Branding Beat - Cut Through the Noise

It’s Campaign Season: Do You Have Your Promotional Products Ready?

Not that I need to remind you, but we’re fully entrenched in campaign season. And I’m not just talking about our presidential election in 2012 or the campaign happening on Parks and Recreation. Across the country, our fellow Americans are running for state and national congress, school boards, mayors, and city councils.

And what goes hand in hand with campaign season? Giveaways. I don’t know about you, but I know that I can’t leave a Labor Day parade or county fair without a bag full of promotional products from candidates and political parties.

There’s a reason for that: promotional products help voters remember your name. I have received and used so many imprinted sponges from Judy Biggert that I will remember her name for the rest of my life, let alone election season.

So get all those candidates and future elected officials thinking about their own promotional materials, I’ve put together these suggestions.

Political pen

Personalized pens will be used every day!

Campaign Staples. There are some promotional items that you always need to have at the ready. For your supporters and children, you should always have a roll of custom stickers at your disposal. Pass these out at public events: every sticker that lands on a shirt or bag equals more advertising for you.

People also love free pens. Handing out pens from your booth or while canvasing the streets is a great way to get your name seen multiple times per day. Also consider handing out a magnet with your name, slogan, and contact information. If you’re running a larger campaign, handing out buttons your campaign workers and supporters is a must.

poltical giveaway

US Flag stress balls make great campaign giveaways!

Fun & Patriotic. It’s never a bad choice to tie patriotism into your giveaways. For events taking place during the summer, we carry both elephant and donkey hand fans. I can attest firsthand and how wonderful they are at county fairs and summer parades. They might not become a permanent fixture in voters’ homes, but after using it all day, they will definitely remember you.

On the other hand, there are lots of fun handouts that also have a high rate of retention. You can show your party allegiance with a donkey or elephant stress ball, or a more general patriotism with a US flag. If you want to be a little more distinctive, try a key chain or beach ball.

Cause-related. Another option is to pick promotional items based on your campaign platform. If you believe in financial responsibility, you could hand out imprinted piggy banks. If you’re more concerned with health care, a first aid kit will help drive home the point. If dwindling education standards and budgets bothers you, emphasize your position with a ruler made in the USA. Unique is a great way to really stand out.

Promotional products continue to provide personal brand impressions every day. When people start becoming poster and advertising-blind mid-campaign season, they’ll still be using a pen with your name on it.

Do you have any other suggestions for great campaign promotional products? What kinds have you used or received?


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. Rachel

    Lots of great ideas here, Mandy! I especially like your suggestions for cause-related promo items, since those would stand out more in a sea of “traditional” campaign swag. Plus, the piggy bank is adorable! 🙂

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      That piggy bank is so adorable! I’m fairly certain that if I received one, I would definitely use it for my change. And it would be a great item for voters to also pass on to their children to encourage savings. 🙂

  2. Jen

    I really like your beach ball suggestion Mandy. If I was at a campaign and there were beach balls being tossed around, I would love it and think that candidate is so totally awesome. Beach balls rule!!!

    Great suggestions here Mandy!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      I love when candidates show that they’re real people that want to have fun. And what says more fun than beach balls? Toss ’em around during a rally and then let your voters take them home. That sounds fun to me!

  3. Cybernetic SAM

    I am a sucker for political s.w.a.g. I still have stuff from 2008!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Oh, me too! I have so many buttons and bumper stickers and other assorted stuff from the 2008 election at home. And I couldn’t even tell you how long we’ve been collecting sponges from Judy Biggert…

  4. Amy Swanson

    I agree with you that while fans may not have much long term usage, for that day they’re a godsend. It never seems to fail, but any county or state fair I’ve gone to has always been on the hottest day of the summer. Yuck!

    Your other suggestions like the piggy banks and rulers are great! A total, “why didn’t I think of that?!” 😉

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      It’s so true. I’ve walked away from fairs knowing political candidates that I hadn’t even heard of before that morning! If you ask me, that’s some pretty powerful promo items!

      Well, Amy, if you ever decide to run for public office, you can refer to this blog post and hand out piggy banks! 😀

  5. Jill Tooley

    Great picks, Mandy! Goodness knows that political campaigns are in full swing. I can think of a few candidates who could benefit from some solid marketing…promotional products or not. But that’s a completely different rant! 😉

    I’m so happy we added new buttons to our site and that you chose to feature them! I’m a sucker for buttons…I had a purse covered in band logos a few years ago (and I loved it). Those are definitely promo items I’d take OR pay a reasonable amount for!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      I’ve always been a sucker for buttons, too! And we have such an excellent selection now that candidates can find exactly the right button for their campaigns!

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