A peek inside the ETC swag bag

Swag has become an industry slang term to refer to promotional items, typically given away by vendors at trade shows and events to encourage attendees to visit their booth and to thank guests for their support. Since it is company branded, it also serves as a form of creative promotion in the marketplace.

ETC swag mugThere is a bit of a debate over what swag could be an acronym for, including:

  • something worth actually getting
  • souvenirs, wearables, and gifts
  • stuff we acquired gratis
  • stuff we all get

In any case, in our industry, swag plays a pivotal role in not only promoting ETC but also cultivating excitement among our loyal customers. It may sound weird, but handing a customer an ETC T-shirt can have a similar reaction to handing them a bar of gold! That is the kind of brand loyalty and positive fanaticism our customers share with us.

The first ETC swag

Instigated by Fred Foster in 1979, the first-ever ETC swag item was a pen emblazoned with “We’d Rather Be Sailing.” While that is a story for another day (or another blog post), it’s a good example of our deep and vivid history of unique and fun items for our customers.

ETC "We'd Rather Be Sailing" pen

Speaking of Fred, he also occasionally hosts an event for newly-hired ETC employees entitled, Free Lunch with Fred.  Here he tells the story of ETC in his own words and relays the rich history of our company. He often tells the tale using ETC T-shirts from the past highlighting significant benchmarks or accomplishments which were celebrated with, (what else?) a branded T-shirt.

Free Lunch with Fred - ETC T-shirts

ETC Eos Ti USB drive ETC Source Four USB driveWhile clothing is king when it comes to swag, more unusual items are becoming increasingly popular. Topping the ETC list is custom product USB storage devices. One of our best selling items ever is the Source Four USB. In exciting news, we recently added a new Eos Ti USB flash drive to this family of cute collectibles.

Our customers and fans are great at giving us ideas for new items. In a Facebook post last year, we opened up the forum for ideas. Some were pretty good and actually became new merchandise (LED lantern, backpacks, and stainless steel tumblers.)  Some of the other ideas were a bit, shall we say, “out there,” such as a suggestion for an ETC chainsaw (my personal favorite).

In case you missed it, here’s the video we ran alongside the post – we had such fun making it!

Online Swag Store

In response to overwhelming demand, these days we offer cool ETC merchandise online. This is in addition to our typical offering of free swag at shows and special events. So, no matter where you are in the world, you’re only a few clicks away from getting exceptional items to celebrate the special culture and products created at ETC.

If you’re based in North America, you can visit our store here: shop.etcconnect.com.

For anywhere else in the world, visit shop.etcconnect.eu.


Rick Wolff - ETCRick Wolff
Has been an ETC employee for more than 20 years. In addition to welcoming visitors and providing factory tours, Hospitality Coordinator Rick is currently the face of ETC’s in-house swag store at the company’s headquarters in Middleton, WI. He plays a leading role in the design and creation of ETC swag and is a key player in ETC’s two online swag store platforms.

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