You hear the term “swag” nowadays and you might think: Amazon backpacks, Google water bottles, maybe a FaceBook hoodie. But swag isn’t just for just tech executives and their employees. In the entertainment business, where you have - as this article notes - “frontline workers” (think actors and directors) and “backend workers” (think crew, makeup and costume teams) swag serves many purposes.
There’s a ton of film industry promotional items out there, but in an industry saturated with wealth and innovation, when brainstorming ideas for company swag, you want to think of items that are going to: 1) get noticed, 2) make both those on screen and behind the screen feel valued, and 3) generate excitement for your upcoming new release.
Because everyone loves swag; from Paris Hilton to Elizabeth Olson, high end swag is a crowd pleaser. So let’s talk about how to get your company unique promotional items that reflect the quality of art you’re making. In this article we’ll cover:
- Top entertainment companies using swag
- Examples of most creative promotional items from the entertainment industry
- Ideas for:
--> Swag for cast and crew
--> Swag for award shows
--> Business of screenwriting swag
--> Best company swag for employees
-->Executive swag ideas
--> Best movie swag ideas
--> Swag for influencers
- Custom swag for your company
Top entertainment companies that use swag:
Long story short, most of the top entertainment companies use swag. Their use for each trendy promotional item differs, though. Check out how these three giants use trendy promotional items to boost everything from employee morale to their studio’s bottom line:
Netflix often leverages best company swag for employees to show appreciation and boost morale in their offices. They recently used Gemnote, for instance, to create gift sets that welcomed employees to their new offices. Their aim? To show employee appreciation for their patience during the moving process. The result? Custom Netflix and NYC-inspired items designed specifically for their workers.
This entertainment company might not be a household name like HBO, Netflix, and Hulu, but by 1990 this film company had produced ⅓ of all music videos on the internet. You’ve more likely heard of the directors they’re responsible for nurturing along the way, including Michael Bay, David Fincher, and Spike Jonze. Their most creative promotional item? A jacket for crew members that include a really cool logo emblazoned on the back. Propaganda Films shows that even though some workers might not be center-stage - the best company swag for employees just means showing your workers you appreciate them, and reminding them of the bigger picture they’re a part of.
We’re forever grateful HBO took George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones fantastical book series and turned it into a binge-worthy TV show, and now we’re extra happy they’re extending into the media and entertainment industry swag sector to buoy excitement for many of their shows. If you meander over to their website you’ll see unique promotional items like a Last Week Tonight baby onesie and Game of Thrones glassware.
Examples of most creative promotional items used by entertainment companies
There’s no shortage of quirky, unusual swag - from cars (yes, you read that right!) to designer sunglasses - that entertainment companies have used to wow their highest performers, from actresses and actors to directors and executives. These may not be in everybody’s budget, or even to everybody’s taste, but they’re worth noting as a source of inspiration to show that when you get in touch with the right swag company, you really can create the most customized, personalized gift for your target market, and add a dash of personality too!
With that said, here’s some of the craziest, most creative promotional items used by entertainment companies in recent years:
- Leather jackets
- Beauty rollers
- DNA testing kits
Swag for cast and crew
Moving on from the highly unusual, let’s talk about swag that’s going to show employees you appreciate them, while also spreading excitement about your upcoming movies and TV shows.
Everyone in the entertainment industry knows film sets “are run on 12-hour workdays . . . and 6 days work weeks.” And for a feature film, according to Film Stories, it’s not unusual for workdays to extend into the 14-16 hour range. So what better way to show employee appreciation than with a wellness gift set?
Gemnote has plenty of offerings when it comes to thoughtful gift boxes, filled with options like sustainable customized chocolate bars, reusable water bottles, ground coffee, and protein bars to keep your crew members hydrated, fed, and rejuvenated. Company swag items like these serve as both thoughtful and functional, showing your workers that you care about their wellbeing both on and offset. And at a time when both employees and consumers desire value alignment from the companies they choose to invest time and money in, there’s no better way to demonstrate your company’s values than with a gift set.
Fanny packs or Belt bags
These are some of the best trending promotional items of 2020! Belt bags are great for a number of reasons, but most importantly: not everybody has one, but everybody could use one. They are a great way to go hands-free while shopping in the city, taking a hike, or running errands. For high-end swag that doubles as a sustainable choice, opt for a branded belt bag by Patagonia!
Related Article: Brand Spotlight: Patagonia for Customers and Businesses
When it comes to being on set, we’re sure you already know utility is key for your crew. Comfortable shoes, jeans, and t-shirts probably comprise the uniform of most of your workers. But when it comes to best company swag for employees, backpacks are hard to beat because they’re so functional. The cool thing about high end branded merchandise - like backpacks with an iconic scene from your film emblazoned on the back, or the logo of your studio on the breast pocket - is it brings people together and creates a shared sense of purpose for your project. And even after filming has wrapped, as your employees continue to use their high end swag in everyday life - like when running errands or going on a hike - a backpack is the perfect reminder of the part they played in making your company’s project come to life.
