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2017-06-06 9:29 AM


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Subject: good swag/bad swag?
Another thread here (about the announcing at the finish)....
And another thread elsewhere in general about making triathlon "better" ...
Coupled with the fact that I just did a race that is supremo in terms of putting the participant first...

Made me think about swag....
I mean, I'm an econ guy, a business owner, and a cynic. I see the list of "AWESOME SWAG" as I'm signing up and I just see it as a list of stuff I'm paying for. Not that I have a problem. The race producers do a good job of leveraging our purchasing power and I am aware that the swag is a real highlight for some folks.

That being said...should swag be rethunk? Do you have examples of surprising, unique, or unexpected swag from a race?
T-shirts, to me, are played out. I still have a Hands Across America t-shirt.
Same with commemorative beer glasses. I've got zillions from races and just about everything else.
I guess the running caps/visors are good I go through those things like water.
A hoodie/jacket is nice every now and then.
Long sleeve technical shirts were great when I first started since I didn't have a lot of cooler weather running gear. But, now...I have plenty.

I'd like to go back and see how much I paid for the Des Moines tri a few years back. I got a nice backpack (that's heldup...I've been using it as a gym and tri bag for about 3-4 years now), a cycling jersey, an embroidered visor, and a random pair of Ironman branded sunglasses. I'm betting I paid quite a bit for that race. Sure, it was a big race...with pro's, big names and that 5150 thing.


What have you got that you were like...."Wow. Clever!" Or that you used/use regularly or are glad you got?
Or...what you simply rolled your eyes at.


2017-06-06 9:42 AM
in reply to: jhaack39

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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?

Most of the shirts I've received are mediocre quality or are too heavy for me to wear. I've received socks at two tris, and while they're not the kind of socks I'd normally purchase, I kind of like them. I did get a rain jacket at my first race this year, but I don't much care for it. I keep it at my office in case a rain shower pops up and I need to step outside. I've worn it exactly zero times.

My favorite item is a nice, hard plastic, BPA water bottle. I use it every day at work. The swag bag from the same race also had a sample of body glide and a Cliff bar. That was a good swag bag.

Frankly, I'd love it if more races offered a spartan option - no shirt, no swag bags, no finisher's medal. I don't really want any of that stuff. And, if it's an option, those who want that stuff can pay the extra money for it. Fort Worth has a summer 5k series, with a race every Thursday night. You can just race for $15. If you want a cotton shirt, it's $20, and if you want a tech shirt, it's $25. Love that concept.

2017-06-06 9:59 AM
in reply to: jhaack39

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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?

I like the headsweat hats because I use them in my training.

Compression socks are good awards or swag.

I enjoy the T-shirts but I could wear a different shirt for every day of the month and not wear one twice.

I gave my wife the PJs from B2B. She loves them and it was a nice way of saying thanks for putting up with my long hours of training.

I once came in second in my age group and received a cheap plastic water container. I threw it away.
2017-06-06 10:24 AM
in reply to: GODAWGS


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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?
Originally posted by GODAWGS

I gave my wife the PJs from B2B. She loves them and it was a nice way of saying thanks for putting up with my long hours of training.


PJs? Excellent idea. I'm sure lots of people don't "do" PJs. But, it's different. Interesting. I'm not a PJ guy. Sure, flannel PJ pants when for those 10 days out of the year when it's like REALLY REALLY cold. I would be on board with that. I suppose they run the risk of someone rolling their eyes at something if it was really off the wall. I would be pleased with flannel PJ pants from a race.

Compression socks suck if you have wide feet and neuroma issues. Wide running shoes are easily available. Wide cycling shoes cost a fortune...fortunately some brands' regulars are wider than others. Wide socks? The only "wide" socks I can find are online on websites that also sell walkers and canes and (which, well, I'm getting closer to), and none of them are really suitable for running. I can't really run in anything but Balega.





2017-06-06 11:04 AM
in reply to: jhaack39

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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?
In ten years of racing

3 of the best things I have received came from the Westchester Triathlon many years ago. Arm warmers for cycling, A nice quality hoodie and a decent mesh backpack with good shoulder straps (not a cheap string $2 one).

Recently I did a GFNY cycling race and inside the goodie bag was a bottle of red wine. I didn't drink it yet but it was a surprise and definitely unique.

At a winter trail race about 10 years ago they gave out knit wool gloves with the race logo. I still have them and use them occasionally.



