Swag Bags: Elevate Your Event with These Creative Ideas

8 min readJun 21, 2023

When event planning, you need to make sure you leave a positive impression on your attendees. One of the best ways to do this is to give away high-quality swag bags. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the top ways to ensure your next event’s swag bags are so appealing that your guests will want to come back for more.

What is a Swag Bag?

Simply put, a swag bag is a bag full of “freebies” that attendees receive at your event. The bag’s contents vary greatly between events, but typically, swag bag contents fall into one of two categories: promotional or functional.

A promotional swag bag is filled with items, often branded with a company’s logo or message, that are given out at events or as gifts to promote a brand or product. Swag bags that contain promotional items are often used as a marketing tool to create brand awareness and encourage customer loyalty.

A functional swag bag is a promotional bag designed to serve a specific purpose beyond just carrying items. These bags are typically useful for a particular activity or situation. For example, a functional swag bag for a tech conference might include a portable phone charger, a USB flash drive, or a sleek laptop sleeve. These items serve a practical purpose for attendees during the conference and continue to be useful in their daily lives.

Why Provide Swag Bags?

Swag bags can enhance your event in a few different ways and help you achieve event goals such as:

  • Increasing Brand Awareness: Swag bags help guests remember your brand after the event has concluded. Including branded items can increase brand exposure.
  • Improving Event Participation: Swag bags can include items attendees will need to participate in various activities during your event, such as “funny money” or raffle tickets, giving attendees more incentive to participate.
  • Rewarding VIP Participation: You can give VIPs or high-profile attendees swag bags as a bonus for participating in the event.
  • Facilitating Consumer Feedback: Swag bags are a great way for brands to launch new products. Ultra-exclusive items in the swag bag not only create buzz but also create brand advocates if well received.
  • Increasing Brand Loyalty: Giving away great products for free or swag with a purpose helps brands create a positive image and reinforce brand loyalty by positive association.

Before handing out swag bags, be sure to have a specific goal in mind. This way, you can customize the bags to meet the goal.

Six Swag Bag Ideas to Elevate Your Next Event

  • Event-specific items: The easiest way to ensure attendees hold onto their swag bags is to include items they’ll need for various event activities, such as “funny money” or drink tickets. If you want to create a more memorable experience, the bag can be an activity by itself. For example, you can include all the ingredients in a mocktail or cocktail and invite attendees to a mixology class. Another fun example of a swag bag is to include items for an event-specific game, such as a scavenger hunt or bingo card. Once guests complete the card, they can receive a prize.
  • Branded swag: One of the simplest ways to fill swag bags is to include promotional items.
    Typically, branded swag might include t-shirts, keychains, mugs, flash drives, etc. Make sure promotional items are practical pieces attendees will appreciate. Ideally, these items can also
    be related to the event. For example, event sponsors in the horticultural industry could include swag items such as branded packets of seeds or a spade with a logo on the handle.
  • Professional swag: Swag bags often feature items event attendees can use in their jobs. Examples include planners, notebooks, laptop bags, chargers, and more. By investing in high-quality professional items, your swag is as practical as it is stylish. You can also opt for swag that works tangentially to the job, such as a spill-proof mug or a branded desk chair cushion.
  • Food and beverage swag: Who doesn’t love free food? This option works well for all kinds of events, from trade shows to job fairs. You can also offer food delivery gift cards from companies like GrubHub or Uber Eats. Pro tip: stick with dry packaged foods that won’t spoil or make a mess in transit.
  • Swag for the whole family: Many event attendees bring swag home for their families to enjoy. Some examples of family-friendly swag include stuffed animals, miniature versions of popular games, frisbees, bouncy balls, pop-its, drawstring bags, and cell phone accessories.
  • Corporate culture swag: What is your company’s mission? What are your corporate values? You can incorporate items that reflect your corporate identity into your swag bag. For example, if you’ve made a sustainability commitment, you can include sustainable swag like recycled products in the bag. Similarly, if your corporate culture includes community service, you can include collateral that educates attendees on the organizations you support in your community.

Swag bags can enhance events by providing memorable and useful items to keep attendees returning for more and facilitate conversation even after the event is over.

