What Is a Swag Bag – 12 Best Swag Bag Ideas

If you’ve ever been to a trade show or work conference, you’ve most likely seen swag bags. These are reusable bags branded with a specific company or event name. Businesses stuff them with practical goodies, like pens, styluses, magnets, keychains, and cups. 

The best thing about swag bags is you can make them represent any event or theme you want. While the Academy Awards give out swag bags valued at close to $125,000, you don’t need to blow the budget like that to spread the word about your company. These swag bag ideas will demand consumers’ attention and help you attract your desired business.

What Is a Swag Bag?

what is a swag bag


The swag bag meaning focuses on the word swag, which has the slang meaning of goods given away for free, making the recipients feel like celebrities for getting these perks.

A swag bag is a branded tote bag of any size, filled with branded goods representing a theme, company, event, or convention. For example, you can create custom swag bags to give out at a local block party. For a professional convention, you might get together with several complementary businesses to donate swag into a bigger themed bag.

Why Give Out Swag Bags?

You should give out swag bags because people want to take them! Everyone loves free stuff, but you generate more excitement handing out a swag bag than a business card. Still, you get the same results—people take notice of your brand and remember you. 

Even better than a business card, they’ll use your pen or cup and think of you often, making it more likely that you’ll pull in repeat revenue from swag bags.

What To Put in a Swag Bag

Putting branded merchandise in a swag bag makes your clients and potential consumers feel spoiled. They get useful gifts from your company, like magnets, cups, pens, or a stylus for their touchscreen device. Since you put your business name and logo on these items, the customer will remember you much longer than they would hold onto your business card or flier.

You should consider your budget before creating swag bags. You want everything to look amazing with custom branding, so you need to price out your goods. You can choose items such as:

  • Pens or pencils
  • Styluses
  • Cups
  • Coffee mugs
  • Water bottles
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Flash drives
  • Notebooks
  • Clipboards
  • T-shirts
  • Lanyards
  • Magnets
  • Stickers

You can evaluate your budget by calculating the price per person or the price per branded item. Don’t forget to include the swag bag itself in your calculations!

Swag Bag Theme Ideas

You can customize what you choose to put in your swag bag based on themes. Maybe your company is attending an industry conference, and you want to appeal to professionals. If you set up a booth at the local farmer’s market, you might choose more eco-friendly goods to appeal to the crowd.

While these ideas will inspire you to create swag bags, they’re just jumping off points. Use these for inspiration and create the best swag bag representing your brand’s purpose and personality.

1. Professional Swag Bag

Many companies make swag bags to hand out as vendors at corporate events or conventions, so a professional swag bag is the best option. You can include everyday items that people will use to ensure your company name stays on their minds.

Options to include in a professional swag bag include a reusable water bottle, branded notebook, stylus, and USB flash drive. If you have room in the budget, you could also brand high-quality padfolios that people will carry around and use in professional settings, helping spread the word about your company.

2. Summer Fun Swag Bag

Travel swag bag

A summer fun swag bag is an excellent idea for an event that kicks off the season or at a summer festival or community pool. You can brand sunglasses, sunscreen, and inflatable beach balls. Depending on your budget, you could even brand mini portable speakers to listen to poolside.

3. Marketing Swag Bag

The purpose of a marketing swag bag is more for companies that will use your service or goods. You want to give them things they’ll use while encouraging them to call your business if they have specific needs. Professional swag includes water bottles, USB flash drives, notepads, pens, and styluses.

4. Travel Swag Bag

Travel items


Think about the items people need to take when traveling and how often they might forget the smaller things. You can brand items like travel mugs, USB flash drives, luggage tags, earplugs, earbuds, phone charging cords, or sleeping masks.

You can also add travel items people need on the go, whether on vacation or just around town. These branded goods include hand sanitizer, snacks, and reusable shopping bags.

5. Practical Swag Bag

A practical swag bag includes items people can repeatedly use, making it a sustainable marketing approach and keeping your brand on people’s minds. Some practical items include:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Pens
  • Styluses
  • USB flash drives
  • Reusable water bottles

People will get plenty of use out of each item before they dispose of it if they ever do.

6. Foodie Swag Bag

Even if your business doesn’t handle food and drinks, you can add these items to a swag bag to ensure that people appreciate what you give them. You can brand snacks like granola bars and candy or add your logo to tea bags and pour-over coffee packets.

Branded water bottles, travel mugs, and coffee mugs are great for foodie swag bags. You can even brand a travel wine tumbler if that suits your ideal audience.

7. Sustainable Swag Bag

sustainable swag bags

People love sustainable goods, so you can create the perfect bag to give away at farmer’s markets or eco-friendly events, like Earth Day celebrations.

You can brand reusable straws, canvas grocery bags, metal water bottles, notebooks made of seed paper, and bamboo utensils. These items get plenty of use and will position your company positively.

8. Discount Swag Bag

A discount swag bag is a great way to give potential customers branded goodies while encouraging them to visit your establishment. You can include coupons for discounted services or free samples so they’ll want to return and use them. 

9. Family Swag Bag

If you’re setting up at a community festival or family event, you can customize swag bags to include things for parents and children. You can give parents branded sunglasses, a reusable water bottle, and a USB flash drive.

Consider branded bubbles, frisbees, water guns, bouncy balls, yo-yos, and slime to play up the fun angle. The kids will love having something fun to play with, and the parents will remember that you provided such thoughtful goodies at the event.

10. New Employee Swag Bag

New employee office swag bag

Swag bags aren’t something you need to save to give to others—consider using them within your own organization. Instead of a simple email, you can give new employees swag bags as part of the onboarding process. It’s a nice way to welcome them and help them feel like part of the team.

Employee swag bags can include a branded ID badge holder and lanyard, notebook, pen, coffee mug or water bottle, and keychain. Your new employees will feel like they fit in right away, plus you’re giving them some necessary office supplies, so having branded options helps your company look professional.

11. Basic Swag Bag

The term basic in this title doesn’t mean it’s not an exciting giveaway, but rather something you have ready to go in any situation. For example, you don’t want a surplus of family swag bags on hand, meaning you end up giving bubbles and slime to professionals at a work conference.

Instead, having basic swag bags as your go-to is a great way to ensure you always have something to give away. Some of the best ideas for a basic swag bag include a water bottle, mini notebook, pen, magnet, and keychain. If you have an expendable budget, you might want to consider including a USB flash drive or can koozie.

12. Technology Swag Bag

Technology swag bag

Some technology is becoming more affordable, so you should consider branding it to give in swag bags. If you’re at a trendy event or want to appeal to the tech crowd, consider adding these items into a swag bag:

  • Phone chargers
  • Headphones or earbuds
  • Smartphone pockets
  • USB flash drives

The price of these branded items might be a bit higher than water bottles or keychains, but these are items people use often, so your company will stay at the forefront of their minds.

Final Thoughts on Swag Bags

Now you know the answer to “What is a swag bag?” plus have plenty of ideas on how to make yours one that everyone will want. Mix elements of the ideas above to create something that helps your business stand out.

Be mindful of the products you use and how you brand them to ensure all potential consumers remember your name and come to you when they need your products or services. Schedule a consultation to determine how to spread the word of your brand.

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