Things I don't need any more of:
Cheap string backpacks or shopping bags
cheap water bottles
Ugly shirts printed on hideous colored shirts.

Good shirts and bike bottles are welcome!

Keba
2017-06-06 12:22 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?

The best swag I remember over the years:

Savageman gave a pair of cycling gloves one year.

Musselman has given Vere sandals, Shampoo & conditioner, running gloves, Woolsport socks, a beanie cap, and arm warmers.

 



Edited by TriMyBest 2017-06-06 12:23 PM


2017-06-07 5:27 PM
in reply to: TriMyBest

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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?
Can I nominate worst swag ever? For my first triathlon, men and women were given different swag bags. I can't remember what the guys got, but women received a box of assorted "whitening" skin care products. Presumably to lighten us ladies up after all that exercise in the sun.

After 37 years in endurance sports, I don't really care about T-shirts, string bags, or finisher's medals UNLESS it's really unique, or an iron-distance race (hey--I want to wear it for a while so I can brag about my race). IM brand ones (at least the ones I've done) tend to be nice and kind of unique. Beyond that, either no swag (most is crap anyway) or something different and useful, not necessarily for swim/bike/run, is fine.
2017-06-08 3:57 PM
in reply to: jhaack39

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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?
I like swag. I know I'm paying for it but I don't mind. All I ask is that you put some thought/creativity into it.

My favorites are:

socks (decent ones)

*cotton* t-shirts - cool design and not an obnoxious color. (Grey, white, are preferable. No black.) So, tired of those super cheap "tech" t-shirts. Truth be told, I haven't seen a cotton race shirt since.... '08

#1 favorite: a race belt!
2017-06-08 4:24 PM
in reply to: Frank in St. Louis

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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?

Originally posted by Frank in St. Louis I like swag. I know I'm paying for it but I don't mind. All I ask is that you put some thought/creativity into it. My favorites are: socks (decent ones) *cotton* t-shirts - cool design and not an obnoxious color. (Grey, white, are preferable. No black.) So, tired of those super cheap "tech" t-shirts. Truth be told, I haven't seen a cotton race shirt since.... '08 #1 favorite: a race belt!

I got a cotton race shirt from a 10k I did just last weekend. Doesn't meet your other criteria, though, as it's turquoise blue. It's really soft and comfy, and I'm using it for pajama wear.

2017-06-09 10:54 AM
in reply to: Frank in St. Louis


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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?
Originally posted by Frank in St. Louis

I like swag. I know I'm paying for it but I don't mind. All I ask is that you put some thought/creativity into it.

My favorites are:

socks (decent ones)

*cotton* t-shirts - cool design and not an obnoxious color. (Grey, white, are preferable. No black.) So, tired of those super cheap "tech" t-shirts. Truth be told, I haven't seen a cotton race shirt since.... '08

#1 favorite: a race belt!


Race belts are good. I've never gotten one as SWAG. I bought a few when I saw them on clearance. Then I got one for registering with USAT.
Starting to get a collection of them, though.

Big Shark does cotton tees at New Town. They're decent designs. A quality variation on the artistic rendering of some sort of swim/bike/run motif. Professional artist clearly. But same artist year to year so they all start to run together. New Town was my "first", so I will gladly wear their shirts anytime. They're t-shirts....to wear. Not work out in. The new St. Louis Tri....they do the tech t-shirts. Fair to decent design. Lots of sponsor logos. Fair enough. Good colors though. Not dark. And not white. They also do hats. Last year a visor. This year they had 2 hats. One I like to run in, but it's white...it'll get grungy fast. The other is sorta like a painters hat. Some sort of runners hat. But it's massive. And I have a fairly big dome. I kinda looked like the Swedish Chef when I put it on, so I don't wear it. It's a better effort at SWAG than most. Same with the race as a whole. That RD is a racer himself. He's really all about the "racer's experience". It'll be interesting to see where his production company goes.

I have to admit. I like the medals. I like the medals more than I would publicly admit.
2017-06-09 10:59 AM
in reply to: jhaack39


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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?
What about something like "bracelet charms"?

For the ladies who'd wear something like that....it's different.
For the guys who don't wear something like that....it could be like a little "thank you" for a spouse.

