There are no statistics or market research to help you choose the right promotional give-away or gimmick for use on your exhibition stand. Whatever you use is likely to have been chosen because it is relevant to your business or to a particular product or service and it fits your budget.

There are many different types of giveaways and gimmicks for use on your exhibition stand and tips on how best to source them, to make your giveaway worthwhile think about the reasons why you have an incentive on your stand. Is it to:

  • To attract visitors to your stand.
  • To get visitors to remember your company name and for it to stay in their minds long after the show.
  • To gain business as a result of using this tactic.
Clyde Munro Exhibition Stand

Give-aways and gimmicks fall into the following categories:

  • Premiums/give-aways/gifts.
  • Competitions.
  • Free prize draws.
  • Games and audience participation.
  • On stand attractions.


What makes a good premium? Of course, a lot of it is down to perception. But the most important thing is for your premium to foster excitement and interest. Whether it is a low-cost item such as a sweet or pen or more costly such as a portable charger or desk accessory, you need to make sure that you source it effectively, so bear these tips in mind:

  1. Choose the right supplier

  • Your choices are; sourcing companies, business gift houses, distributors and manufacturers.
  • Obtain at least three quotes for ‘like for like’ items.
  • Don’t select purely on price, do consider the quality of product, quality of service, quality control and reliability.
  • Make sure your supplier is an accredited member of the trade body that recognises best practice
  1. Choosing your premium

  • Be realistic about what your budget will buy: don’t expect an all-singing, all-dancing widget or luxury item for just a few pence.
  • Ask for samples and make sure they are exactly the same as the goods that will be supplied.
  • Be imaginative in your choice.
  1. Personalisation and branding

  • Use your logo so you are remembered long after the show.
  • Make sure you add contact details – your telephone number and/or web address.
  • Provide accurate instructions to the supplier including artwork, a layout for where you want the branding and Pantone colour references.

Competitions and free prize draws

These are good tools to help you capture data and can often be tied into pre-show mailers. You do need to be aware that this type of promotion is covered by codes of practice and needs to be set up and run in the appropriate way. It is commonplace to do competitions and prize draws so you will attract more people if you offer a fantastic prize or if there are multiple opportunities to win. Also, be aware that you may find the number of the leads you collect increases, but the quality drops.

Stand Attractions

Using something or someone on your stand to attract people and encourage the passer-by to stop should increase visitor flow. When you are choosing your attraction consider promoting to the five senses: taste, touch, sight, sound and smell.


  • Take the opportunity to walk around as many shows as possible to pick up good ideas, talk to your own staff, your clients, your suppliers and even friends to find out what has impressed them.
  • Whatever you choose to do try to be unusual and different to ensure you set your company apart from the rest.
  • Most important of all is measuring results. Find a way to work out if the tactic you used added value, helped you to gain more leads and ultimately helped you to win more orders. And if you can, work out your return on investment.