What Makes The Best Type of Promotional Product?

I opened my mail this afternoon with a pocketknife I received over 30 years ago. It is a promotional product from a trucking company. The ink has faded off the logo. The company is no longer in business. This item has survived 4 moves and several different jobs. This is a great promotional item and the essence of what a promotional item should be. It was not expensive, just a plastic sheath with a slide-out blade. But every day, when I take it out of my desk drawer, I am reminded of the person who gave it to me and the company he represented.


For over 35 years, I have been giving and receiving promotional items as part of my job. I have kept some items because of the sentimental attachment. I use a pen that was a gift from a company I once worked for. I have a golf umbrella in my trunk that is a little too dirty and ragged for my golf bag but certainly, comes in handy when caught in a surprise shower. I still have one of the promotional clocks that my company gave to leaving employees. For many years, I also had a handy screwdriver set, where multiple blades were stored in the handle. I lost it a few years ago, but the company who gave it to me certainly got their money’s worth out of that item.

I also had items that I used and discarded. Shirts and promotional baseball caps, pens and notepads all served their purpose and were then disposed of. But again, the companies received value from their gifts.

A good promotional product is: 

Something that is useful, a conversation piece, or something that is a reminder of a fond memory.

The best promotional items combine all of these attributes. Look around your office or your customer’s office. What do you see? Perhaps a logo coffee cup, a business card holder or a display with logo golf balls. Perhaps he or she is wearing a logo shirt or backing up a file on a promotional flash drive.

The best promotional items are those that are used. When selecting an item, consider the recipient. Is it appropriate for the person and the position that person holds? The knife I use would not be an appropriate gift for the president of a Fortune 500 company, but I bet that he has something like that knife in his desk drawer, a gift received many years ago.

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