As we all try to cut down on our carbon footprint, tumblers are an economic, functional option when searching swag for cast and crew. Since your crew is often on their feet and moving all day, you might want to bypass an open container like a regular mug or cup and opt for its closed counterpart - a customized tumbler. Again, consider getting your logo or an iconic image from the set printed on the side, as this makes all company swag items extra memorable.
Often crew-members are out at all hours, in all weather conditions, trying to capture that perfect scene - a high quality jacket by Patagonia, Marmot, North Face, or Arc-teryx present an ideal choice that will stand the test of time.
Swag for award shows
The thing to remember when brainstorming swag bag ideas for film events, is that you most likely aren’t going to wow your audience with the most expensive pair of sunglasses - chances are, all the top actresses, actors, and movie directors already have them - instead go with the most creative promotional items you can think of. What’s going to be intriguing to open and use before the show? What is something the recipient might not expect to be gifted as they’re in glam the morning of? Now with that being said, here are some of our suggestions:
Silk and organic cotton face masks
Given the ongoing effects of COVID-19, we’re not surprised to see face masks showing up as one of the hottest promotional items of 2020. Consider getting the name of your entertainment company’s most popular new release screen printed on the front, or alternatively, if it’s a well-known classic being re-made, have a famous quote screen-printed across the mask. This is one of the best movie swag ideas that serves two purposes: it gifts fun promotional items to actresses and actors in your industry and engenders goodwill, while also spreading the word about your studio and your new release.
We all know the joy of staying in a hotel and receiving a complimentary pair of slippers - it’s a small slice of comfort in an otherwise new location. And since award shows are something that celebrities fly in for, luxury slippers are an ideal, thoughtful choice that everyone can appreciate. Opt for a high-end swag brand like Coyuchi - their “room shoes” are organic and machine-washable, with a flat-woven Mideteranien fabric for the exterior, and a ribbed-knit featured at the back to allow for “slip-on versatility.” Cute and comfortable.
Luxury body wash
As we alluded to earlier, when gifting celebrities at award shows, it’s always a good idea to lead with the novel and the creative. That’s why we recommend Byredo’s luxury body wash - they describe their Gypsy Water wash in particular as an “ode to the beauty of Romani culture” with woody notes of pine needle and sandalwood, paired with incense, amber, citrus, and bergamot - the perfect unisex scent.
Business of screenwriting swag
We know that screenwriters definitely fall on the “backend'' side of the entertainment industry. They’re the ones writing the emotive, exciting, and often funny scripts that get us all sympathizing with and cheering for our favorite characters. But often the most essential part of any well-run organization can get overlooked - and screenwriters often fall into this category. So here’s some ideas for film industry promotional items that are likely to be appreciated by these essential members of your company.
Customized t-shirts are a great way for screenwriters to remind others, both inside and outside the office, of their role in your organization and show off some company pride. Opt for a company logo, the title of your most popular TV-series, or even an iconic line from a hit TV show to insert more personality into your best company swag for employees' choice.
Baseball caps/Camper caps
If you’re a smaller studio and want to choose an economical gift for your swag for screenwriters, consider putting a customized hat in everyone’s onboarding kit. These writers spend long hours in the writers’ room, brainstorming ideas, jokes and storylines, so they may not always have time for a blowout or even a visit to the hairstylist for a regular cut. This is one of the best small business promo products in many gifting company’s repertoire because they: 1) are size adjustable, 2) suitable for all genders, and 3) useful!
Writers spend most of their time at their desks, with their laptops, so an insulated mug by Miir to keep their coffee warm is key. These are dishwasher safe and is the perfect example of high end branded merchandise that will see frequent use during the work day. Trust us, they’ll be using this everyday and refilling multiple times a day.
Most writers will tell you that, though they do a lot of editing on their laptops, nothing beats writing down ideas onto paper. This is a unique promotional item that will 1) resonate with recipients, and 2) get used. The Rocketbook notebooks in particular are especially useful in the digital age as you get the pleasure of writing down your notes by hand, but the notebook is connected with the Rocketbook app and is uploaded to your cloud. We love this option as it’s endlessly reusable (you never run out of pages!) and time-efficient to boot.
Writers practically run on coffee, and that means they appreciate quality when they taste it. You can’t go wrong with brands like Blue Bottle, Ritual Coffee, and Verve - for instance, Blue Bottle coffee presents the perfect option if you’re interested in highly sustainable and ethical single-origin beans, while Ritual Coffee is a wonderful local brand that roasts their own beans and operates their own small cafes.
Best company swag for employees
Crewnecks are a great choice if you’re looking for trendy promotional items that don’t break the bank. Take a classic brand like Marine Layer or Alternative Apparel and customize the front with your company’s name or logo.
We know that not all water bottles are created equal. And if you’re anything like us, you like to have one or two reusable water bottles on hand - for instance, one for home and one for the office so you’re never without. Opt for a water bottle by Miir or S’well to get a stainless steel, BPA-free water bottle that will keep your liquids cold for 48 hours and hot for 12.
