Promotional Products People Secretly Dislike

  • Sep 19, 2022

There are a few things to remember while contemplating which promotional products people secretly dislike. Investing a large part of your marketing budget into something your audience doesn't appreciate won't help you generate interest for your brand. Therefore, you should only use promotional products that will impress your customers. The easiest way is to evaluate the characteristics of the greatest products. We hope to achieve through promotional items increased awareness of our business and a sincere appreciation for the items we give away. If the gifts are well received, the recipients will take better care of them, keep them for longer, and even flaunt them to others. Everybody wants to put their company's name and logo on a cool, unique item.

However, it is essential to focus on what the client requests. If you want to give promotional presents, you should consider what consumers desire. On the contrary, let's look at the characteristics that poor promotional items typically share. The items in question are usually generic, uninspired, and dull; they don't feature originality or creativity. To help you avoid the promotional products people secretly dislike, we'll explain which ones to avoid when trying to impress your clients.

Avoid stereotypes

Be very careful not to offend anyone with your products. Because the lowest common denominator often doesn't present a group of people in a positive light, stereotypes tend to be seen with disapproval. People may perceive a nail file and a mirror as condescending at a conference for women in computer programming. Even though the company selling the promotional item means well, that doesn't imply everyone will be satisfied. It may be funny if you or your organization are part of a specific group, but it won't resonate with everyone. Branding and promotional items aim to reach the broadest potential audience. You're heading in the wrong direction if you've managed to alienate some of your consumer base.

Paperweights are last-century and are products people secretly dislike

If you have been hiding out in a cave for the past several years, you might not have seen that the practice of maintaining a physical copy of everything on one's desk is slowly but surely becoming extinct. When did this occur, anyway? The development of cloud storage and the Internet is the main culprit. As a result, many modern organizations no longer see a need for paper documents. It follows that paperweights are not the best choice if you want to distribute highly effective promotional materials that will keep people's attention.

Thankfully, there are spins on old-school promo products that work wonders in the modern day! So you can try USB flash drives. USB flash drives enable offline data storage, designed to complement online storage solutions like the cloud by providing additional security or offline access to frequently used information while on the go.

A fancy USB flash drive in a box.

An eye-catching USB flash drive is a great idea for a promotional item!

Plastic bottles

Nobody likes to get plastic bottles and drinkware, especially disposable ones unless it's for a family with small children. Drinking from a plastic container not only taints the smell and flavor of the water (or other beverage of choice) but also wreaks havoc on the environment because plastic does not break down. For this reason, many choose stainless steel bottles instead of plastic ones. So, you may provide your clients with these instead of the usual plastic water bottles. These also work great as back-to-school promo products, as they are ideal for children.

A person carrying a stainless steel water bottle.

Instead of the products people secretly dislike, go for a stainless steel bottle!

Desk or wall clocks

Take a good, hard look around you. Nowadays, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who even has a wristwatch. The decline can be attributed to the consensus that products with a single purpose, like watches and clocks, are unnecessary. These days, we can check the time on our computers and smartphones. In today's view, the desk clock is little more than a relic of outdated technology that takes up valuable real estate. Instead, try wireless mobile chargers. These days, promotional goods that allow recipients to go cordless and charge their devices on the move are highly sought after.


Even if your brand logo is very adorable, consumers seldom replace their keychains or other key accessories. If so, they probably won't choose something with a blatant brand logo. You won't have a lot of luck convincing people to ditch their old keychains for the new ones with your logo. Thankfully, there are other, more functional things you can put on your keys. Think about useful extras like USB flash drives, bottle openers, and mini-torch/toolkit keychains. And they have another plus! Because they are portable and useful, they can act as moving ads! If you were given one of these and were moving your office to another state to try your luck elsewhere, imagine how many people would see your useful keychain. A traveling promotional product is always a hit!

Contradictions and mismatches of promotional products people secretly hate

Customers may become confused when a promotional item looks at odds with the company's mission. Visual identity is essential for any brand, and promotional items aim to increase brand awareness and customer traffic. Advertising a bakery on a branded gym bag or a driving school on a drinking glasses set is perhaps not the best choice. The irony may be lost on some who will interpret the meaning literally.


Since the early 2000s, CD technology has been progressively fading away. Few people today own anything that can play a compact disc; CD drives are no longer standard on laptops. Bluetooth and touch-screen technology have replaced automobile CD players, and only collectors still hold them. Thus, anything involving a CD is one of the worst promotional gifts you can present. You don't want to create an impression on your consumers and clients that your organization is hopelessly behind the times. Luckily, you can replace CDs with something like a wireless Bluetooth speaker. If you are interested in giving your customers software, consider a more elegant means than a CD. Hand out scannable QR codes instead of CDs.

A Bluetooth speaker.

Turn the volume up and increase brand awareness with a Bluetooth speaker!

Final words

With the right promotional materials, you can cut through the noise of a conference and make an indelible impression. However, you can't do any of this by filling your swag bag with mindless mass-produced products. This way, you'll just put out promotional products people secretly dislike. We hope our guide has helped you learn which products are desirable and which ones have gone by with the times.

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