No more Free Stuff

I am reading with alarm that the days of Free Stuff are over, in this piece by our own correspondent, Doris de Guzman in New York.

Gazprom memory stick with British pound coin.JPG

Surely not! Only last week I picked up this delightful tiny 4 GB USB memory stick (only 2.5cm long) from sponsors Gazprom at the ICIS World Baseoils conference. 

Doris reflects that recession is truly in the air when her favourite swag is missing from the big chemical trade shows:
When people are getting laid off left and right, it makes sense to cut unnecessary expenses such as the beanie babies, T-shirts, teeny-tiny knapsacks, fragrant bath salts, golf balls and towels. But I noticed that people seem to be happier and willing to work (and talk more to me) when they get free stuff. Or maybe this is just a figment of my imagination.

One person noted that the best part of free swag is that he doesn’t have to stop over at airport stores to buy trinkets for his kids. Please remember that giving swag to wives and sweethearts is definitely tacky, even during a recession.

Other important traditions at tradeshows that seem to be getting trimmed back this year are networking parties, outings and even golf matches. I saw someone wince at the idea of canceling golf matches although another was gleeful.

I agree that certain receptions and events seem to be too extravagant, but I had the impression they were the lifeblood of getting new and more business. Just cut out the life-size jungle ice sculptures, expensive cigars, champagne giveaways and yacht parties. Well, maybe the yacht party should stay.

Click here for the full article in ICIS Chemical Business. 


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