The Difference Between a Giveaway and a Keepsake

Everyone has experienced that moment when you are walking through a tradeshow or down the street and someone hands you a free product.

Sometimes it's a treasure and sometimes it's trash. Giving away free promotional products is a great way to promote your brand, but there is a difference between a giveaway and a keepsake.


*Giveaways are products that in most cases will never get used. Remember, the goal of a giveaway is not to merely get them into someone's hands but to create a connection between you and the recipient.


There is little value in giving away something that won't be used and has no sense of joy.

A keepsake on the other hand can become a little treasure that moves organically throughout the world continuing to create moments of excitement and nostalgia.


By definition the word keepsake means:


  1. a small item kept in memory of the person who gave it or originally owned it.

  2. "she signed her name using the pen of the woman before her."


It is important to remember that the goal of branded products is not to merely get them into the hands of your recipients but to create a connection between you and the individual receiving them. The kind of connection you want to create changes based on numerous conditions, but keeping some fundamental questions at the forefront of your search for the perfect promotional items will help to guide you.


The simplest of questions start with: Where are the items being distributed?

What kind of outcome am I looking to achieve?



There is no value in giving away something that won't be used and has no sense of joy.





Giving away branded promotional products is a great way to promote your brand, but there is a difference between a giveaway and a keepsake.


Planning ahead and understanding the conditions of where and when you will be distributing your branded products and to whom, and clearly defining what your intentions are and the outcomes you would like, will help to narrow down the options and give you some direction aimed at turning up the FOMO in your PROMO.






If you are distributing your products at an outdoor event like festivals, parades, or a concert, it's always welcome to give something away that adds to the experience. Items like water bottles, Tiny key lights, Sweatbands, Sunscreen, Mints, and Hats are always a welcome surprise. They will get worn and enjoyed at the event and it's a wonderful way for your brand to support the culture and spirit of the day. Items like this also invite opportunities for user-generated content. Consider how you can design your branded products to inspire sharing and photo opportunities.


There are so many fun ways to turn merch into memories.


Nickelodeon Gameshakers Brand Experience



Integrating social media strategies into your planning will help to build value in your campaign. We always find it valuable to talk to other people on your team to align on how a keepsake promotion can benefit multiple stakeholders.


Trade shows & conferences are a never-ending promo fest. It's important to remember that the goal isn't to fill up everyone's bag with free swag from every booth. Plus what you are giving away in most cases will have to travel home.


You don't want to end up in the tradeshow landfill of unwanted items. Instead, hand out useful items that can be used at the show, something the people will want to show off. Depending on the theme of the trade show there are unlimited options but keep it small.

keep it light and try to capture the traffic of your booth even after the show is over.


Over the years we have had a lot of success creating tradeshow experiences that incorporate physical and digital engagement. Using augmented reality and integrating it into promotional items deepens the opportunity to create meaningful experiences and engage your customers after the event is over.


Creating a custom game at your exhibit can help to generate excitement and attention. Using prizes will help to elevate the sense of spirit around your trade show booth and deliver a unique experience for your visitors.


Since trade shows are location-based, giving away items that create an organic link between you and your customers will add value to your campaign.


You can also gain a lot of traction at tradeshows by thinking creatively about your distribution. Often times trade show organizers will have opportunities for room drops promotions. In these scenarios we love to produce items designed to hang on the door of the room.





Designing something that is themed around the show with a call to action to visit the booth helps to generate awareness around whatever you are promoting at the show.


Just like the festivals your items will be enjoyed and add value to the experience turning your merch into memories and thus becoming a treasured keepsake.


Branded merch and your swag strategy can bring tons of value to all your marketing efforts. t's not always about slapping logos on products. With a defined strategy and proper planning, you can position your brand to become a cultural icon. Need some help planning?


Reach out, we would love to learn more.