Not sure what the single dudes would do with it. Maybe it could be like convertible...it could be like a pin (like for a hat) or a bracelet charm. This would be cool for any of those 'series' races like the Escape thingy. "Gotta catch 'em all"

One thing that is surely missing commercially (outside of SWAG) is "thank you" gifts. You know. For spouses and such. If you Google "triathlon thank you gifts", you find a lot of stuff on ETSY and one thing in Ironman's store. Seems to me like that's a potential revenue stream, surely for Ironman....but I bet non-branded races could capitalize on it.


Yes. It's a slow day at work. I don't have much to do today.


2017-06-09 12:33 PM
in reply to: jhaack39

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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?

Originally posted by jhaack39 What about something like "bracelet charms"? For the ladies who'd wear something like that....it's different. For the guys who don't wear something like that....it could be like a little "thank you" for a spouse. Not sure what the single dudes would do with it. Maybe it could be like convertible...it could be like a pin (like for a hat) or a bracelet charm. This would be cool for any of those 'series' races like the Escape thingy. "Gotta catch 'em all"

I got a charm at a half marathon once and immediately threw it away. COMPLETELY not my style and not something I could even give away as it was branded with the race. The concept of collecting pieces in a series, though, has been very effective on me in another race, but it was finishers medals you had to collect (Cowtown races in Fort Worth from 2009-2013). I randomly signed up for the 2009 race and received a medal that I quickly learned could be combined with the next 4 year's worth of medals to complete a Texas Star design. I was hooked and did the race for 5 years in a row, being sure to collect different distances to mix it up. Even folks who didn't love race medals seemed to think this was pretty neat.

 

2017-06-09 12:42 PM
in reply to: jhaack39

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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?

Other memorable SWAG pieces for me were pint glasses (sorry, I love those and now have a sweet collection! Useful AND great conversation pieces) and anything local to the race. I did an ultra marathon earlier this year where most of the race was run on Navajo land, so the Navajo people were extremely involved in the race, from the expo offerings to post race food (homemade by locals!) to the finisher's gift. After finishing, I received a Navajo hand-made ceramic cup/vase thing that was glazed and had the race insignia on it. Each one was different, and meaningful having run on their land and with their people as well. I use it as a pencil/pen holder in my office.

2017-06-09 4:24 PM
in reply to: lisac957


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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?
Originally posted by lisac957

 




Stellar.
Brilliant idea for that race producer.

I'd fall for it and clear my calendar for 4 years.
2017-06-09 4:54 PM
in reply to: jhaack39

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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?
Originally posted by jhaack39

Originally posted by Frank in St. Louis

I like swag. I know I'm paying for it but I don't mind. All I ask is that you put some thought/creativity into it.

My favorites are:

socks (decent ones)

*cotton* t-shirts - cool design and not an obnoxious color. (Grey, white, are preferable. No black.) So, tired of those super cheap "tech" t-shirts. Truth be told, I haven't seen a cotton race shirt since.... '08

#1 favorite: a race belt!


Race belts are good. I've never gotten one as SWAG. I bought a few when I saw them on clearance. Then I got one for registering with USAT.
Starting to get a collection of them, though.

Big Shark does cotton tees at New Town. They're decent designs. A quality variation on the artistic rendering of some sort of swim/bike/run motif. Professional artist clearly. But same artist year to year so they all start to run together. New Town was my "first", so I will gladly wear their shirts anytime. They're t-shirts....to wear. Not work out in. The new St. Louis Tri....they do the tech t-shirts. Fair to decent design. Lots of sponsor logos. Fair enough. Good colors though. Not dark. And not white. They also do hats. Last year a visor. This year they had 2 hats. One I like to run in, but it's white...it'll get grungy fast. The other is sorta like a painters hat. Some sort of runners hat. But it's massive. And I have a fairly big dome. I kinda looked like the Swedish Chef when I put it on, so I don't wear it. It's a better effort at SWAG than most. Same with the race as a whole. That RD is a racer himself. He's really all about the "racer's experience". It'll be interesting to see where his production company goes.

I have to admit. I like the medals. I like the medals more than I would publicly admit.


Haven't done New Town yet. Did the STL tri (OLY) and that's just the kind of tech jersey I could do without. I might wear it for working out but never in public. You're right - good race though. And really, that's the most important thing.
2017-06-09 5:52 PM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?
One kind of swag I could really do without--trucker hats. Not sure about other women, or guys with small heads, but my head is always lost in those, even on the smallest setting. When I qualified for Worlds, they gave everyone qualifier trucker hats. They wanted a photo of the qualifiers with them, and the hats were too big for almost all the women and a few of the more compact guys. So we have this stupid photo of people holding their hats up. I just don't get what the attraction is with those--to my mind, it looks neither feminine (if one cares about that), nor athletic. I would never run in one. Gave my qualifier hat to my dad (which is a conversation starter on a guy who's almost 80 and not that mobile) and the actual Worlds one just sits on a shelf.

