Trade Show Promotional Items Ruined by Obtrusive Corporate Logos

I received a messenger bag (not the one pictured) from one of the industry trade shows in which my company exhibited last week. The messenger bag was an excellent give-away item. It was sturdy and well made. Most importantly, for me, it was pleasing to the eye – that is until I saw the giant, corporate logo imprinted on the center of the bag. Pity, I would have kept the messenger bag, if it weren’t for the hulking corporate logo on the front of it.

I have witnessed worse acts of corporate branding. Believe it or not, I have seen companies completely cover computers and Apple iPods with their logos. Doing so renders the highly popular give-away useless. I’m willing to bet that most of the people who receive such items rarely use them. Why? Consider this, would you want to carry around a messenger bag or an iPod imprinted with some other company’s logo? I wouldn’t. To me, doing so screams “corporate tool” and looks unprofessional.

I do not understand why marketing departments feel the need to ruin beautiful and useful give-aways by covering them with their logo.

If it were my company giving away the messenger bag, I would not print our logo in such a noticeable area. On the contrary, I would pick an unobtrusive area to display the logo – like on the tiny metal zipper. For iPods, I would use a subtle engraving on the back. With computers, I would use a tiny but removable sticker of our logo on the front. Items such as these are not meant to be handed out to every visitor your booth has. They should only be handed out to the highest quality leads. The recipient of such a gift doesn’t need your company logo to remind him of which company gave it him. The fact that you refrained from defacing the highly sought give-away will help him remember and he will be much more appreciative of the gift and your company.

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2 Responses to “Trade Show Promotional Items Ruined by Obtrusive Corporate Logos”

  1. 1 emily x July 21, 2006 at 9:21 pm

    Uh…hello! Its a free ipod/computer!! Who gives a crap if there’s a big logo? And if you were going to advertise your business you really wouldn’t have a subtle message. The point is loud and flashy so the owner never forgets it and others around it notice.

    Its win-win – a free laptop for you and advertising for them.

  2. 2 Michael Morton July 25, 2006 at 1:58 am


    You are certainly entitled to your opinion. You obviously would not have a problem carrying around such an item. However, I know many people who would disagree.

    With that said, I will elaborate on my point in the post.

    When a give-away gets thrown in the trash or sits in the back of a closet, it loses its soul purpose – to be used and to constantly remind the user of the company. My suggestion offers a way for companies to avoid having thier give-aways thrown away (becoming useless) but yet always remind the user of the company.

    While my suggestion does go against convention, I believe such ideas are needed to evolve our industry.

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Who am I ?

My name is Michael Morton. I believe in bringing energy and professionalism into the office, that knowledge is power, that leadership trumps management, that customers are more influential than advertisements, that content is king, and that two heads are better than one. I currently lead the marketing efforts of the Strategic Alliances department of my company. Let’s talk marketing!

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