If you’re on the hunt for unique promotional items that aren’t in the mainstream gifting space yet, then air purifiers could be your go-to gift. We especially love the simple design of the ones by Blueair which use sophisticated technology to keep the air around you clean and fresh at all times, while Dyson’s air purifier is especially functional as it has 3 uses: fan, heater, and air purifier.
Executive swag ideas
Coffee or tea gift set
This is one of those unique high end corporate gifts that passes both the functional and quality tests. Slack approached Gemnote to create a custom, curated tea gift set that includes: two NotNeutral mugs, tea leaves, Unna bakery cookies, Mast Brothers Chocolate bar (which you can customize with a unique message and company branding), and a leather luggage tag. Alternatively, if your boss is more of a coffee person, consider opting for the gift box that includes two Kinto Ceramic mugs, Kinto Coffee Carafe, a coffee bag of choice, and a Raaka chocolate bar (customizable as well!). By far this is one of the top executive swag ideas for those in the entertainment industry as this box is both easy to keep in the office and has a bunch of creative flavors and designs! Perfect for creative directors and corporate executives alike.
Rain jacket/puffer vest
A high quality, customized rain jacket or puffer vest is great for executives in the entertainment industry, especially given the potential for travel when meeting with studios, partners, and directors all over the world. This is one of the best company branded items as well when you choose to go for an outer layer by Patagonia, North Face, or Arc’teryx.
Looking for top quality corporate swag gifts for music lovers or gym junkies? Look no further than Bang & Olufsen wireless headphones. They’re not only noise cancelling, but also offer amazing sound quality and present a perfect option when getting in the zone. The beautiful and modern design of these will be a pleasant surprise for anyone on your executive team.
Best movie swag ideas for launching new releases
The ideas below are ideal custom gifts for spreading the word about your new release and generating some social media buzz at the same time.
It’s only fitting that such an adventure-filled movie set in the Amazon should have equally action-packed, jungle-themed swag. Generate excitement for your new release with smaller trinkets, like the pictured below keychain which is a replica of the pivotal key in the movie or the vibrant, red bandana with the title of the movie emblazoned on it. Alternatively, opt for hiking/camping-friendly memorabilia such as the wicker hat or liquid flask in khaki green.
No Time to Die
We’re all very excited about the release of the new James Bond feature in April 2021, and to drum up extra enthusiasm for the release, consider some color-coordinated swag, fitting with the vibe of 007 and his mission. Create and customize everything from the car-replica keychain to dry martini gourmet popcorn, to a sleek, black S’well bottle with the movie title on the exterior among other cool gifts.
Swag for influencers
Swag bags are a gift that most influencers welcome with open arms when they arrive in the mail - but what they don’t want included is just as important as what they do want. Most importantly (and especially since millennials and generation Y loathe waste): opt for tasteful, high quality swag that can be used repeatedly or that they can hang in their apartments (walls filled with posters, aka ‘feature walls’ are increasingly popular these days).
That being said, let’s talk about what you should include in your high end swag bags to promote a movie or TV series, for instance.
This is an ideal piece of swag to gift because you may not even need to sponsor a social media post for it to work itself into Instagram stories, non-sponsored YouTube videos, and highlight reels. Just make sure to opt for a shirt that is either 100% cotton and breathable, or a jersey-style fabric that is ideal for loungewear (which we’re all wearing a lot more of in 2020!). Champion’s Reverse Weave Boyfriend Crew, found here, would be an ideal unisex option.
We’ve noticed that when it comes to Instagram stories, PR unboxings, and other non-sponsored social media content, the items that get the most attention are always unexpected, creative, and novel. For instance, to promote Mandelorian, the festive chocolate calendars have taken a number of different shapes and forms with Star Wars imagery featuring heavily on the cover.
Pajamas or coordinated sweats
For any Christmas movie you’re promoting, pajamas are a sure hit to gift influencers. When anticipating the upcoming Cruella De Vil movie, for example, a dalmatians themed lounge set or jogging set would be especially welcome and sure to garner some social media buzz - check out these Marine Layer jogging pants and Chicago Reverse Weave hoodie for inspiration.
Custom swag for your company
So whether you’re narrowing down film industry promotional items for your upcoming movie, or you’re searching for swag bag companies for celebrities, rest assured that the gifts detailed in this guide cover something for everyone.
And remember, as you consider your options, always keep in mind the importance of curating and customizing your choices - fun, edgy quotes and inside jokes are always a pop culture favorite when it comes to creative promotions for entertainment companies, while high end swag is usually best accompanied with a company logo or a movie title. And if you find you’re overwhelmed with all your options, or you’d like help ensuring your chosen pieces are designed, quality assured, and packaged to perfection, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Gemnote.
We’ve helped the likes of Netflix, Google, Slack, Gusto, and Starbucks put together trendy promotional items that show employee appreciation, generate buzz among staff at all levels, and simultaneously spread the word about their brand and their vision. We’d love to help you do the same. Contact us here to learn more.