Now a nice "tech" type hat like the ones made by 2XU or HeadSweats, I could use that. A few races give them as swag, but usually you have to purchase them from the IM store or expo. I like having a bunch of those hats in a range of colors, since I do so much sweaty, hot running here.

But Kudos to IM Vietnam 70.3 for unusual swag. For those who don't know, coffee and ceramics are specialties here. You get a coffee mug with a custom design, painted in traditional style with the race going on in a stylized version of Danang all around the cup, made by Minh Long, a famous ceramic company. It comes with a pack of Vietnamese coffee and a drip filter. And the same coffee place ran a booth where your athlete bracelet got you unlimited coffee drinks for three days. Now THAT'S good swag!

Edited by Hot Runner 2017-06-09 5:59 PM


2017-06-10 12:05 PM
in reply to: jhaack39

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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?
Jeez, you folks are getting some great swag. Most of my swag bags are filled with ads for future races that the RD will be holding or for local dentists, chiropractors, etc. T-shirts - meh - I have a 50/50 rate of keeping them and like mentioned above I have no shortage of shirts for work outs. Water bottles are rarely more than pure junk. I'd love to get a beer glass, even once. My best swag is a race belt I got 5 years ago. I guess I just do chintzy races, Im now bummed out.
2017-06-10 5:31 PM
in reply to: Oysterboy

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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?
You should race in Singapore--it's one of the world's richest countries for a reason--they don't throw money around. The "best" swag (as opposed to prizes) I have gotten has been a plastic water bottle with some yacht company's name on it. No idea what that had to do with the race. Otherwise it is the usual ads. Occasionally a sample product from someone's startup--weird kinds of energy bars or tiny foil packs of sunscreen. One sprint series, for several years, gave overall podium finishers and AG winner (many of them the caliber of athletes who KQ)...gasp...drum roll....a pair of socks!
2017-06-13 3:03 PM
in reply to: jhaack39


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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?
Yes, exactly this. I owe my husband about 30k "thank you" gifts. Thank you for hauling the children around and then sitting in the heat for a million hours while I go play triathlon.
2017-06-13 4:06 PM
in reply to: cmbell


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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?
Originally posted by cmbell

Yes, exactly this. I owe my husband about 30k "thank you" gifts. Thank you for hauling the children around and then sitting in the heat for a million hours while I go play triathlon.


It does seem crazy doesn't it? That they don't have a wide offering of this?
I keep a list of people who I would get something for if I ever complete one.

My wife, obviously. The widow of the guy who inspired me to lose 100 lbs. My friend since childhood who first suggested to me that I could "do triathlon". The spin class instructor at Gold's who's class I go to when it's cold or nasty outside and I feel like I need to be punished. The front desk people at Planet Fitness who were always friendly and attentive and never batted an eye when I took a slice of pizza while I was losing that 100lbs. I miss PF. They just don't have a pool or I'd still go. That one volunteer I see and "remember" at just about every local race who's name I've asked a dozen times, but never remember in the heat of the moment. She's not a volunteer anymore. She always said she wanted to actually try it. She did this year!

Not sure why they haven't figured this out. Seems like they're leaving money on the table. Sheesh. At the very least, set up a deal with Things Remembered and put a gateway to a substore on their website. Basically anything that's made that can have an IM logo and the word "thanks" slapped on to it would be fair game. Watches, jewelry, wallets, t-shirts, flasks, ties, Christmas ornaments, etc.

It immediately doubles, or triples your potential market base for selling junk.
2017-06-14 2:13 AM
in reply to: jhaack39

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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?
Originally posted by jhaack39

Originally posted by cmbell

Yes, exactly this. I owe my husband about 30k "thank you" gifts. Thank you for hauling the children around and then sitting in the heat for a million hours while I go play triathlon.


It does seem crazy doesn't it? That they don't have a wide offering of this?
I keep a list of people who I would get something for if I ever complete one.

