The maze of 125 exhibitors at the NAILBA 34 Exhibition Hall stretched down a long, winding path. Carriers, independent agencies, marketing agencies, software companies and even office solutions companies were among some of the exhibitors present.
The ways these companies attract attendees to their booths gets more creative every year. From offering an open beer bar to live animals and the always fun spin-the-wheel games, some exhibitors spared no expense when it came to offering a good time, while educating attendees, selling their products and becoming a memorable brand in the minds of independent agents (their consumers).
Here are some of the coolest swag items we found during our tour of the exhibition floor at the J.W. Marriott Grand Lakes in Orlando, Florida.
Smart marketing people keep finding cute ways to make sure that their brand is top of mind for their consumers. Enter the lobster (that you can’t eat) “stress ball” … er … thing … animal shape. It caught our attention because it was the only lobster on the whole exhibition floor. Oh, and they also had pens. Tons of pens.
Speaking of cute, NAIFA’s booth caught our attention with these little post-it notebooks with the NAIFA logo. They also had hysterically laughing stress balls guaranteed to get you smiling.
Superior Mobile Medics
Yes, we fell for the old “Oh look, is that a tiny red converse shoe keychain?!” Not only did Superior have these really cool keychains (photo, above left); they also had a bonus: a cardboard cutout that you could take a picture with and then share on social media (photo, above right). It’s an interesting way to interact with clients on social and link it back to an event.
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
The marketing and branding masterminds at Arthur J. Gallagher really took a page out of the book of The Beatles, it would seem. I am the walrus, we are all the walrus, which means that we are all really in this together (in insurance and on Earth at large). (They had cute walrus plush toys with their logo on a blue handkerchief tied around their tiny necks.) They also had a whistle-flashlight-keychain.
As I took these pictures at the Nationwide booth, a gentleman approached the table and instantly sung the jingle “Nationwide is on your side,” which prompted my response, “That jingle works!” (And I bet that you are humming the jingle right now. Right? Right??)
Nationwide had a bald eagle plush toy, which is in their logo, branded candy and cellphone charging sticks, a useful item that seemed to be the “it” swag item this year. They also had wine bottle stoppers that their booth representative said were made from old doorknobs. Great way to upcycle!
While Protective wasn’t the only booth with cookies, they were the only ones with perfectly branded sugar cookies and one of the coolest booths I’ve seen in a long time.
A table displayed all of the prizes and at one corner, stood the “wheel of fortune.” All you had to do was interact with one of the exhibitors at the booth, answer a question correctly, and then you got a chance to spin the wheel and win cool prizes, like an Apple gift card, a Starbucks gift card, or a pedometer, which is what I won, among other prizes. (Disclaimer: I’m still not quite sure why the exhibitor put that $10 bill on the table as I was taking the photo.)
LifeHealthPro.com’s parent company, ALM, had a booth with a wheel of fortune – with awesome prizes like an Apple Watch – and cellphone charging sticks.
All you had to do was take a closer look at some of these booths and you could literally strike gold … well, maybe in the form of a brand new iPad Air! That’s what AdvantMed was offering in return for your business card. Sadly, I had left all of mine in my hotel room …
W & S Financial Group Distributors
Want to win an autographed Cris Collinsworth football? Then head down to the W & S Financial Group Distributors booth and leave your business card in the drawing bowl, after chatting with the nice gentlemen there. (FYI: Cris Collinsworth was an NFL football player for the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1980s, and is now an NBC football analyst.)