The Best Corporate Swag

Vintage Banker Bag

I used to work in the music business. The corporate swag we received from record companies, shall we say, rocked. A kitted out tool box that I use at least once a month. Gold records. A backpack picnic hamper with wine bottle cooler.

I polled my friends about the best corporate swag they had ever received. A sample of the replies:

  1. maybe a ben harper zippo? or a lehman brothers umbrella (that should be worth something now...)
  2. Bob Marley "stash" box & Willie Nelson silver coins.
  3. I got a nano a few years ago which was nice, but my favorite so far is a reversible bull/bear puppet thing from Bloomberg.
  4. Clearly I'm in the wrong job. Librarians get sticky notes & pens.
  5. you wonder if product managers used to go, "honey? What do we need for the house -- Umbrella? Soccer shorts? Windbreaker? Surfboard? Golf bag? Our kids don't mind if it has a Hanson logo on it, do they?"


But what's the thing I use most often? A canvas bag my mother forgot at my house one visit. It has the name of a community bank on it, and it resembles the Land's End tote I bought years ago with an S on it. Plus it's khaki and black, so never clashes, and I am not lying when I say I have carried a half a case of wine in it. (Of course I am; there were seven bottles jammed in it.) I'm never returning it.

It beats the thin cloth shopping bags that are great for groceries until they wear out, and it certainly beats myriad of scrap swag that have filtered through my life. So banks, skip the small stuff and just go for several hundred of these.

Of course, if this is all too corporate for you, there's always this one-of-a-kind bag made from salvaged bank bags, which says, among other things, This bag is property of and should be returned to Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Do Not Cut When Opening. It, too, rocks, but unfortunately isn't available by the dozen.