I have been to many trade shows over the years, from the glitzy (CES) to the dorky (WinHEC) to the niche (Webmaster World). I have managed booth-duty, staffed press briefings, and tracked down press and analysts on-the-fly. And at each of these shows, I typically avoided the lame-ass schwag bags handed out to attendees.
But then, I attended my fourth BlogHer, which I now refer to the Shangri-La of Schwag. Quite honestly, no other show compares when it comes to sponsors handing out goodies, offering samples and trials, and tugging at heartstrings. Here are my highlights from last week’s BlogHer 08 in San Francisco: Best of Show: The award goes to everything in the Sesame Street Suite. I made a video with the super-cute and super-pink character Abby Cadabby for my three-year old daughter. I was on the “set” of Sesame Street with Abby sending a special greeting to my daughter. Honestly, all the moms in the room were wiping away tears, and I came home a hero with a personalized DVD! Yes, my personal “Best of Show.”
Best stunt: Oh, this one is the easiest. The folks at Bertolli pasta brought in the big (and really handsome) guns and hosted a private cooking demonstration with Chef Rocco Dispirito. We missed the boat and did not make the private lunch, but we were able to sneak a peek of Rocco. Yes, he is as handsome in person as he is on Top Chef.
Best “Green” giveaway: Another easy one: Primo bottled water. When I tasted the water, it actually reminded me of natural well-water from the Midwest. The coolest part is that each bottle is made from corn instead of crude oil. Makes this Iowa girl very happy! Second prize goes to the folks at Greenopolis who gave everyone florescent bulb recycling kits.
Coolest product demo: Wow, this one is tough. I have to give the prize to Bare Minerals, since they were doing on-site make-overs for deserving women. I didn’t secure an appointment before they booked up, but it was a cool station.
Best T-shirt: It’s been two days since the show ended and I have already worn my “Embrace Your Grace” T-shirt from the ladies of TNT. (Here’s a shameless plug for Holly Hunter in Saving Grace from this entertainment blogger!) The close second in the T-shirt category goes to Picnik.
Drawings I actually entered: I am NOT a person to drop a business card for a one-in-a-million chance to win something at-random. Not at BlogHer. I dropped my mini-Moo cards into many fishbowls in hopes of winning something from Leapfrog, McCain Foods, Merci Chocolates, and VTech.
Funkiest giveaway: I will give this prize to the mood rings at the PBS booth. They were promoting their upcoming Super Sister program. Based on the mood ring, I am the Calm Sister (which we all know is a joke.)
Best overall package: The ladies of the Silicon Valley Moms Group put together an amazing BlogHer for the 100-plus contributors who attended the show from all over the country. We had not one but TWO schwag bags, a private cocktail party at Slide, a “lipstick and wine” party at Saks (complete with a make-over and headshot), and a brunch at the Grand Café.
All in all, there were 1000-plus women (and men!) bloggers who left BlogHer happy … and in need of extra suitcases for all the fantastic schwag.