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Unique Swag Bags Ideas: Ultimate Event Goodies to Engage Your Audience

7 Unique Swag Bag Ideas to Make Your Brand Stand Out

In the last ten years or so, swag bags have evolved from the occasional freebie sack to essential event goody items that corporate groups and organizations across industries can’t live without. Business owners and marketers around the country find themselves on the constant lookout for new and unique ideas to complement their promotional approach and help grow, nurture or engage their audiences. 

In a world where the already competitive market requires businesses to keep their presence current and be persistent with the relationships, they have built along the way, finding the ultimate swag bag ideas for promotional events can simply feel like added stress to your efforts. Luckily for you, at DiscountMugs, our passion lies in helping you create lasting impressions to ensure your brand is visible to the community.

What Are Swag Bags?

Swag bags are one of the most effective ways to market a business and keep a close relationship with your audience throughout the year. A staple of the modern world, bags and backpacks make everyday errands easy and convenient, plus can for the most part be reused and recycled to reduce the amount of waste we produce.

However, if you must resort to plastic bags by reason of your budget or simply because no other product will do, we recommend that you invite your audience to reuse the bags. A great way to create awareness about one of the top pressing issues of our times, the gesture will bring added attention to your brand.


Idea #1: Recycle Plastic Bags

The traditional thank-you t-shirt plastic bags were first introduced to the supermarket industry in the 1970s and quickly became an ever-present global product currently produced at a rate of one trillion bags per year. Although environmental organizations continue to pull in a number of volunteers to help raise awareness of the issue, there are many who still don’t fully comprehend the gravity of single-use plastic products.

– Don’t get me wrong, as a person who does groceries herself, I understand the convenience of the thank-you plastic bags. However, I will proudly note that I have switched to other reusable and more sustainable products

But hey, a business can use this issue to their advantage and help spread the word about their hot new spot! Place a sign outside your bakery shop or new marketplace urging customers to bring as few as 10 plastic bags to receive a free non-woven bag personalized with your logo. Place a limit on how many bags you feel comfortable giving away for free and make the rest available for sale at your business.

We all know how annoying all those plastic bags can get tucked away in some drawer at home. Give them a purpose – pledge to take all the plastic bags gathered to a collection center and take pictures to share on your bulletin board. I say this would be history in the making!

Idea 1_Recycle Plastic Bags


Idea #2: Chic Cotton Tote Bags

Cotton tote bags hold innate elegant traits that draw the attention of many. Practically an irreplaceable material for clothing, cotton became a worldwide sensation in the 1500s as a resistant fabric and made it all the way to modern society to stay. A sustainable product, cotton fabrics have resurfaced and become a favorite among younger generations looking to create a cleaner and more habitable world.

Custom cotton tote bags are a unique idea for swag bags since most businesses will gravitate towards other more traditional and inexpensive styles like paper and non-woven bags. Yes, you will find cotton tote bags to be a little more on the expensive side, but honestly, they will be worth all the money spent. Not only will they last longer, but your audience will love them!

The best part is cotton bags are made in a variety of styles to best fit your individual needs. These days you will find styles that include drawstring backpacks, computer bags, shopping totes, laundry bags, mariner handbags, and others that will impress your audience.

A great way for hotels and spas to promote their services, you can include a few essentials like robes, sandals, towels, sunglasses and water bottles in your swag bags – in this case, I’d definitely pick a mariner handbag – to thank guests for their visit. However other ideas may include a cotton laundry back to welcome a freshman class, or recycled tote bags to promote your stand at the local fresh market.

Idea 2_Chic Cotton Bags


Idea #3: Drawstring Bags for Trade Shows

Drawstring bags aren’t exactly the first item you think of when getting ready for a trade show. More common products include spacious non-woven grocery bags and die-cut handle plastic bags to pack other smaller giveaway items of brochures. However, drawstring bags can grow on your audience and have more guests flock to your booth.

Some of the latest reports reveal that the attention span of booth visitors has shrunk to an average of 8 seconds. With all the effort and preparations that go into making your trade show experience success, that seems like an awful short time. Recommendations to improve the visitor times at your booth include switching to more visually appealing exhibitions, getting a lot more personal and direct with your audience, as well as using a myriad of devices to attract more attention.Idea 3_Drawstring Bags for Trade Shows

Competition is brutal on the floor, so I’d recommend a kind of swag bag that’s both functional and presents some kind of feature to draw the immediate attention of passersby. The Urban Shiny Drawstring Bags aren’t only a unique choice because of their colors available, they’re really easy to tote around the floor and can be filled with other items guests will end up gathering throughout the day. They also happen to have large imprint areas so your logo is full on display for others to see – everyone will want to know where they can get one of these!

Idea #4: Custom Water Bottles

Custom water bottles are a great item to include in your swag bag due to their sustainability. It's a gift that can be reused over and over and is more likely to be used over other common trinkets.


When thinking about what items to include in a swag bag, it's important to consider what products will have the longest lifespan. When including water bottles, you should highlight any additional features that make them unique and lengthen their usage. For example, making it eco-friendly out of recycled plastic or durable metals, makes your custom water bottle a more socially relevant option. In addition, it complements your company's ethics and shows solidarity with the environment.

Idea #5: Pens and Pencils


Creating branded pens and pencils is a small but effective way to advertise yourself. In addition, they serve as a practical gift for the recipient to keep handy in their bag, house, or office. Due to their long shelf life, it’s guaranteed your company’s name stays with them for years to come. 

Idea #6: Custom T-Shirts

Including custom T-shirts in your swag bag is a great, cost-effective way to promote your brand. It’s a product that is both practical and long-lasting. The most obvious bonus is that it opens the potential for dozens of advertising opportunities. Your brand name has the potential to spread all over the world, depending on where the wearer travels to. 

T-shirts also offer a big canvas for branding, due to their dual-sided visibility. Its important to design your apparel in a visually appealing, way that both encourages people to wear it and draws the eye.

Idea #7: Travel Mugs


Similar to the water bottle, a travel mug is both practical and useful. It provides people a way to remember your company, by gifting them something they can use every day. This versatile gift can be kept at work or at home for hot drinks.

When putting together your swag bag, try to make your customized products unique to make a lasting impression on people. Ensure that your swag bag items are high quality to make your brand stand out better. In addition, investing in high-quality goodies will leave a better impression on the recipients and leave them with a great impression of your brand. 


Discover More Swag Bag Ideas


About the Author Roxana Clares

Roxana Clares is a product specialist and content marketing manager for DiscountMugs. She is passionate about content creation that adds value and creative insight to an online audience, and believes in the importance of data to improve content marketing strategies. Roxana is the author of the DiscountMugs blog series.

Roxana Clares