I was at the SQLBits conference on Saturday (of which more later) and I started thinking about what makes an ideal conference schwag bag for me:
  • at least one pen
  • a notebook
  • a bottle of water
The SQLBits bag did pretty well and had the pen and notebook, and cans of soft drink were readily available too. I know some people who love getting free t-shirts, and certainly there seemed to be a lot of people walking around claiming them on Saturday, but I must say the whole t-shirt thing leaves me pretty cold. Firstly, I'm a female, in recent conferences only backstage.bbc.co.uk and flickr have had girl-fit t-shirts to give away (dConstruct had them too but you had to buy them). Secondly, I'm not XL, and at least one of the t-shirts I saw on Saturday came in that size only.

If you're giving me schwag to spread your name around, then for me, pens, notebooks, post-its and other office based stationery are the items that are likely to make it into the office, and so be seen by my friends and colleagues whilst if you're giving me schwag so that I remember you, and think of you as a thoughtful company, then bottles of water, or biscuits, or fruit are more likely to hit the mark.