “promotional products,” or “trade show giveaways,” the goal should be the same. You want to capture the attention of potential clients AND be remembered for all the right reasons.

So, what are the right reasons? Everyone loves a freebie, and giveaways are a proven method for attracting people at a show. However, “If you think of them as trade show giveaways,” according to Rama Beerfas, owner of Lev Promotions“They will have as much value to your recipients as they do to you. If you reframe them as promotional incentives or gifts, you’ll start to realize that a target branded incentive can bring you closer to achieving your goals and providing measurable results.”

Many companies start by searching the web for incentive ideas. Which isn’t a bad way to explore what’s available. However, the choices can be overwhelming. Is that really a wise use of your time? Spending hours searching for the perfect ink pen? Don’t make that mistake! Work with a promotional incentives expert who will ask you the right questions and narrow down your choices. It’s what they do. And it won’t cost you any more.

Trade Show Giveaways

The Four Primary Categories of Incentives 

  • Apparel (T-shirts, hats, golf shirts, etc.)
  • Office Supplies (pens, calendars, clocks, mousepads, mugs, etc.)
  • Fun Stuff (toys, gag gifts, electronics, etc.)
  • Perishables (candy, mints, food and beverage, etc.)

Identifying Your Trade Show Giveaway Strategy

With thousands of possible options, choosing the right one(s) is less about a Top 10 list and more about achieving your marketing goals and sales results. Start by identifying:

  • Your Target Audience
  • Your Budget
  • Your Quantity (it’s not about having something for everyone)
  • Your Theme (and/or the theme of the show)
  • Your Branding
  • Your Strategy

If you’re looking to do what’s hot/trendy/cool/new, then you’re probably going to be one of many on the show floor handing out the same item. Incentives trends are a moving target, and suppliers are nimble at finding and promoting the latest gadget. It may be a charging pad this season and earbuds the next season.

The 4 “Make It” Rules to Incentives

  1. Make It Non-breakable. There’s nothing worse than getting a cool incentive only to have it break within days.  
  2. Make It Lightweight.  You don’t want them to abandon it mid-day just to lighten the load.
  3. Make It Compact. It can’t be bulky since it often has to pack in checked luggage.
  4. Make It TSA Friendly. Nothing is worse than seeing your promotional products in the trash can just outside the airport security checkpoint.

What Makes Good Marketing Merchandise?

You want items that appeal to your specific target market and that are tied into your overall marketing message. Your target market may be active adults. However, if your marketing focus is summer wear, a fall or winter incentive like beanies won’t make sense… even if you would REALLY LOVE to have a branded beanie.

The perfect marketing merchandise for one company (or even one campaign) may be completely inappropriate for another.

Consider Having BEST – BETTER – GOOD Options:

  • BEST is for your top prospects and best clients
  • BETTER is for your good prospects, good existing clients and maybe even staff
  • GOOD is for attendees who are qualified, but not really a hot prospect.

So how do you make the incentive feel like a gift rather than a giveaway? Store the nicer or higher value items out-of-sight, like in a counter, kiosk, or pedestal. Once you’ve qualified the prospect, then present them with a special gift, one they know not everyone else is getting. Perception matters!  

10 Branded Product Ideas/Trends to Consider 

1. 3M Post-It products designed for outdoor or wet settings. Great for the construction and manufacturing industries.

trade show giveaway ideas

2. Custom or packaged gifts that can be handed out or shipped to recipients.

3. Create a custom gift kit with a bit more flair, start with the packaging.

4. Personalize a branded product to the next level.

trade show giveaway ideas

5. Full-Color imprints are perfect for complicated logos or photo-quality imprints

6. Go au Naturel – Green thumb gifts increase indoor oxygen, add color, and can provide herbs for the kitchen.

eco friendly marketing merchandise

7. Bring your lunch to work.

8. Retro-inspired items are always a hit.

retro inspired trade show giveaways

9. Travel Items to make your trip easier, more comfortable, and safer.

travel themed marketing merchandise

10. Your pre-show mailers will be more memorable if you make them “bulky”.

Business Promotional Items to Avoid

  • Anything that may be perceived as in questionable taste: (e.g., a knife in many Asian cultures signifies cutting ties).
  • Anything that is against the law or shows a lack of understanding of social customs: (e.g., chewing gum in Singapore).
  • See the “4 Make It” Rules previously mentioned.
  • Anything that is of poor quality or has a poor/incorrect imprint on it. The quality of the item will reflect on your brand.
  • Anything that demonstrates a poor understanding of your target market: (e.g., a $1.50 tape measure given to contractors).

Your Partner for Trade Show Giveaways

Premium incentives can be an effective trade show or event marketing tool when connected to your company, product, or campaign. There are thousands of choices in incentive items, and the choices change all the time.

Your consultant can guide you through the process of selecting appropriate incentives. In some cases, it is as simple as a pen or pad. In other cases, you may want multiple items linked to your overall marketing message. Incentives can be fun, effective, and expensive.

A special thanks to Rama Beerfas at Lev Promotions for sharing her invaluable advice about promotional incentives. 

The Best Strategies for Trade Show and Event Giveaways and Promotional Products

January 8th, 2020 COMMENTS

Our thanks to the folks at SocialPoint for creating an infographic based on a survey about Trade Show Giveaways.

Few trade show tasks are as fun and frustrating as selecting the appropriate giveaway. Gone are the days when the options were limited to pens, mugs, stress balls, and calculators. There are thousands of promotional products from thousands of vendors. So how do you choose?

As with any marketing decision, you need a strategy and the giveaway should advance it. The infographic below presents strategies, features, choices, and perceptions on the best trade show giveaways. Finally, as a gentle reminder, don’t wait. Not only will you save money, but you’ll ensure any mistakes are corrected before the show.

Promotional Product Trends in 2015

January 13th, 2015 3 COMMENTS

Promotional_4Tchotchke? Swag? Giveaway?

Cindi Cody, Guest Post
Xzibits, Inc.

Look around your office. How many branded items do you have? I’d bet at least one or two or three . . . and you’re not alone. In 2013, advertisers spent more than $18 billion on promotional products. That’s $18,000,000,000 of swag. Wow!

At nearly half a cent per impression, promotional products are a proven, cost-effective way to market your company and increase your brand awareness. They have a lower cost per impression than nearly every other form of advertising. In addition, they have staying power. Most are kept over seven months. If you’re not using promotional items, here are some reasons you should be.

Promotional_3When Choosing a Promotional Product

Budget – You don’t have to spend a lot. My rule of thumb is to give them something they will be upset about if they lose it.
Imprint Area – Know the imprint area restrictions of the product. If you have a vertical logo more than likely it won’t imprint well on a pen.
Artwork – Always submit Vector art and convert fonts to outlines.
Proofs – Although you may be charged (usually less than $10) always ask for a proof.
Production Time – Build in at least 10 business days. If you have a rush order, there are several manufacturers that offer 24-48 hour production times.
Overages – Ask vendors to share their overage/under provision.

Trending in 2015


  • Power Banks, Stylus Pens, Cord Organizers, Bluetooth Speakers, Phone and Tablet Stands.

Health and Wellness

  • Hand Sanitizers, Pedometers, Fitness Watches, and Fingerprint ID Kits


  • Laser-etched Polos, Packable Garments, Folk Patterns, and a lot of Marsala! (Pantone Color of the Year 2015)


  • Infusers, Mason Jars, Geometric Tumblers and Bright Colors

Check out the New Products Introduced at the 2015 ASI Show in Orlando

So… what branded product did you find on your desk? 😉

Have questions about promotional products? Give me a call.

–Cindi Cody