The headline for the swag this year was t-shirts. TONS of t-shirts were able to be had this year at the various booths. Depending upon your economic outlook, this could mean exhibitors are feeling optimistic about this market, are really trying to get that brand recognition out in an increasingly competitive marketplace, or just that lower cost printing companies such as Custom Ink have taken over the custom t-shirt market and have lowered the price on this type of item. Standouts in this area include Crestron with their high quality white/blue on blac k shirt, and Vaddio continuing the retro theme from year’s past, moved from 70’s metal last year with their AC/DC inspired shirt to this year’s peace and love 1960’s vibe.
Last year, it seemed like we came away with an abundance of bags. This year, bags were kind of thin on the ground. Microsoft provided the main show bag, which seemed to be made of slightly better material than past year’s bags. The only other large swag collection devices I saw were from Altinex. We did manage to pick up one zipper bag from IMCCA which was good for us, since it turned into a checked bag for us that was filled with nothing but swag for the trip home.
Another popular item this year was earbuds. Even Infocomm got into the act with a CTS branded earbud case, joining the likes of Google and Revolabs in the quest for personal music conveyance. Infocomm gets the award for cutest swag with their Beanie Baby-esque animals from the standards booth, while Vaddio gets another mention for “best item that ties into the EDC held right after Infocomm” with their light up relay batons. Most immediately useful was the chap stick from AVNation, to combat desert-dry lips. The range of snacks was varied, from generic Rice Krispie treats to little Chinese candies that I’m not entirely convinced don’t contain lead. AVDawn was especially taken with the Russian chocolate given out by a Moscow-based VTC company that made D.C. secure AV dealers accept the chocolate, then back away slowly, looking to see if anyone took a picture of them visiting the booth.
All in all it was a great show for bringing home loot. While AVDawn and I cannot possibly use all of the stuff we managed to bring home, we have a slightly higher purpose for bringing home an entire folding table’s worth of t-shirts and trinkets. The techs at our respective companies like this time of year almost as much as we do, since we routinely bring back tons of mini-tools and toys for their kids. I, and they, are already looking forward to next year.