For more than 60 years, promotional swag bags have been a part of NCAA bowl games. These gift bags are intended as keepsakes for the players to remember their seasons by, and are often filled with hot retail items like iPods, Xboxes, Best Buy gift cards, are more. In recent years the swag bags themselves have become the focus of massive media attention, causing big brands to fight for the right to be a part of the prize packages for the biggest bowl games.
Creating prize packages can be a challenge for bowl officials, who must work to find gifts that meet all NCAA rules and limitations, create buzz for the bowl, incorporate the bowl’s logo, and also make the players happy.
“You want the kids to say ‘Oh, I’m going to the Chick-fil-A Bowl. I’m going to get a good gift bag,’” said Derek Martin, the bowl’s vice president of events. “You want them talking like that.”
This year’s bowl swag bags include promotional gifts from giant retail brands like Fossil, Best Buy, Amazon, Apple, Sony, Nike, Oakley, and more. These brands know they’ll get guaranteed media exposure by giving away free stuff. Apparel brands like Nike and Oakley may get something even better if players are photographed wearing their apparel or sunglasses. In the end a classic promotional marketing lesson rings true: free stuff often pays for itself with a flood of positive brand exposure., and you don’t have to be a Fortune 500 company to leverage this strategy. Free gifts will always be an effective way to reach new customers, make your current ones happy, and keep everyone talking and coming back for more.
You can view the full list of 2011 bowl gifts to participants in Sports Business Journal’s annual report.