Tailgates are an optimal environment to flaunt your brand to large groups of people – without coming off as overbearing. The high energy of a tailgate provides plenty of opportunities to get your name out in a fun, personable way. As eating and drinking are prime tailgating activities, these events are ideal for food and beverage brands. But they’re not the only ones who can benefit! Companies and organizations from most any family-friendly industry could do well at a tailgate with an appropriate gift or giveaway.
In this piece, we offer some fantastic ideas to spread brand awareness through customizable, tailgate-appropriate items. The key is to choose gifts that are not novelty, but rather are functional in nature. The best giveaways are often those that receive use at other outdoor functions like BBQs, festivals, concerts and more.
Tailgate Gifts & Giveaways
Looking to promote your brand at a tailgate? Here are some of our favorite items to consider gifting the crowd…
Food and Beverage Accessories
Eat, drink, and be merry – these are the three cardinal rules for tailgating. Look onto any tailgating lot and one of the first things you’ll notice is a sea of grills and coolers bursting with burgers, beers, and more. After all, the crowd’s gotta keep its energy up through hours of pre-celebrations as well as the big event its leading up to!
Let your marketing strategy embrace the length and needs of the event. We guarantee you’ll find plenty of ways to gift promotional products that they’ll use right then and there. Such as…
- Custom Koozies – gotta keep those beers cold!
- Branded water bottles – help ‘em stay hydrated!
- Logo stadium cups – reduce the amount of trash created and get eyes on your logo
- Grilling accessories – tongs, spatulas, and other grilling necessities are a huge hit with tailgating crowds
- Chef’s aprons – don’t want to risk staining a lucky jersey!
Outdoor Gear & Seasonal Items
For a diehard fan, weather is never a means to stop a tailgate. As such, music lovers, sports fans, and attendees of all ages will endure harsh weather for a day of fun. Freezing temps, rain, and blistering heat – the tailgate must go on! That said, it doesn’t mean they won’t welcome a bit of comfort, especially when it comes in the form of free gifts.
Want someone to really love your company/product/brand? Give them shade on a 100-degree day as they party on a blacktop parking lot. On the other end of the spectrum, a fleece blanket will be welcome to quell the shivers on a 10-degree game day. When crafting your marketing budget, think about…
- Custom cooler bags — keep food and drinks not only cool, but safe to consume for hours
- Folding chairs – tailgating requires a ton of energy; how great to be able to sit and keep the party going
- Promotional hats – whether classic baseball caps or winter beanies, these have the universal appeal to keep fans happy
- Car sun shades – After spending hours outdoors at a tailgate and then event, cars are practically boiling
- Sunscreen – everyone gets their own bottle with your name or logo on it!
Who doesn’t love the assortment of goodies found in a gift basket? It’s like a bunch of small prizes, with something everyone is bound to love tucked inside. Snacks, chocolates, cheese, wine, tumblers…these can be customized to fit the crowd.
Rather than gifting dozens or hundreds of items, baskets are a great choice for giving out a few, generous prizes at a tailgate. Create crowd-pleasing games – like sport team trivia, for example – to engage passersby. Or encourage people to your area with a raffle. Everyone loves to win something, especially something as substantial as a gift basket.
Tailgates and sports go hand-in-hand, whether rallying around a local high school team or the NFL pros. When experiencing the energy of a tailgate, excitement is contagious, even for the fair-weather fan.
What does this mean for your promotional strategy? You can’t go wrong with some on-theme promo gifts! Especially as many sport tailgates are family-friendly, including fans of all ages. Kids may not get jazzed about a koozie or grilling apron, but you know what they’ll dig?
- Customizable fidget spinners – kids love ‘em. Parents will, too, for how well they occupy kids’ attention
- Sports stress balls – these are perfect for kids young and old. After all, who doesn’t love a quick catch, especially before a game?
- Sports drawstring bags – perfect for carrying extra snacks and drinks into the game…and a million other reasons post-game!
Ideas for How to Gift & Giveaway Your Products
Besides figuring out what you want to gift at a tailgate, it’s key to strategize how you plan to gift it. Below, we discuss a few ideas to consider…
Set up a tent: Creating a central location is a great option if you want to pull folks into your lair. Of course, you’ll need to do the legwork to make sure they come and visit it. A great way to entice them to stop by is to use one of our above gift ideas – items that are functional for a tailgate. When they notice people walking around or using a useful item, they’ll want to know where they can get one!
You can also pull them in by offering cold cups of water on a hot day, or warm hot coco on a winter afternoon. This is a nice, simple enhancement to whatever branded item you’ll be giving away.
Offer samples: Folks love Costco for a lot of reasons, and their plethora of samples is at the top of that list. Be like Costco. Offer small treats and snacks to the crowd. Not a food or beverage company? Find a sampling that fits your brand and customize it with your logo or brand message.
Though your samples don’t have to be food, food never hurts! Especially in a crowd who’s been outdoors for hours and is sure to be hungry. Inedible samples might include test sizes of your product, a promo code for a freebie, or an on-site demonstration.
Samples can be given away from a tent or milled about by brand ambassadors. Whichever you choose, the crowd is sure to appreciate it.
Create a contest: Tailgates, especially sport-related ones, are rift with an air of competition. Play on that energy by creating your own brand-centric contest. This works well for bigger giveaways, like a gift basket or free tickets, etc. The bigger and better the prize, the more folks will be amped to participate.
Before the Tailgate
Your gift/giveaway doesn’t have to begin and end at the tailgate. Drumming up awareness and excitement about it ahead of time is a great marketing strategy to make sure you don’t get missed in the energy and chaos come game day. Here, a few ideas to pump up the crowd before the tailgate even starts…
Start a social media campaign: Is the game the hot talk of the town? Are folks getting revved up in support of their teams? Get your brand in on the fun by creating your own social media campaign.
Ask for fans to post videos, tweets, etc. about a relevant topic – their favorite player, favorite act or song by the artist, the most exciting game in the league’s history, etc. Anything that builds up the momentum that’s already going. If you’ll be present at the event, be sure to mention that in your posts!
Create (or continue!) a contest: This can tie into a social media campaign, or not! Creating a contest or game that generates some friendly competition among fans is a win-win. Here’s some food for thought: start the contest a week or two ahead of the event and continue it during the tailgate. Then announce the winner before the event begins!
Partner up with the team: Want to really jazz up the crowd? Partner with the playing team to create an ultimate fan experience, complete with your branded gift or giveaway as a keepsake. This can be done through a contest or simple raffle ahead of time. Maybe the winner gets special seats come game day, an invite to watch practice, or even explore the field pre-game day. In any event, you’ll anything you can do to tie in the love for the team will gain loads of fan-attention.
Tailgates are all about extending the fun and high-energy that leads up to a big event. Enhancing that fun with a cool giveaway or gift is an easy way to score some fans of your own!