Have You Got Swag?

Think you're ready to start playing the swag game? Before you send your products to every gift bag company in Hollywood, take this quiz:

1. What's your ultimate goal for being included in a swag bag?

a. I expect that several major celebrities will want to endorse my product. b. I'm hoping to maybe get a picture of a celeb to hang on the wall. c. I want the PR for my company.

2. What's your budget?

a. Budget? I'm giving them free products. They should be thanking me, not sending me a bill. b. I guess I could throw a bit of cash at it. c. I have some marketing dollars allocated toward giveaways, and if I had to, I could scale back on other things to get more exposure.

3. Who is your target audience?

a. Everyone! My product appeals to everyone! b. I appeal to the average consumer, someone with a little extra money to spend. c. My customer loves luxury, items that are unique and special and offer a personal touch. We did an in-depth analysis . . . want to see it?

4. How do you plan to present your gift?

a. We'll just have a few cases shipped from the warehouse. The gift bag people will just toss them in a bag anyway. b. I guess we can add a bow. c. We plan to present the gift in a custom, personalized keepsake box.

5. How unique is your product?

a. Well, it's the only one that WE make. b. We've got a twist on a common product. c. There's really nothing else like it on the market. Here, would you like a spec sheet?

If you answered mostly A, you probably aren't ready for the celebrity swag bag world. In fact, how are you even still in business?

If you answered mostly B, you're on the right track, but you'll have to work a little harder to appeal to the swag bag designers. Try coming up with a unique packaging idea or a twist to your typical product, like a special edition, specifically for a swag bag.

If you answered mostly C, you're ready to start exploring the world of swag bags. You understand that it's not just about the potential celebrity endorsements, but the PR value. You realize it's going to cost money to be a participant (the companies in the Oscar swag bags spend up to $20,000 each for the privilege.) You understand that you need to be unique, in terms of both your item and your presentation.

For a company that wants to build its profile among the movers and shakers of Hollywood, swag bags can be a ticket to fame and fortune. Much like Hollywood itself, it might take a while to hit the big time, but keep trying. You never know when you'll land the role of a lifetime — and make your real red carpet debut.

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