Sunday, July 05, 2009

Am I a SWAG Hag?

Definition: SWAG hag - a person that only goes to the vendors to get SWAG ("Stuff We All Get").

Picture Credit: The MiScope by NUMBER ONE piece of SWAG and the coooooooolest product demo ever.

Visiting the vendors at NECC was lots of fun. The nerd inside actually went through the program in advance and marked off vendors that had goods that I am interested in learning more about (clickers, wireless, etc.). Since I am always on the hunt for cool things for the faculty and students at Hotchkiss, I expand my search to things for science, math, and other disciplines.

So, what about SWAG? I have to admit...I LOVE SWAG! It might just be a function of having a 6 and 7 year old that love little trinkets. might be that our suitcase ripped and all of Dave's shirts got milkshake spilled on them, so earning tee shirts was a solution to a potentially expensive problem.

But, does SWAG make me think better about a company?

The reasonable girl in me says that if a company is sporting expensive SWAG, they have to jack up the prices of their products to cover the costs of the SWAG. Little staplers can not possibly be cheap.

But, as Elvis dazzled me and I had a shiny new iPod shuffle in my pocket, I wondered how much of a SWAG hag I really was...and if my inner Hag would win over the practical girl we all know and (hopefully) love.

I have about 4 bags full of SWAG. To help Dave out, I sat through 5 presentations to get him tee shirts, but, ethically, I would only sit through presentations of products I was interested in learning about (clickers, mostly). We have one set of Turning Point clickers, but I wanted to learn more about them and their competitors. Since I am a SMART fan (LOVE LOVE LOVE their products), I did get myself a SMART shirt so people would know my genius before speaking to me (har). Office Depot (Tech Depot) will be remembered because they gave out those little extender USB thingers that I desperately needed for my Mac. Aruba Networks sent me a little coin in advance of the conference, and when I turned it in with the card, I received an iPod Shuffle. Now, I had no idea what Aruba did, but I am much more likely to remember that they can provide a wireless solution to Hotchkiss because our car rides are now quiet as my son listens to his favorite tunes on his little Shuffle. And, I am eager to pass along their information to our IT department because they made such an effort to contact me. The SWAG I loved most was from Zarbeco. They gave out these little bugs in plastic that can be used with these UBER COOL hand held microscopes. Honestly, I am buying one just for myself because they are so uber cool. And, truly, I probably would not have stopped at this little vendor if I had not spotted the little bug thingies. After chatting for a half hour and playing with these mics, I am totally recommending that our science department buy them. So, in this case, yet again, SWAG brought me in...and SWAG helped me to see something I wouldn't have seen.

In other cases, it just wouldn't matter what they gave out. For example, I am a Google fan, so it doesn't matter that they handed out uber cool slinkies. They were great hits with my kids, but I would still love Google anyway. And, while I wanted a coveted SMART shirt, I love their stuff regardless of the tee shirt. PBS Kids, too, had great SWAG. They gave out little notebooks that I am using for Geocaching. But, again, I am already a fan of all of their work. Scholastic also had great prizes, and I won a Clifford the Dog USB. But, I loved them, too, without the little prize.

So, am I SWAG hag? Probably.

Even though it isn't important in the end, clever SWAG will get me to stop at your stand. Things like sticky pads and pens just won't do have to sport little staplers, plastic buggies, or USB port thingers. If you are going to bother to do SWAG, make sure it is cool and different. But, don't worry, in the end, it is your product, not the SWAG, that will get my endorsement :-)



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