Let’s Talk about Swag* Baby

One of the things that you hear over and over when you’re researching whether to attend a BlogHer conference is that the amount of swag is absolutely insane.

Before the conference, half the people are saying that they’re bringing an extra suitcase for all the awesome free stuff they’re going to be hauling home and the other half are talking about how much they just detest swag and won’t be taking any of the crap with them.

My swag

I’m obviously in the “I love free stuff” camp!

However, I’ve also been working hard to stick to a goal of not having a bunch of useless junk around my house. I’m trying to keep Jack’s clothes and toys under control so that we only have what we need, instead of being buried alive.

At BlogHer, I approached each swag gift and really thought about whether it would be useful to me and/or something that my awesome Pocketful of Joules readers would want to hear about. I feel like I did pretty darn well and came home with just one stuffed bag.

I’m a fairly new blogger compared to a lot of the superstars at the event, so I wasn’t invited to any of the sponsored parties with special swag. Everything I received was in the main exhibit halls, accessible by all BlogHer attendees. I’m not going to list every single piece of swag I received, because that would just be a really long list of items you don’t care about. However, I am going to talk about my Top 5 items from the conference.

My Top 6 Swag Items from BlogHer 12:

Trojan Tri-Phoria
Okay, let’s just let the elephant in the room honk his trunk for a moment. If you’ve heard anything about this year’s swag bag you’ve heard about Trojan’s giveaway. Let me say that they were absolutely BRILLIANT to bring their new product, the Tri-Phoria (it’s a fancy vibe… um, I mean “intimate massager”) to the conference. With an audience of 5,000 women at the event (and a few guys), EVERYONE knew what Trojan was giving away within minutes. It hit Twitter immediately. In fact, as attendees were walking away from their booth (some embarrassed with a slightly dazed look on their face) there was a murmur of “oh my gosh, Trojan just handed me a toy” heard throughout the exhibit hall. Closely followed by the pounding feet sound of woman rushing over to the booth. Bravo Trojan – you couldn’t have done better advertising if you had paid for a Super Bowl commercial!

RetailMeNot Gift Card
Have you heard of RetailMeNot? It’s a site that has a ton of coupon and promo codes for you to use. I use them every time I’m placing an online order as a quick way to check and see if I can get a little extra money off of my order. Well, RetailMeNot had one of those snazzy spinning wheels of prizes – which I LOVE, but never win anything good. Well, in exchange for a tweet using their hashtag you were able to earn a spin of their wheel. So, one quick tweet later (I tweeted, “Yay, I love spinning wheels of fun!”) and I spun the prize wheel…. and won a $250 VISA gift card! They were super smart and branded the gift card with their logo and website so that I think of them every time I use it. I’m a WINNER!

My Zamzee

Zamzee Activity Meter
Okay, this is one of the items that I’m pretty darn excited about. Zamzee’s Activity Meter is like a pedometer on crack. It not only measures your steps, but the intensity of the activity. You can then plug the meter into your computer and track your progress online. You earn “Pointz” for various activities and save up for prizes, like gift cards! Since I’m starting my diet/exercise program, I’m really looking forward to using this little guy to help me stay motivated. The Zamzee folks were nice enough to give me an Activity Meter for myself, as well as one for a reader giveaway – so I’ll be sharing more about my experience and also launching a contest so you can win one too.

Rita Hazan Foaming Color Gloss
You may not know this about me, but I LOVE playing with new beauty products, especially ones for my hair! I had not heard of the Rita Hazen brand before I was given a sample of their Foaming Color Gloss. However, the lady at the booth was super nice (with great hair), so I was excited to try it out. I have only used it a couple times, so I don’t feel like I can write a full review yet, but I’ll keep you posted. Mostly, I’m impressed that they came to a conference with a full-sized product for ladies to take home. So much better than using a product once and trying to justify the cost to purchase it on your own!

Arm & Hammer Whitening Booster
Kudos also go to Arm & Hammer who brought their “Whitening Booster” to BlogHer. Many people don’t like the whitening strips, so the company came up with a booster gel that you use on top of your toothpaste which is “easier to use, less expensive and whitens your teeth in just one week.” I had never heard of this product, but now that it’s in my medicine cabinet I’m using it twice a day. Hopefully in the next pictures I post of me I will have beautifully white teeth! Had the company not brought that product to the BlogHer conference, I wouldn’t have even known about it. So good job marketing guys & gals!

My blingy tumbnail

Kiss Nail Press Stickers
I suck at painting my fingernails. It’s really hard for me to paint by using that teensy little brush in my non-dominant hand. I also get all twitchy when my nail polish chips and usually end up cleaning it all off my fingers within a day or so.  I’ve seen the new stick-on nail polishes and have actually picked them up many times… only to put them back down because of their price. The Kiss company gave out gift bags to anyone who completed their survey at the event, which contained their Nail Press stickers. Now, I wouldn’t have chosen this particular design on my own but I did try out one sticker on my thumbnail and lived with it for a few days. Honestly, it impressed me enough that I would go out and buy a set in a more normal design. So, it looks like their product placement worked on me!

As careful as I was with my swag choosing, I did end up with some random crap. Before I left NYC, I packed it up and took it to the Swag Recycling Room so other people could have a crack at the stuff I didn’t want. Such a great idea!

I only ended up with a few things in my “Why did I bother to lug this stuff home pile”: a hot pocket toy (okay, I think this is pretty dumb but my baby and/or dog will probably enjoy playing with it), chocolate organic tea (I hate tea with a white hot passion and the chocolate flavor isn’t fooling anybody), a sheet of zebra-striped duck tape, a squishy sample of technogel (with no purpose at all) and….a picture of me with toilet paper. Because everyone needs a print of them using TP as a boa around their neck, right?

Do you like my toilet paper boa?

All in all, I’m super happy with my swag-o-licous-ness and can’t wait to start using the products. After using the stuff for a little while, I’m planning to put up a review about the Zamzee Activity Meter and the Rita Hazen Foaming Color Gloss. Please note though: if I give a positive review for something it’s because I’ve actually used it and really like it. I’m not going to sell out and stick up a blog post about something I don’t like!

Were you at the BlogHer conference? If so, what was your favorite swag ?


*Definition of Swag: free stuff and giveaways offered by vendors at trade shows to encourage attendees to visit their booth (defined by webopedia.com. I’m not talking about swag, as in swagger – the appearance of the way someone presents themselves (ex. Yo, you got some killer swag dude). I’m also not talking about the Urban Dictionary’s definition of swag: Secretly We Are Gay.  I like boys, my husband especially (when he’s not hogging the covers).

Disclaimer: Although I wrote about my top 6 items, none of the companies has given me any compensation or incentive for writing about them or including links to their websites (which I did for your convenience only).

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