Skip to content
Resources | Blog

7 Innovative Promotional Items Perfect for Onsite Gifting

Our friends at Boundless Collection know attendees crave the tangible connection that comes with promotional products—and brands are listening. Here, they share the items that will build brand love, and those to skip.

Not all promotional products are equal. If anything, customers in 2022 expect brands to knock their socks off with innovative, off-the-wall branded merchandise that sparks a connection. That sounds like a tall order, but if you know which product marketing trends to follow, you can delight and engage your attendees at every turn.

Curious about what this year holds for promotional products? Let’s dig into which products brands need to ditch and which trends to embrace this year.


Gifting trends to try at your next event

Ready to try something new? Us, too! Promotional products should change with the times, and 2022 has already shaped up to be a year of big changes.

If you’re having a hard time thinking of swag that’s more exciting than pens or T-shirts, we’ve got you covered. Try these seven out-of-the-box promotional product trends to stand out in 2022.

1. Remote work tools

Over 58% of the US workforce is working remotely today, so why not acknowledge your attendees’ new reality? Give people unique remote work tools like:

  • A phone sanitizing box
  • Pourover coffee kits
  • Wrist rests
  • Phone mounts
  • Dual charging and organization station
  • Portable sunlight (perfect for the winter months!)

Female event attendee working at a desk | Global Agency. BCD Meetings & Events

2. Name-brand products

It’s a funny phenomenon, but 77% of consumers buy products based on a brand name, not the actual name of the product itself (like Kleenex instead of “tissue”).

Why not go all-out if you really want to show how much you value your attendees? Pass out name-brand retail products that will really get their attention, like:

  • RTIC coolers
  • Nike shirts
  • Vans shoes
  • Oakley Sunglasses

The great thing about retail products is that you can choose from just about any brand. Since consumers already have brand recall with these retailers, it’s a great way to make your name more well known in the exhibition hall.

3. Eco-friendly swag

45% of consumers are interested in buying from eco-friendly brands. Your attendees expect it, and frankly, eco-friendly products are great conversation starters. (How do they make T-shirts out of bamboo, anyway?)

Your attendees will be amazed by out-there eco-friendly options like:

  • Glass cups made from recycled wine bottles
  • Reusable water bottles made from recycled plastic
  • Utensils made from wheat straw
  • Bamboo fabric T-shirts

And if you have a lot of promo products in the storage room from last season, you don’t have to let them go to waste. Boundless can take your existing materials and upcycle them into something new and eco-friendly.

4. Video game accessories

Did you know that 67% of adults play video games? Help your attendees enjoy their games with promotional products like:

  • VR accessories
  • Anti-fatigue mats
  • Portable power banks for gaming on the go

Male event attendee with VR headset | Global Agency. BCD Meetings & Events

5. ‘90s nostalgia

The ‘90s style is back in full force! It seems like tie-dye is everywhere these days, so lean into this trend with nostalgic promotional products like:

    • Scrunchies
    • Bucket hats
    • Tie-dye or pastel sweatshirts
    • Mini arcade games

6. Wellness

After more than two years of remote work amid social unrest, your attendees would appreciate a dose of peace, if only for a few moments. Wellness materials give your attendees warm, fuzzy feelings while promoting your brand—it’s a win-win!

Consider more unique wellness gifts like:

  • Aromatherapy diffusers
  • Travel humidifiers
  • Fluffy blankets
  • CBD body balm
  • Snacks (go for a mix of healthy and tasty)
  • Slippers
  • Eye masks

7. Boxed experiences

Who says you have to gift attendees just one branded product? You can create an entire experience with a branded box. Create a box based on:

  • A theme (tiki party, anyone?)
  • A holiday or special occasion
  • Events
  • Product launches

Branded boxes are a great way to connect with virtual attendees who work remotely. Curate your box, ship it to your attendees, and watch the Brand Love roll in.

5 onsite gifting trends to kiss goodbye

There’s no such thing as a “bad” promotional product, but some swag items are definitely less effective than others. Since your brand needs to see a return on your investment in promotional items, it’s a good idea to stay away from rehashed promotional product trends like:

  • Basic pens
    Pens are useful and very common for B2B applications. But do consumers really think about your brand when using a branded pen? Maybe, but there are better ways for you to spend your marketing dollars in 2022. Still cool are smooth gel writing pens and antimicrobial pens that prevent bacteria from growing on your writing instruments!
  • Frisbees
    When was the last time you saw someone playing with a Frisbee? They’re cool and economical to produce, but unless Frisbees are directly tied to your brand, they’re likely to end up in your attendees’ donation piles. 

  • Fidget spinners
    Yes, fidget spinners were all the rage in 2017, and many promotional product providers still offer them. But that was five years ago! It’s fine to participate in trends, but try to stay away from dated trends past their prime.
  • Hygiene items
    Masks and hand sanitizer were in high demand in 2020 and 2021. Although they still have their uses, consumers are getting to the point where they want a dose of joy instead of a reminder of the pandemic. Hygiene items are helpful, but in 2022, they’re a little overplayed.
  • Low-quality shirts
    Don’t get us wrong, we love T-shirts! But you need to invest in high-quality, beautiful materials that your attendees want to wear. Otherwise, they won’t keep your shirt, and your investment will all be for nothing.

This article first appeared on Boundless Collection’s blog.

We're hiring, join our team today | Global Agency. BCD Meetings & Events


Originally published May 23, 2022 5:57:12 AM
Last updated on Dec 23, 2022 9:37:46 AM

BCD M&E Logo

Written by BCD Meetings & Events


Sign up to The Point

"*" indicates required fields

Sign up to our weekly newsletter, The Point, to get the latest meetings and event insights delivered straight to your inbox.
Not too short. Not too long. Always to The Point.

*Required field

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.