Hot or Not? The Conference Freebies Edition

Last week, a video posted on TikTok about freebies given away at a conference went viral on the internet. This time there were no dances involved, but an honest review by a Gen Z woman of the merch she received at a “boomer” conference. The video sparked a huge discussion about what companies are giving away for free in gift bags and whether the products are worth keeping or better off in the recycling bin.

Naturally, this piqued our curiosity about custom-branded merch gifted at conferences and events. Are they hot or not? Let’s find out.


1. Spork


Even the Disney film Toy Story 4 has a plotline that includes a spork and the “weirdness” surrounding it. This spork has one end as a spoon and the other end as a fork, and it is really throwing us off. Imagine eating your lunch with the fork and flipping it upside down to gulp down the dessert. Just no, a big no.

Hot πŸ”₯ or Not πŸ’€? Absolutely Not.


2. Portable handheld battery-operated fan

Screenshot 2024-06-19 at 10.01.48 AM

For context, the packaging of the fan has a California Prop65 warning label, letting the user know that the product contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer. This is state law and cannot be judged by Hot or Not (but if you ask me, the labels are really scary if you are seeing them for the first time!). But the handheld fan itself can be judged. Yes, it is a useful piece of merch, especially if you live in regions where the heat is extreme, like in California or here at home in Australia.

I personally wouldn’t like to be seen in public using one, but when that heat wave comes, I will be happy to have one of those babies at hand.

Hot πŸ”₯ or Not πŸ’€? Usefully Hot.Β 


3. Pill Case

Screenshot 2024-06-19 at 10.01.27 AM

A pill box with a container for every day of the week can be a useful product. Forgetting to take daily medication is easy, and I am one to admit it. I have a green version of this medicine box, and it works well when I remember to refill it with pills. I also forgot what the pills are for.

Hot πŸ”₯ or Not πŸ’€? Hot? Ok, not.


4. Cotton tote bag

Screenshot 2024-06-19 at 10.03.04 AM

Tote bags are always useful to have on hand for grocery shopping, but don’t each of us already have, like, 10 thousand tote bags at home? In another Reddit thread about the best conference merch people have received at a medical conference, tote bags are dividing opinions. Tote bags are one of the most useful gifts out there, but if they are thin and not aesthetically pleasing, would you want to add them to your “tote bag collection”?

Hot πŸ”₯ or Not πŸ’€ ? Not.

5. Motivation Self-Help Book

Screenshot 2024-06-19 at 10.02.05 AM

It’s surprising to see a book being given away in a gift bag at an in-person conference, so this really caught my attention. Although I am a fan of gifting books, titles about self-help and motivation aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. Personally, I would dislike with a passion to receive something like this in my freebie bag. Not to mention the weight of the book and how it would be annoying to carry it in my carry-on bag back home after the event.

Hot πŸ”₯ or Not πŸ’€? Not.


6. Small Bottle of Seltzer Water

Screenshot 2024-06-19 at 10.02.34 AM

By far the best gift this TikToker received in the goodie bag, but too bad it wasn’t chilled. The extra plastic wrapping is unnecessary, but the custom label shows that an effort was made by the organizers to make this conference branded merch kit a positive experience.

Hot πŸ”₯ or Not πŸ’€? Hot, but wishing it was ice cold.



Selecting from thousands of products out there which ones best fit your needs, audience, and budget can be a complicated task. When planning what to gift event attendees, it is important to consider their motivations (quality versus quantity), how they are attending the event (are most attendees flying over?), and your overall corporate Environmental Social Governance (ESG) goals. Here at Inck, we have a team of product specialists who can recommend the best custom-branded conference merch that will go viral for all the right reasons. Reach out to our team with your enquiry today to get started.

Previous Post
Add oomph to your organisation with a company store
Next Post
Child friendly: The smart business guide to promotional products for kids

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.