• We’ve all had the mediocre event Swag Bag experience.

    You arrive at an event or conference, wait in line, get your badge, and then - almost instantly - the “swag bag” materializes in your hand, as if out of nowhere.


    Mints? Handy. Pen? Maybe you’ll use it once or twice today..

    The rest pretty quickly ends up in the trash, forgotten at the hotel, or ditched under an auditorium seat.

    While they may be ineffective, bad for the environment and sometimes annoying, the traditional swag bag has taught us that events come with calls to action.

    Whether it’s the conference organizer, a sponsor, a speaker or even the catering company, event stakeholders all have something to share.


    Why the Swag Bag Makes Sense for Marketing at Events

    Online marketing is the new normal. We are (most of the time) well targeted from our socio-demographic profile or online activity, and delivered messages, calls to action and offers from brands and businesses that think we fit in their target market.

    The magic of events is that 100% of your attendees can be categorized into a relevant target market. For example:

    • People interested in marketing go to marketing conferences
    • People who love basketball go to basketball games
    • People looking for work go to job expos

    Events give marketers and brands a unique opportunity to engage a targeted, captive audience - There is less guesswork.


    The Challenge of Swag Bag ROI

    Creating a touchpoint with every attendee, and not blowing out your budget on those who aren’t interested in your brand or products or services is challenging, and has traditionally led to a “spray and pray” approach, with logos on inexpensive, mass produced “stuff” that often misses the mark.


    A logo on a cheap pen doesn’t always make your potential customer feel special

    It would be much easier to justify the investment in higher value, higher incentive offers, should they be claimed exclusively by the attendees within your target group.

    It would be much easier to share an offer that makes the recipient feel special.


    Virtual Swag with Non-Fungible Tokens

    Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are a class of digital assets, registered on a blockchain.

    They carry information (called metadata) defining or giving access to the asset or experience they represent.

    Every NFT is inherently unique (no two can ever be confused as the same) and carries a history of it’s provenance - Who created it, who owned it, who redeemed it, etc.

    NFTs are the perfect vehicle for encapsulating and delivering scarce digital value, eg:

    1. Physical giveaways - "Come to our booth to talk about our services and get a branded hoodie!"

    2. Digital offers - "Redeem this token for a free copy of our digital playbook"

    3. Meetings - "Use this token to schedule a meeting on our CEO's calendar"

    4. Prizes - "100 lucky attendees receive this token, redeemable for a $100 UberEats gift card"


    They are the perfect vehicle for delivering value to event attendees.

    • Inexpensive - Create and deliver thousands of tokens for as low as a few cents each

    • Instant - Delivery via a single link, that can be shared in emails, social posts or during your event

    • Virtual - Attendees can participate from anywhere - Perfect for online events!

    • Tradable - Attendees who receive rare or high value offers can easily trade or give to a friend.

    • Responsible - No print. No waste. Happy sea turtles.


    In February 2019, New York City blockchain event, NFT.NYC shared the first Virtual NFT Swag Bag with their 500 attendees.


    It worked, and in May that same year, CoinDesk adopted the technology at NYC Blockchain Week’s Consensus and delivered over 200,000 tokenized offers among their 5,000 event-goers.

    Screen Shot 2020-06-08 at 3.39.51 PM

    Peter Bordes, CoinDesk’s Managing Director of Global Events, has been in the event industry for over 15 yrs, and said:

    “The Consensus NFTs will provide attendees with both added value and a direct connection with their favorite sponsors and speakers.”



    More events quickly followed suit:

    • The Technology Policy Institute’s used NFTs to gamify the experience at their Aspen Forum

    • The DC based Chamber of Digital Commerce shared NFT Swag Bags to celebrate their 5th anniversary

    • Informa engaged global communications leaders with NFT Swag at the 2019 Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam

    • CryptoMondays shared Virtual NFT Swag among their 15,000 worldwide members


    Virtual Swag for Virtual Events

    With 2020’s rise of virtual events, hosted on streaming platforms like Zoom, the need for digital engagement solutions has become more clear.

    Following their inaugural Swag Bag at Consensus 2019, CoinDesk’s Consensus: Distributed offered NFT Swag to their 22,000+ virtual conference registrations.

    Some of the best offers shared included:

    1. 1. Complimentary passes to their 2021 event and sponsor hosted meetups

      consensus-distributed-2020-nfts-coindesk2 consensus-distributed-2020-nfts-gxchain

    2. 2. Dinner as you enjoyed the show from home, with a $25 USD UberEats gift card


    3. 3. A branded hoodie from ZUBR when you completed signup on their app


    4. 4. An UberEats dinner voucher when you joined a followup webinar, hosted by Kred


    5. 5. Cash bonuses on awesome red, metal credit cards from Crypto.com


    6. 6. A huge discount off the CoolWallet S hardware wallet



    Try sharing Virtual Swag at your next Virtual Event to see how you can increase attendee engagement before, during and after the show.

  • Cameron Bale

    About Cameron Bale