Planning Giveaways

This week in the office, we’ve been arranging giveaways to promote a graduate scheme. This has led to us talking about our memories of particularly good and bad giveaways we’ve seen or been involved with.

From the boring to the bonkers and back, promotional giveaways have taken on many different forms, often matching the economic climate and fashions of the time. Some have been great but others not so. Anyone who has arranged giveaways will know that there are a surprising number of pitfalls so we thought it would be useful to pose some questions which should help with planning.

What am I hoping to achieve with this?

Whether your giveaway is crazily creative or very straight forward, make sure that your call to action is clear.

Is it appropriate to my audience?

Identify the groups that you’re targeting and consider their interests and expectations. When you’re trying to capture the interest of a niche group, a more career-focussed or industry specific giveaway is much more impressive and is likely to have a better take-up rate than a generic gift. For instance, we helped organise a Livescribe pen ( giveaway for a group of law students. Our target group believed this would resonate really well with students because as well as being clever and innovative, it would also be very useful for them.

Does it link to my brand/other activity?

The growing popularity of social media has added another dimension to giveaways. They present an opportunity to invite candidates to engage with your brand in a more comprehensive and interactive way.  A wonderful example of a successful multi-faceted campaign was Mars’s Tweetshop (see To promote their graduate scheme, Mars placed a vending machine in a prominent place in universities and candidates had to tweet them to receive a free chocolate bar out of this. With just an inexpensive giveaway, Mars stood out as a fun and creative employer, and candidates continued to engage with them in the long term.

What about the end product?

You want candidates to have a clear record of your contact details and a reminder of your brand, but with a naff or cheap-looking giveaway, you could be doing damage. If you’re distributing your giveaway at a careers fair, think about the weight of it and whether people will decide not to pick it up as they don’t want to heft it around.

How much is it going to cost?

Remember that as well as the cost of the actual product, you will need to pay for printing or embossing and delivery. Make sure that you have the full quote and have considered all implications. For example, branded water can work really well as a giveaway but it’s heavy so you’d need to include courier costs in your budget.  Or another scenario - if you’re running a competition, you’ll need to make sure there is resource in place to manage the response.

These pointers are just a starter but hopefully will prove useful. Please do share any tips you have on our twitter page (@Geniustweet).