I don’t know if in a former life I experienced the Great Depression, or what my deal is, but I’m a sucker for giveaway goodies. In travel writing and other industries, we call this swag. You’ve read about the gift bags given to celebrities at major media events, hoping that one of these consumer influencers will be seen wearing a company logo. Every convention, conference, and charity event has little goodie bags given to attendees, all in the name of marketing.
It never fails, anytime I attend a media trip, at some point the conversation meanders its way along to the subject of press trip swag. The stories from old-school travel writers are insane and unbelievable. I heard tales of car companies sending writers to Alaska to check out a new SUV, and giving the writers full length fur coats. There is also the legend of the travel writer who shoplifted sweatshirts from a hotel gift shop because she didn’t have one in her room. I even once heard one writer complain because she didn’t have Champagne chilling in her room when she checked in.
Those days are gone. The airlines charge for baggage, leaving little room to bring home swag. The TSA has banned liquids, so forget even carrying home that gift bottle of expensive vodka or the wine the nice vintner gave you during your tour.
That’s okay with me. I don’t need another logo denim shirt. I like something useful and practical. I like a swag item that reminds me of the people I met or an event I experienced. I want to be able to pull the moments from my memory when I’m sitting on my back porch and smile inside thinking how lucky my life can be at times.
Gone are the days where I lugged home a beach bag full of things I’ll never use again. Just give me a coffee mug.
Shannon wrote this while sipping a strong cup of Louisiana’s Community Coffee from a mug given to her by The Spa at Oak Haven Resort. She received this swag item while exploring the mountains and attractions of Sevierville, TN. She can’t wait to go back and see those mountains.