How to Appeal to Your Audience by Indulging Guilty Pleasures

A guilty pleasure is defined as something you like that you can’t justify liking. Guilty pleasures are those things you do that you love, but feel a little ashamed to tell people about. It’s changing into your favorite hoodie as soon as you get home or lying in bed all afternoon. It’s spending an entire day watching vampire movies and then looking back to wonder if you should have been doing something more productive.

My point is: even though we may feel guilt for enjoying that something, we still indulge ourselves in it from time to time.

As a business owner, guilty pleasures are your opportunity to get into the daily lives of your customers. If you give them an item that naturally appeals to them, they will not only love it, they will use it. Cha-ching! That’s how promotional products can work their magic for your company. Don’t forget about your employees, either. You can use your staff’s guilty pleasures when choosing incentives, which will solidify your relationship with them. There is a huge “guilty pleasure market” out there if you’re willing to be a bit more creative.

Is your audience crazy about technology? Do they always have to be connected? Techies will probably relish a computer travel set, a multi-USB kit, or a laser pointer pen.

Aztec Soup Mug

Aztec Soup Mug

Do you know a lot of foodies, coffee fanatics, or people with culinary talents? You can dive right into these potential customers’ hearts by giving them ceramic soup mugs, a Cutter and Buck stainless steel coffee mug, or a recipe calendar. These would immediately be appreciated, used, and loved.

If your audience indulges in regular pampering at salons or spas, then you may want to appeal to their delicate side. (Or maybe you give facials in a day spa, or work out of your house, making beautiful homemade soap). You could offer customers a Star Massager or a spa gift set to help them relax.

Festival Music Cooler

Festival Music Cooler

Or, maybe your clients are television or music nuts. Try giving away things that these potential customers would most likely pick up in a store anyway, like a fleece TV blanket or the Festival Music Cooler. These items will both promote your company and help them feed their pop culture and media interests.

Let’s face it—Americans love their guilty pleasures! Almost everyone has at least a couple, whether they will admit them or not. They’re part of what make us unique. They help to give each of us a personality, and without them, our lives just wouldn’t be as fun (or guilty!)

Who doesn’t love to indulge in things that make them feel good? Things like dining out at a Chinese buffet (count me in!), getting a pedicure, having your daily (or hourly) coffee, and buying pies from the local bakery are all activities that we love to indulge in now and then.

Appealing to guilty pleasures doesn’t necessarily have to be about giveaway items, either. You could provide gift cards or certificates to their favorite places or stores and achieve the same effect. Maybe your audience can’t resist playing The Sims for hours on end, rocking out to trashy music by Ke$ha, or re-watching movies like Titanic and Clueless. Or, maybe they enjoy TV marathons of Law and Order: SVU, competition shows like The Bachelor, and stand up comedy by Jerry Seinfeld. Just dig a bit deeper and you can find out what they like!

No matter how people enjoy spending their time, this is your chance to take the guilty pleasures we all have and make them work for your company! Help people love your business and give them something to remember you by.

What other guilty pleasure promotional ideas did you come up with while reading this? Would you be more inclined to give your business to a company that helped feed your guilty pleasure? And of course, what other guilty pleasures could businesses use to their advantage?


Bubba is the Quality Logo Products mascot. He may have started out as "just a stress ball," but he's come a long way since the company's launch in 2003. Bubba has been immortalized in numerous vector artwork designs for internal and external promotions, and you can see him change outfits on the Quality Logo Products homepage whenever a holiday rolls around. Oh, and he thinks pants are for the birds. You can connect with Bubba on


  1. amy

    I love curling up with a good movie, so your fleece TV blanket would be a major score for me to receive, Amanda! My other guilty pleasure would have to be purses. If I could, I’d buy every one that I saw. Your post about promotional bags was a great one, I’d love to receive any of those from a company! Great stuff!

    • Amanda

      Same here! I love getting comfy and watching movies! And I’m right there with you about the purses. Although I’m cheap, I do love pretty purses!!! If I had unlimited funds–I’d have thousands. 😉

  2. Mandy Kilinskis

    I love your product suggestions for the people that love spas and pampering. I enjoy those activities, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy a massager or pamper set. So any brand that would hand me one of those would get instant points!

    And good call with the point about digging deeper. Clearly, I’m one of those Sims lovers. So if a company read my blog/checked my facebook/somehow had creepy access to my Amazon purchases and suddenly gifted me Simpoints for the online Sims 3 store, I think I’d flip out with excitement. That would be an amazing way to say thank you or have me reconsider buying their products!!

    • Amanda

      Same here Mandy. If I was willing to spend the money—I’d get a pedicure, and massage every week! I love that kind of thing. So I too would love to get any kind of spa type of gift from a company! =)

      I thought you’d like the Sims reference–I could play for hours on end at times–in fact, I need to make room for that this weekend.

  3. Jill Tooley

    Great post, Amanda! I’m a sucker for anything with cute animals on it (yes, I assure you I’m a grown woman) so I think something like a mouse stress ball or a koala stress ball would be right up my alley.

    Oh, I also love to drink wine, so I’d probably indulge myself with a wine aerator, too! 🙂

    • Amanda

      Thanks Jill! Nice product picks. Wine is a very popular guilty pleasure!!

  4. Joseph Giorgi

    Great suggestions here, Amanda!

    I’d be very willing to give a company my business if they used promo products that catered to my love of 80s synth pop. 🙂 That’s for sure!

    • Amanda

      Good call Joe. Anything 80s related would be a great guilty pleasure pick for many people, I’m sure! =)

  5. JPorretto

    #1) Any show on the CW should be a guilty pleasure for any man who watches…

    #2) My guilty pleasure (unfortunately and unbelievably) is Katy Perry – both looking at and listening to. SHH!! Don’t tell anyone and ruin my hardcore rep!

    • Amanda

      LOL Katy Perry–really!? Her songs are very catchy! =) But thanks for opening up to us here on the blog, Jeff. I bet she and many other famous women (and men) are guilty pleasures!

  6. Jen

    Love this post Amanda! What a great idea. My guilty pleasure is shopping all day and not buying anything! When I go home empty handed, I feel like I wasted the whole day, but while I’m out and about looking at all the pretty things, I’m in heaven. I guess nice tote bags would appeal to me the most, then maybe I would fill them too, and not feel so guilty. 🙂

    I think my guilty pleasure is backwards…some people over buy and feel bad about it, I don’t buy anything and feel bad. LOL

    • Amanda

      Thanks Jen! =) I love shopping and not buying things too! I don’t think you should feel bad about it–you’re saving money! Yay! But I can see it going either way, I actually have the same guilty feelings at times. I feel bad if I don’t buy something in a mom/pop shop, or feel bad if I overspend too. We all have guilty pleasures–and I think it’s really healthy to do relax and just do something you enjoy for a while. =)

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