February 16, 2024
My last blog covered the motivation for the Swag of the Expo award and my inspiration in creating it. Top contenders that did not quite qualify for the podium were nevertheless recognized. Now, with the preliminaries out of the way, we’ll name our medal winners: Bronze Medal: Mohawk Machinery - Jelly Belly candy Normally I’d classify swag candy as mundane but I have a serious Jelly Belly habit and Mohawk has a super backstory as to why they hand out such a premium sweet. It seems the company’s founder was a big fan of both Ronald Reagan and Mother Theresa; in an inspired piece of philanthropy he had a pallet of Jelly Bellies AIRFREIGHTED to Calcutta for distribution to her orphans. There is no word on her reaction but a cool backstory gets me every time. Silver Metal: Trojan Gear – Lighted Bouncing Ball Not everyone has two legged children at home so a ball that lights up upon impact with the ground can also be appreciated by the “fur babies” you share your home with. Not to mention some of your co-workers on those quiet afternoons when you want to be left alone to think. Gold Medal: Southern Gear – Wooden Gear widget For on-going entertainment and educational value at home and at work, it was impossible to beat this AMERICAN made toy with spinning wood gear and pinion on a shiny wooden base. Booth visitors could not resist rotating that gear and I know of no better way to start toddlers down the road to a life-long career in gears than to put this device in their hands. What a great way to celebrate a gear shop’s 60th anniversary than with a handout that can out live the recipient? For their triumph in this contest, the Southern Gear team was presented a box of our publisher’s signature swag: chocolate gears and pinions — imported from Italy. There is no word on whether any of the candy made it back to Southern Gear’s headquarters. Hey, booth duty has to have its rewards, too.