My wife, obviously. The widow of the guy who inspired me to lose 100 lbs. My friend since childhood who first suggested to me that I could "do triathlon". The spin class instructor at Gold's who's class I go to when it's cold or nasty outside and I feel like I need to be punished. The front desk people at Planet Fitness who were always friendly and attentive and never batted an eye when I took a slice of pizza while I was losing that 100lbs. I miss PF. They just don't have a pool or I'd still go. That one volunteer I see and "remember" at just about every local race who's name I've asked a dozen times, but never remember in the heat of the moment. She's not a volunteer anymore. She always said she wanted to actually try it. She did this year!

Not sure why they haven't figured this out. Seems like they're leaving money on the table. Sheesh. At the very least, set up a deal with Things Remembered and put a gateway to a substore on their website. Basically anything that's made that can have an IM logo and the word "thanks" slapped on to it would be fair game. Watches, jewelry, wallets, t-shirts, flasks, ties, Christmas ornaments, etc.

It immediately doubles, or triples your potential market base for selling junk.
Why don't you get all of the these people a thank you gift anyway, why does it have to be something with IM or another race name stamped on it? For those that have inspired or helped you even a small amount why not a voucher at a local coffee shop or cafe or something like that just to say "thanks I really appreciate what you do and how you have helped me to achieve my goals and dreams."


2017-06-14 2:20 AM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?
Originally posted by Hot Runner

You should race in Singapore--it's one of the world's richest countries for a reason--they don't throw money around. The "best" swag (as opposed to prizes) I have gotten has been a plastic water bottle with some yacht company's name on it. No idea what that had to do with the race. Otherwise it is the usual ads. Occasionally a sample product from someone's startup--weird kinds of energy bars or tiny foil packs of sunscreen. One sprint series, for several years, gave overall podium finishers and AG winner (many of them the caliber of athletes who KQ)...gasp...drum roll....a pair of socks!
Pretty much the same here in Western Australia. Any "swag" is a bag full of promotional leaflets and that it. If you sign up for the full series then you might get a tech shirt that will fit your 6 year old niece.

Very few races give finishers medals, this has started to change with some of the larger running events but not in the tri world yet (with the exception of IM).
2017-06-14 7:55 AM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?
Originally posted by Hot Runner

You should race in Singapore--it's one of the world's richest countries for a reason--they don't throw money around. The "best" swag (as opposed to prizes) I have gotten has been a plastic water bottle with some yacht company's name on it. No idea what that had to do with the race. Otherwise it is the usual ads. Occasionally a sample product from someone's startup--weird kinds of energy bars or tiny foil packs of sunscreen. One sprint series, for several years, gave overall podium finishers and AG winner (many of them the caliber of athletes who KQ)...gasp...drum roll....a pair of socks!


This sounds a bit like Norway!

I did a race last month, and the "swag" was a trial-size bottle of children's multi-vitamin. Liquid version of the old Fred Flinstone vitamins I guess.

Last year's marathon here, we got a trial-size bottle of a new sports clothes washing detergent. I admit to trying it, and buying the full size after. So, that one actually worked!

The finisher medals are pretty nice tho
2017-06-14 10:51 AM
in reply to: StaceyK


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Subject: RE: good swag/bad swag?
Originally posted by StaceyK
Why don't you get all of the these people a thank you gift anyway, why does it have to be something with IM or another race name stamped on it? For those that have inspired or helped you even a small amount why not a voucher at a local coffee shop or cafe or something like that just to say "thanks I really appreciate what you do and how you have helped me to achieve my goals and dreams."


Oh....they'll get something. Some of them though....
Like my friend who got me started...he does (did tri), until his knee blew out a second time. He's been vicariously participating through me. He's come to some of my races and encouraged me. So, it'd make sense. The guy who inspired me....cycling and spin was how he started losing weight. He lost a lot more than me....and still had a ways to go. He always wanted to try.....tri. But he wasn't at the point weight wise that running was an option. Connecting it to triathlon in some way....particularly the iconic brand....makes a little sense for them.

My wife, I could just do the dishes one night and she'd be more than happy. The spin instructor? She's worth way more than a couple cups of coffee. I connected with her via the guy who helped inspire me...he was a spin instructor too...he got me to try it. They're all connected. Spin seems to be rather cultish.

I'm more pointing out that the brand is missing out and leaving money on the table. I think they end up taking pennies on the dollar from third party vendors for goods/services/added-value options at their races that they could capitalize on in greater fashion. But, that's just how I think. Added value.
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