14 August 2011

BlogHer in Swag

Right, I still haven't written the BlogHer post, but I did finally unpack the stuff that came home from San Diego.

Here's the thing: BlogHer depends on corporate sponsors. It's what keeps the conference price down, and when you think about what the conference price entitles you to, it's kind of staggering. $199 gets you two days of keynotes and sessions, two days of lunch and breakfast, three nights of parties (including 10 free drink tickets), access to the Expo hall, free wi-fi in all the public areas, and a conference tote full of swag.

The sponsors run the gamut from the huge (Pepsi) to the tiny (Dolphin Organics), and cover all manner of products (sex toys, office supplies, yogurt, pharmaceuticals, financial services). Because I'm feeling charitable, and not inclined to bite the hand that feeds me, I'm going to restrain myself from dissing the sponsors who got it all wrong, or who sell products that I find abhorrent - and believe me, there's some in both of those categories. Instead, here's a few that made some sort of favorable impression on me. There were others, but either I've eaten the evidence (hello, Dove) or plum forgot.

  • Dolphin Organics is a brand-new company making organic baby care products - which I'm not in the market for - but I was charmed by the fact that their booth was staffed by the husband/wife team who started the company. If you're looking for organic baby shampoo and conditioner, they've got a coupon code up right now: use code news0811 for 50% off a bottle of the aloe-based shampoo when you buy conditioner.
  • Bill My Parents is a credit card company, with a product geared towards teenagers. The schtick is that the parent can set it up so that the parent gets text messages every time the kid uses the card, and can lock and unlock the card at whim. My seven year old doesn't need a credit card (though she's asked!), but I'd consider something like this when she's older.
  • Eden Fantasys was handing out sex toys. Yeah, there's a joke there about vibrators and a conference for women ... but I was particularly happy to send my husband off to Sea World with a branded package of their all purpse wet wipes - knowing he was going to need to destickify the child at some point. I also liked my very non-PC disposal of the condoms, which I think I'll keep to myself, lest someone get furious with me. However, I was nonplussed when my seven year old found the purple vibrator in my suitcase, but that was my own damned fault.
  • 3M was there handing out all manner of Post-Its. The Flag+ pen/highlighter is going to live next to my bed; I'm always wanting to stick notes in books and scribble on the end papers.
  • At breakfast one day, after the conference but before we'd left San Diego, we were scarfing down some very excellent fresh pineapple. The waitress said yeah, one day the Dole ship comes in full of pineapple, the next day it's full of bananas. This explained the quality of the pineapple - it's never so good on the East coast. Coincidentally, Dole was at the conference, handing out oodles of coupons for free Dole product - processed fruit, not fresh. Kudos to them; coupons are a much saner way of providing samples to conference goers because who wants to get on a plane with a suitcase full of canned fruit?
  • Proctor & Gamble did a similarly friendly thing - they weren't handing out any samples at the conference, but if you signed up at their booth, they promised to mail a box of products to your home. I haven't seen any such box yet, but I appreciate the idea behind it - and hey, it meant less stuff for them to ship to the conference.
  • HTC sponsored the Voices of The Year Community Keynote, and smartly handed out tissues in the party favor bags - because you know that keynote is all about the weepy.
  • Hallmark was there with a novel offer - they had greeting cards on hand, and would mail them for you. So, a conference all about blogging and on-line and social media, and there they were promoting old-school snail mail cards. Yes, I sent two.

Hey FTC, no one paid me to write any of this stuff, though I did get some free coupons and products. My opinions are very much my own.


amanda said...

Shouldn't have missed it, but this was a pretty sweet recap.

S said...

I like Hallmark's idea!

I would have been all over that.

shrink on the couch said...

bill-my-parents, hmmm. must explore. though I might be more inclined to sign my teens up for bill-my-grandparents, ya know?

She Curmudgeon said...

I love the snail mail swag idea most of all. :)

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

The Hallmark t-shirts were quite a bit of fun, too. Not sure I'll be carrying groceries in my Eden's Fantasies bag!

Anna San said...

sounds great, when it's in nyc next summer i'm so there!

Janet said...

mmm, fresh pineapple! What say we all move to San Diego?!

Now I know where my friend Megan got the card she sent me ;-)

YourFireAnt said...

It's in NYC next summer ? hmmmm....

mayberry said...

I admit I was totally won over by the cheesy displays designed to ... win people over. Twizzler Statue of Liberty! Giant stiletto made of Pepsi cans! BlogHer logo carved out of Ivory soap!

Stimey said...

I understand your reasoning and appreciate your restraint, but I kinda want to hear about the people who got it wrong. I like those posts by you.

Sounds like there were some good products there this year.

Angela said...

Apparently great 7-year-olds think alike. I got the same question of my pink vibrator. "Don't touch my stuff" was the standard answer as she had her very own swag bag that I put together for her.

Missed the pineapple!