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Swag Bag Ideas

27th May 2023

Slightly blurred image of 5 swag bags lined up on a couch

So you have planned the perfect event, done your marketing and nailed the logistics. But how do you ensure attendees remember your company or organisation after the event is over?

Enter: the humble swag bag. A lot like lolly bags handed out at the end of birthday parties, these aren’t just a fun way of handing out treats but can be a powerful marketing tool.

The problem? A lot of these so-called “swag” bags don’t have much in the way of swag. And non-swag swag bags tend to end up in trash cans.

How can you avoid this fate? Read on for our top tips and ideas for a swag bag people will actually want to take home with them.

What is a swag bag?

A swag bag is a gift that you give out at the end of an event. The idea is that there will be branded items inside that guests will use long after the end of the event, reminding them of your organisation and increasing brand awareness.

When done right, a swag bag can really pay off, with attendees becoming like walking advertisements by wearing a branded t-shirt or carrying a tote. But when done wrong, you are likely to look in the bins after an event and find them stuffed with the bags people were handed mere minutes before. A sad sight that no organiser would want to witness.

The key to a swag bag that is actually swag

It may seem obvious, but the main thing to think about is whether people will want or use the items you are putting in the bag. This comes down to a few key questions:

  • Is the item high quality?
  • Do people generally have a use for this item?
  • Does it look kind of lame?
  • Will people be able to take it home and/or through airport security?

Even if your founder or boss thinks it is a great idea for their face to be the company’s logo, this might not translate so well to a t-shirt. Similarly, if you have a very tight marketing budget, sending everyone home with a pen that collapses the moment it touches the paper isn’t going to do wonders for your reputation.

So the trick is to find high-quality items that you can afford that people will actually use. That can be easier said than done, so this is also a great opportunity to link up with partners and leverage those relationships in the form of sweet, sweet swag.

Our quick guide to being taken or tossed

Things that tend to get taken:

  • Items personalised to attendees
  • Electronics
  • Kids’ toys
  • Clothing that isn’t ugly or impractical

Things that tend to get tossed:

  • Brochures
  • Things that won’t pass airport security
  • Cheap, low-quality items
  • Really ugly t-shirts

20 Ideas for Swag that will Pass the Toss Test

Branded food items (that actually taste good)

A branded food item could be a great way to raise awareness and help fuel attendees for the event. Whether it is your logo on a cookie or cupcake or wine with your own custom label, no one is ever sad to find a treat. Just be aware of dietary requirements and allergens -- probably best to steer clear of beef jerky or peanut butter bites!


Books can be a powerful way of sharing a message - after all, stories have been the main way humans communicate since the dawn of language. You can include a book directly related to your industry, but don’t be afraid to think outside the box and excite people’s imaginations. Obama regularly had his staff read fiction that might not seem directly related to his industry, but, he always believed in “the power of words as a way to figure out who you are and what you think, and what you believe, and what’s important, and to sort through and interpret this swirl of events that are happening around you every minute." Check out your local indie bookstore ask for recommendations, and support local artists in the process.

Items of use

Including an item you would actually use is a good way of guaranteeing that your bag will be kept. The key is quality - no one needs another branded plastic water bottle likely to leak. Consider good re-usable bottles, keep cups, caps, nice tote bags and pens that actually work.

Luxury swag bag

Everyone could use a little luxury. If you are planning a more upscale event -- like a gala dinner. Including a bag with nice candles, make-up items or fine foods could be an excellent option. It’s also a chance to partner with luxury brands aligned with your event vision.

Tees that actually look good

Having a t-shirt with your logo can be a great way to raise brand awareness. And who doesn’t love a free t-shirt? Even if they are only used at the gym, a t-shirt is an item that never gets old. Just ensure it’s designed well and is reasonably high quality. If you are concerned about sustainability, it is worth really doing your research and finding sustainable sources for your tees.


Most people will need headphones -- whether a new high-quality pair or a less high-end set for the gym and travel. This is especially useful for events centres around music but can go well at a range of events.

Healthy snacks

A healthy snack is a great way to help attendees feel their best during an event. There is a good reason that corporate wellness is such a rapidly growing area - healthy people are more productive, less likely to take time off for being unwell, and generally happier.

A timer that sits on your desk

We’ve probably all heard of the pomodoro productivity hack by now, but in a world where our phones are our clocks, how are we meant to stay distraction-free? You could include a sand timer that people can have on their desks - something sure to be useful for everyone who has a job!

Free subscription to a service

We are in the age of subscription streaming services. So why not partner up with someone and offer guests an extended free trial period, exclusive to them?

Phone case

Anyone who has had to endure the slow-motion vision of their new phone tumbling towards a hard surface understands the need for a sturdy phone case. Why not hand out some cute branded options? Best to go with the two or three most popular android and apple models, and offer an option to guests. Even if they don’t use it, they will know someone who will.

Meditation sessions

This is a thoughtful inclusion that can really help people calm down and clear their minds. Whether it is to sessions in person or online service, this is also a great opportunity to partner up with a meditation provider and offer attendees some serenity.

Local food produce

This is a great option that is not only sustainable but helps show attendees the best food and produce from your area. Did you know the taste of honey varies wildly, even between neighbouring suburbs? A great way to support local businesses and give guests something unique to your event.

Toys and knick-knacks

You might be well overusing your fidget spinner, but there is an endless range of toys that are still fun for adults and kids. Whether you include a yoyo or a small puzzle, think of a way to show the fun side of your brand by including a toy.

Everyday toiletries

There are some basics that everyone needs: shampoo, conditioner, lip balm and sunscreen! Again, a great chance to get some brand partnerships going and to source sustainably.

At-home coffee kit

Making a killer brew at home is easier than you think. A cafeteria, V60 or mini Moka pot all make great at-home coffee making options and can be a fun take-home item.

Power bank (and adaptors)

How many times have you been at a day-long event or conference only to run out of power? By providing a power bank to attendees, you can get a branded item out that will actually be useful. Make them compact and travel-friendly.


Backpacks never go out of style. Having a stylish logo on the back makes them excellent advertising items, too.

Gym bag

The great thing about gym bags is they can be made of flexible materials, making them cheap to produce but endlessly useful. As long as there is room for a bottle, towel and a change of shirt, you are good to go. Include those items as well and you can give attendees a ready-to-go gym kit.


Even with the rise of technology, nothing beats a good old-fashioned to-do list. Stationary is a great, office-friendly item that can be adapted to suit your needs. From highlighters to post-its to to-do lists, the options are almost endless.

Charitable gift

If you are running an event centred on charity, NGOs or the not-for-profit sector, it makes sense that instead of an item to take home, attendees can make a donation on their way out. You can even provide a choice between three charities and hand out tokens to guests, asking them to place their tokens in the box of the charity they choose. Each token represents an amount of money that will be donated after the event. Win-win!

Want to sell tickets to your event but don't know where to start?

Feel free to speak with a human at Humanitix!

Em Meller
Em Meller

Em Meller lives and works in Sydney, Australia on the unceded lands of the Gadigal people. Her work has appeared in places like The Lifted Brow, Cordite, and Going Down Swinging. She has studied creative writing at the University of Technology, Sydney, and at Oxford University.

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