branding- what is it good for?

For the younger members of the family, attending an event like the Mela isn’t just about the variety, the music or the atmosphere. It’s about the stuff. What ‘freebies’ can be gathered up to adorn arms or school bags, or to fill pencil cases?

The Equality Commission, NI Fire and Rescue, NI Commissioner for Children and Young People, the Red Cross and many other public bodies and charities use these events as a way of reaching out, of connecting with individuals, families or communities who may not be aware of their services, or feel comfortable approaching them. Children hoover up branded items, presumably to discard them in the corner a few hours later- but who knows when that piece of bright plastic may be useful? A niccy bag, or an equality-ni bangle might just help someone make a difference. These aren’t just random, far away organisations, these are bodies designed to help and support everyone. Surely that’s what the abandoned blue band under the bed really means?

The amount of ‘stuff’ we gathered on Sunday was shameful. We have bands in every colour, because that was the fashion that day. Girls have t shirts, new cloth bags, and more writing implements than any of us will ever need. The worthy leaflets were briefly perused and then recycled (hence, the value of the bright bits). Huge amounts of marketing/ equality/ accessibility budgets are spent on children’s play things with logos, and pens.

Girl 2 and I didn’t want to be left out. We got ourselves branded- but that will fade in time.

My favourite branded item from the weekend had to be the slighty bonkers Department of Justice yoyo. Different, slightly ridiculous, but memorable.

You just never know what will work.


25 thoughts on “branding- what is it good for?

  1. Funny, just this morning I was reading an article about the world’s chronic over-consumption! But Jenny’s just the same with freebies – she grabs anything going, whether or not she has any use for it! You wouldn’t believe the number of free biros we have in the house….

  2. Great post – completely shifts my perspective on ‘all that stuff’. I have to reconsider my sniffy attitude to ‘things’ now, as you are indeed right, they are designed to help and support, raise awareness. And I would rather have a yoyo than another pen or mouse mat!!!

    1. Thanks Elspeth 🙂 Needless to say, I’m a lot less symapthetic to the ‘stuff’ when it’s commercial tat with no message other than ‘buy more Coke’ or whatever!

  3. One of my clients has been a purveyor of swag (that’s what I call these branded items), and the really good ones help clients choose things like the yo-yo, because it is memorable and stands out in a sea of pens.

  4. I clicked the link to “niccy” to see what it stood for, then realised that you actually tell us that in the post.
    And it’s printed on the bag.
    All this merchandising really works.

  5. I’ve always been a bit sneery about swag like that. My kids come home with foam wristbands and yards of stickers and wiggly stretchy bendy doo-dads that collect in drawers and between shelves. My clutter-abhorent DNA makes me itchy at the thought of it. But it does work. I do hand out fridge-magnet note-pads for ParentLink, journals from The Centre for Family Literacy. And I haven’t had to actually purchase a pen, in years 🙂

  6. The Mela the was the ‘big story’ for me. I very much dive into such events. Yours looked interesting, as in very inviting -like a gathering of a global village.

    Branding never impressed me (but it is huge part at times of my real job). Then again, a little image of a guy in a goofy hat hob nob’n about an appearing all over the internet is ‘branding’. The Justice yo-yo -priceless.

  7. I do like the swag at those kind of festivals. True that so many are throw-aways. I try to be more selective now about what I actually take home. Still, looks like a great haul. 🙂

    1. Being selective is a skill I must teach the little ones- I thought I was great not bringing home the exact same water bottles we got last year, and are still using, but everyone was put out that I’d knowingly walked past a freebie!

  8. A lovely haul indeed. Back in the day I worked for a cardiologist and the drug company representatives would come every week and bring handfuls of pens, note pads, highlighters, tape measures, you name it. 12 years later I still have a stash.

  9. I can remember as a young girl just loving this kind of stuff! Now, I still end up with tons of it and then don’t know what to do with it. I don’t throw things out, yet who else wants it? I need a plan before one day my children open all those drawers and find the stuff and think ill of me! Maybe I should bury them in some kind of time capsule! D

  10. I am watching a house being cleared for sale and each day the skip in the drive seems to grow another layer of swag. I think the time is ripe (once I lose the crutches) to begin the clear out of all the stuff that Elly will not use or like.

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