College swag. Before we dive into the reasons why college swag is the best investment of your advertising budget, we have a question for you: Do you still own any of your alma mater’s swag?
A sweatshirt, tee-shirt or lanyard, perhaps? A pen even or a notepad? A coffee mug? We’re willing to bet that you likely do, and the reason why is simple: it has emotional value to it. The things we keep from experiences in our life hold the memories of those times, making them hard to part with and enjoyable to revisit or reuse every so often.
One of our team members here at Velocity remembers the last day of their senior year in high school. On that day, every senior who would be attending college after graduation wore a tee-shirt, sweatshirt or some sort of clothing branded with the school they were attending that fall. They wore these campus names and slogans proudly, took pictures of themselves with friends and posted them online. All because of the pride and excitement of attending their selected universities. It was a tradition, but it was also free walking and digital advertising for these universities.
The students aren’t just the ones that wanted to show their pride. Parents arguably are even more enthusiastic about adorning branded swag, either in the form of clothes or stickers and license plate frames for their cars. Their child got in! They want to celebrate, and because of that, the school benefits from free ads on vehicles.
What we are exploring here is not the budgetary and strategic benefits of college swag, but the emotive drive consumers have for buying and repping college swag. There certainly are other benefits to advertising using college swag, which we explore in this earlier blog post. Still, this one reason seems to get often overlooked in the business world.
Consumers purchase college swag because they feel a connection to it. That feeling never goes away either. This is why Dana still has the tee-shirt she wore on the last day of college. It’s why you might still drink out of your alma mater’s mug.
The element that universities capitalize on is the permanence of and universal desire for college swag. A student, parent, or grandparent doesn’t need convincing to purchase. They are driven by their own desires to join in the celebration and pride.