City Living: Swag Bags Do’s and Don’ts

Whether you’re a fashion week aficionado, a sophisticated girl-about-town or a fellow PR pro, we’re sure you have been handed a swag bag at some point in your social life. Swag bags, filled with branded goodies, have gone beyond being a “nice touch” and are now a standard expectation among attendees of many sponsored events. Not only are they an excellent marketing tool, if filled right, but a well-stocked bag can make an event memorable for your guests.

With LG Fashion Week quickly approaching, it’s likely that industry insiders all over the city are getting ready to start filling bags with treasures. We consider ourselves experts in the swag bag department so we’ve put together some gifting do’s and don’ts for when you’re ready to start stuffing pretty bags with prezzies.

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Do include press materials but keep it short and sweet. This is not the time to include lengthy press docs that no one will read. In this instance, less really is more. Save some trees by including a one-page release or info sheet that gets your point across.

Don’t include coupons. Unless you’re including a coupon for something that is completely free, skip it. If you want to offer a discount on products, try a gift card instead. A $10 gift card will be appreciated but a 10 per cent off coupon is a gift bag #fail.

You won’t find any coupons hiding in these sleek swag bags.

Do include food products but make sure they have a long shelf life. It just makes sense. Make sure that any food is packaged correctly and that there is little chance of spoilage.

Don’t use a flimsy bag. You do not want your guests’ bags to tear as they’re walking home or jumping in a cab. A decorative, reusable bag is a great option because it is another gift for your guests and can easily be branded by one of your sponsors.

These structured bags are sure to make a statement, and a comfortable home for all the goodies. 😉


Do start stuffing your swag bags early. As soon as you have an idea of how many guests you’ll be gifting, start putting the bags together. It seems like it will be an easy thing to manage but you’ll be busy with a lot of tasks on the day of your event. It takes a long time to put them together, trust us on this one.

Finally, pack it with items that are useful and not too heavy. If we’re wearing heels and have had a few cocktails, it’s difficult to lug around a 100 lb. bag. That free coffee maker is great to get, but consider sending it to us after. Most women will give a new gloss or a mascara a try (and we’re fairly faithful – if it’s good, we’ll buy it next round). Our favourite things? Perfume, snacks, shampoo, mascara and razors (we’re looking at you, LGFW).


Best gift bag you’ve ever received? Tweet us @rockitpromo.  

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We’re Not Just Pretty: Marissa Headley

I like long walks on the beach, candlelit dinners and dancing under the moonlight. Oops – wrong profile. Okay, here we go. Just a bit about me…

I am a Torontonian who loves living in Toronto but also thrives on seeing other parts of the world. I like to travel because it opens my eyes to new things, new ways of thinking and provides a source of inspiration.

In the past, I was interested in fashion design and art, but at the same time showed proficiency in science and math. I’ve fought a lifelong battle between left and right brain thinking.

Most people don’t know that I graduated from Ryerson University with a degree in Commerce and IT. After working in the IT field for three years, I realized that I needed to exercise my creative side and was fortunate enough to transition to marketing and PR.

This is one of the best decisions I have ever made. This industry allowed me to create harmony between my creative and analytical sides, which together can be a very powerful force in the workplace. I now work in the beauty category at Marc Anthony Hair Care as the Manager of Marketing and PR and it is an absolute delight.

Twitter: @MarcAnthonyHC

How long have you been in your current position? 
Six years.

How does your company leverage PR? 
Our biggest point of leverage is our reputation as the go-to salon for celebrity styling. Marc Anthony and his team of stylists are great hair experts for lifestyle stories, beauty features and makeovers. Our high-calibre styling talent, product line and Toronto salons give the media an easy one-stop shop for hair advice, celebrity stories, celebrity, trends and products.

What qualities are most important to you when hiring a PR team member?
In addition to outstanding social skills, I never underestimate the ability to be organized, to pay attention to detail (almost to the point of being obsessive) and a willingness to learn.

Who is your mentor or professional in the industry you admire?
My boss, the Senior Director of Global Marketing & PR. She is class all the way. She shows the people who work for her the utmost respect, which goes a long way when it’s crunch time.

What are your feelings about how PR has been positioned in the media in more recent years, on popular TV shows?
These shows have definitely created more awareness about the industry, and I’m sure a lot of young people are becoming more interested in the field. However, as with most TV shows, they are only able to touch on the “glamorous” part of the profession. I doubt we’d ever see Samantha Jones and her team packing up press kits, updating press databases, sourcing materials or negotiating with agencies.

What’s your biggest piece of advice for PR pros, both junior and senior?
Love what you do and do it with passion. The best ideas come from those who are emotionally invested in what they do.

What do you love most about your job?
I love that no day is every the same. I also love the fast pace – the days when you think you won’t get everything complete but somehow pull a rabbit out of a hat.

A little more from the fourth floor:
Website: style.com, rachelzoe.com
Designer: Michael Kors, Tory Birch.
Store: Winners.
Book: The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill. 
Snack: Tostitos and hummus.
Season: Spring.
Sexy: Big hair.
Inspiration: All of the women in my family.
Drink: Coffee or anything hot.
Motto in two words: Don’t worry.
Idea of perfect happiness: A million-dollar shopping spree on accessories!
Indulgence: Accessories and anything shiny.
Celebrity crush: Leo.
Favourite tweeter to follow: @miss_marilisa