• Charlotte Masters

The rise of the pandemic promo


(photo by Don Agnello on Unsplash)


Show SWAG is something that seems like a good idea when you are brainstorming the messaging and thinking about how great it will all look displayed onsite, but in most cases I've found that it can fall a little flat and at the end of the event, you find yourself re-packing boxes of travel mugs and t-shirts as it turns out visitors are not as eager to become human billboards as you thought they might be.


But as we all grapple with the 'new normal' that we find ourselves in, proactive promo companies are coming up with new ways to market to customers with a whole host of Covid friendly products from branded face masks and hand sanitiser to antimicrobial pens and mouse mats.


I'm keen to promote and encourage sustainability and waste reduction on the events that I'm involved with, so I've done a round up of 5 options for post Covid promotional giveaways, featuring products that will offer the customer a take away that will actually be used, not just resigned to landfill once they get home.


1. The humble soap bar

I've not included hand santiser in this list, because whilst it would seem like a sensible and highly sought after product to be offering, the solutions are not sustainable. Tiny plastic credit card style holders, or pen dispensers offering 10ml of sanitiser that cannot be refilled and probably not easily recycled. These fall firmly in to the gimmicky waste space.


But, a deliciously fragranced organic soap bar on the other hand, is a sustainable and novel way of connecting with your customers every time they wash their hands.


Little Soap Company, who specialise in cruelty free products offer a branding service for their organic range of soap bars. There are minimum quantities of 5000, so its not an option for everyone, but for big campaigns or promotions it could be just the ticket. Choose your fragrance to reflect the essence of your business/ messaging; peppermint and poppyseed to refresh, lavender and citrus to relax, or grapefruit and orange to uplift.


The inclusion of a set of bespoke lyrics to the tune of Happy Birthday to be sung whilst hand washing is an optional extra.


2. Sprout pencils

One of the more positive outcomes of lockdown for many, was a renewed love affair with nature and sales of gardening products soared. Tap in to this trend with Sprout Pencils from Sow Easy. Available in 6 colours, each pencil houses a water soluble seed capsule at the end, so the pencil can be planted once too short to use.


Branding can be applied to the pencil with either engraving or printing, and also added to the printed cardboard sleeve.


Sow Easy are also currently selling custom printed, plantable social distancing badges. Manufactured from recycled paper embedded with plant seeds, once planted they will grow in to wildflowers.


3. Reusable straw set

Armed with a personal reusable straw your customers need never fear the sweaty grip of a bar tender around their glass again. Whilst they will likely be resigned to the kitchen draw for drinks in the garden rather than actively carried for on the go sipping, they will definitely be used again (and again and again) and will avoid the indignity of sipping a pimms using a soggy paper straw.


This stainless steel version from Printed4You comes with a handy branded carrying pouch and cleaning brush. Biodegradable bamboo straw alternatives are also available if your brand suits a more natural looking product.


4. Chalk write mug

As everyone starts to get back in to the office to sit within their designated 2m square, a mug that can be named, using the included colour matched chalk, will avoid any mug mix ups and accidental shared slurping.


Whilst the coloured rim versions I've chosen can't be branded (other plain black options with printed logos are available), you could add branded stickers to the white cartons they are provided in. I also love the idea of adding a personal touch to these mugs by writing a chalked message/ promo code/ contact details on to each mug yourself (using your children to do it for you) before distribution.


5. Hygiene hook keyring

Never again will your customers have to wrap their hand in tissue or pull their sleeve down over their hand to open a toilet door. The hygiene hook is multi purpose, allowing the user to hook open doors, tap in their pin number or depress a soap dispenser all without touching them. With a keyring attachment the hook can always be close to hand.


The most common product out there seems to be a 100% recycled plastic option available in a range of colours with full colour print, but a more durable alternative, with a higher end appearance is a laser engraved zinc alloy option like this from Allwag. There's less branding space but this product will likely have a longer shelf life.