The best promo gift I ever received?

... was a CD opener.

I was just musing that over the years, in amongst a, not huge, but seemingly endless stream of small promo gifts - sunhats, T-shirts, sunglasses, calendars, paperweights, notebooks, drinks containers, toiletries, bottle openers, calculators, key fobs - that turn up each year from PR companies, hotels, tourist offices, etc, a few stand out.

Three in particular have stood the test of time and are still in regular use. In ascending order of importance...

3) A plastic bottle opener from the Zambian Tourist Board. Not sure why it's been so successful, it's not very pretty really, but when it's not on picnics and trips, it's in the kitchen drawer and used most days.

2) A magnifying glass from Thistle Hotels. Actually it's multi-role desktop item; a paperweight (doesn't get used for that!), a world time zone calculator (line up the time with the cities under the glass. Sometimes used for that), and a magnifying glass (used continuously by everyone in the household for reading small print, extracting splinters, etc etc)

1) A CD opener from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. A simple plastic device with a little embedded cutter that you run down the side of a CD case to strip off the selophane wrapper. You know, the plastic that most people spend minutes trying to tear with their teeth and fingernails. It's brilliant! Especially in an increasingly CD-rich world - music CDs, CD-roms, DVD-RW, etc etc. It might not get used quite as frequently as the other two but it wins on the grounds that I could replace the others easily.

Anyway... I've just used it again and I thought I'd share that with you.

PS. And while I think about it, some advice for anyone responsible for buying promo gifts for their organisation:

  • T-shirts & hats are always a pretty safe bet.

  • The large, easy-to-write-on calendars, are good to distribute in Dec. Particularly for domestic kitchen-wall use. But you always run the risk of competition (another calendar might get there first).

  • I think mousepads are underestimated. It sounds silly but mousepads wear out. You don't know what you've been missing till you get a new one and your mouse glides again!


Personally I don't think you can beat mugs. No office ever has enough of them and they last longer than pens etc.

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