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Six Terrible Corporate Gifts

Updated on March 18, 2013

Corporate branding disaster

Marketing is a double edge sword. In reality, all marketing campaigns function pretty much like the rest of the world. A majority of marketing campaigns have no effect whatsoever. All the advertising and corporate gifting is money well wasted. A small minority of marketing campaigns are the true winners. They lead to much higher sales and brand recognition, not because they had the largest budgets, but because the marketing was done in a clever and effective manner. The last category of campaigns is the focus of discussion here. They are also the minority. However, the branding campaign is a disaster. The money spent on corporate gifts and recognition products leads to negative returns! You may wonder how on earth? Well let's go over some of the terrible stuff that people actually give out as corporate gifts.

Company catalog

Isn't it a great idea? Send your clients the latest product catalog, with compliments. It'll have all your products plastered all over and you can make that marketing budget do double work! Well unfortunately no. You might as well scream MISER in front of your clients. Corporate gifting is an opportunity to associate the positive connotations of a gift with your brand, not hard sell.

Coupons for your product / services

Coupons seem to be a great idea. Give them a coupon for a discount for your products or services. Essentially, there is no loss to us. Well unless your product is worth it's weight in gold, I don't think a lot of people are going to be impressed.

Sparkling juice

Unless you are giving this to a kindergarten, alcoholic anonymous or a religious organization, I can't see how sparkling juice will be highly appreciated. If you must gift something that is presented in a bottle, pray let it be wine. White wine, red wine, cheap wine, bad wine, as long as it's wine. Sparkling juice as a corporate gift is wholly unacceptable.

Fruit Basket

Fruit baskets are more appropriate for hospital visits than as corporate gifts. One, fruit doesn't keep well. Especially when it's presented over the weekend, your clients would be entertaining a whole host of fruit flies and gnats on Monday.

Cheap plastic... thimatajig

I'm pretty sure you've gotten those at some point in time. They come in all sorts of garish colors like neon pink. Common culprits are memo pads in cases, complete with cheap non-functional pens and horrible logos printed all over as if it's supposed to impress anyone. Gift decoded: Whoever gave it to you is a cheapo. The color? Well, it's simply unwanted clearance stock items which cannot be sold.


Nobody appreciates being a walking advertisement for your company. Not when your customers already suffer their OWN company tie, blazer and shirt emblazoned with their organization logo. It works pretty ok as a welcome gift for new staff to wear at company events, but external clients do not appreciate corporate gifts such as ties and tees. They would promptly be headed to the thrift store.

Spend the money wisely

Select your corporate gifts carefully. The best corporate gifts have an element of surprise or delight. Either the way the gift has been packaged is special or there is something different, funny or cute about the gift itself. If in doubt, you can always look for a corporate gift consultant to advise on an appropriate gift!


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      sometimes the things i get are so ridiculous i wonder why did they even bother


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