The ever-lovely Horny Geek Girl recently gave me a goodie bag she picked up at the ETO show 2016. It was a pretty full one and, as I upended it and let the contents sprawl over my floor I started sifting through the contents. And as I sifted I became distressingly aware of how much effort had gone into things that I was dumping straight into my “bin” pile.
A friend once told me that the greatest honour you can show for a gift is to use it. So, with that in mind, I thought I’d offer up my view on what I find in goodie bags from adult industry events and what stays and what goes:
Flyers – bin
They don’t provide a huge amount of information and, even if it is something I’m interested in, I’m unlikely to keep a pile of loose paper and card kicking about for long, it makes the place untidy and is, quite often, not very actionable (more on this later).
“But wait!” I hear you cry, “Charlie Forrest, you’re a dirty damned liar, I’ve seen your flat!” Well, yes, ok my flat doesn’t need any help to look untidy, but at least by pro-actively dumping fliers I stop it getting any worse.
Business cards – bin
Unless I’ve actually been chatting to you and been physically handed one of these then it’s not going to work, I just haven’t made a connection, so these fall into the same category as the flyers.
Sweets – Nibbles pile
These can vary from the god-awful (seriously, love-hearts? Am I five? Those things taste like lightly sweetened asbestos) to the actually pretty nice (mini bar of Green & Blacks, you can come again!) The upper echelons of these might end up in my play bag for aftercare purposes.
Lube and condoms – sex kit
Bottles of lube are fantastic and definitely find a place in my bedroom. Sachets can be put into a little purse with condoms for portability, both very welcome. The only slight drawback is some folks have preferences for lube and/or condoms that work well for them. Parabens, latex or coatings that make sensitive bits “tingle” are all potential deal-breakers.
Little vibrators – sex kit
I think the perfect trio to have in an emergency sex kit is condoms, lube and a small (but powerful) bullet vibrator. These definitely find use, sometimes lots of use.
Big Vibrators -Oh yeah!
Unless you’re providing an item from a company that’s made a series of exceedingly poor marketing decisions, a high quality toy will probably earn it a great deal of appreciation and maybe even a review depending on who receives it.
Keyrings – keep
These are useful, but the solid built and/or entertaining ones are best. The key (art art) factor is that they need to be small. I sometimes send my leg numb with my keys as it is without adding to the bulk of them.
T-shirts – keep
If it fits I’ll wear it, if it fits and has a cool design I’ll wear it a lot! If it fits, has a cool design and isn’t too explicitly adult I’ll even happily wear it in public. Even an ill-fitting or ghastly t-shirt can often find use… I mean I only have so many socks right? Alternatively, a t-shirt that truly won’t fit can always be reduced to rags for cosplay purposes… although the company logo may no longer be legible.
There are two key factors to making a really good bit of giveaway material (in my humble opinion). Usability and acitonability. So on the usability front, flyers are pretty poor. sweets better, stationary, toys, lube and condoms all good, as are a variety of novel items I’ve encountered in the past (Renee Rose’s spanking paddles from Eroticon 2014 for example). But this needs to be followed through. Put simply, a novelty flogger isn’t any more than a novelty unless you can actually use it.
The second point is actionability. Assuming I like you/your work/your product, there needs to be a straightforward way for me to do something about it. Again flyers are really bad for this, it’s typically an interface between me, a piece of card and then having to get a phone or laptop and manually enter a web address. It’s probably going to be less effective than a half litter bottle of “lubey armstrong” that sits next to my bed and I reach for twice a day or “sexponies.com” catching my eye every time I reach for my keys and see that adorable rainbow unicorn keyring.