Sustainable Swag Bags for the Conscious Consumer

Sustainability is more than just a trend. It’s a commitment. According to Forbes, 88% of customers will be more loyal to a company that supports social or environmental issues, and 92% will be more likely to trust a company that supports social or environmental issues.

Here are a few sustainable swag ideas:

  • Stainless steel cups: Stainless steel cups are ideal for sustainable swag, as they eliminate single-use plastic or paper cups and are 100% recyclable and reusable.
  • Reusable straws: As more hotels, restaurants, and coffee shops eliminate the use of single-use plastic and paper straws, reusable straws are becoming desirable to people on the go. You can find metal, silicone, and eco-friendly options like bamboo or organic grass straws.
  • Reusable tote bags: An oldie but a goodie. Reusable tote bags are not only trendy and useful but also an excellent way to promote your company’s brand. Made of natural cotton, these bags are environmentally and budget-friendly, and they can become the swag item to carry all your items at the event, making them a great addition to any swag bag.
  • Tree planting kits: Enable your attendees to give back to mother earth. Tree planting kits, such as the ones from Modern Sprout, can help reforest the future. Tree planting kits typically include an up-cycled, biodegradable container with carefully selected seeds to thrive in most areas of the country.

Using Swag Bags In a Virtual Environment

Even if you’re hosting a virtual or hybrid event, you can use swag bags to your advantage. There are two ways to incorporate bags into a virtual or hybrid event format. First, you can send bags to virtual participants beforehand, which they can open during the event and display. This option works well if you use a virtual platform like Zoom, where attendees can see each other. The second way to use swag bags for a virtual or hybrid event is to provide digital swag. For example, bingo and scavenger hunt cards can easily be digitized and used by all attendees in an event-wide activity. You can also include a digital swag bag crossword puzzle or wordle and encourage in-person and virtual attendees to play in an all-event contest, complete with a leaderboard.

Swag Bag Tips

Here are a few tips for curating memorable swag bags:

  • Know your audience: Think about the attendees and what appeals to them. What kind of event are you holding? Are they health conscious? Are they lifelong learners? Do they practice sustainability? Are they sports fanatics? Tailor the contents of your swag bag to match the personas of your audience.
  • Customization is key: Make sure items are branded. Include your company name and/or logo on your swag. Ensure your items use your brand’s colors, iconography, etc., to keep your branding consistent.
  • Don’t overlook digital-only swag: For virtual or hybrid event attendees, digital swag bags can be just as exciting as physical ones. Examples of digital swag include thought leadership content such as whitepapers, e-books, and online courses or gifts like virtual fitness classes, app subscriptions, and downloadable Slack stickers. You can also include monetary gifts such as discounts, coupons, donation allowances, and gift cards.
  • Put it on display: Encourage event sponsors and exhibitors to incorporate swag bag items into their booth displays. Pro tip: To create organic social content and encourage social sharing, include an event hashtag on swag and at the booth.

Swag Bag Examples

Here are some swag examples from 6Connex:

Let 6Connex Help You Plan Your Next Event!

Swag bags are an excellent addition to any event, leaving a lasting impression on attendees. And by collaborating with a team skilled in events software and event tech integrations, you can ensure a seamless event flow from swag bag builds to post-event surveys.

6Connex is a premier virtual, hybrid, and in-person mobile event app provider. Our platform offers secure and scalable online environments for virtual conferences, trade shows, webinars, and in-person event technology. We offer end-to-end mobile solutions from pre-event promotions to post-event analytics and reporting. Our state-of-the-art event management software allows you to seamlessly market, manage, and measure events.

With cutting-edge technology, our open universe, and features like live streaming, on-demand content, interactive booths, gamification, and networking tools, your events will engage your audience and drive results for your business. Our customizable platform is designed to help you connect with customers, generate leads, and educate your audience while delivering measurable results to achieve your goals.

Contact us today to request a demo and see our in-person, hybrid, and virtual events solutions.

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Join us on June 27th at 10 a.m. CST for our webinar “Raising the Bar: Achieving Sustainable Events through Innovative Technologies and Expert Insights.” co-hosted with MUSE. Learn from event sustainability gurus as they share tips on reducing carbon footprints and creating events that make Mother Nature proud. Don’t miss out on this industry-leading, eco-friendly event!

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