BlogHer swag – an ethical dilemma?

This is my last BlogHer-related post, I promise!

BlogHer10 free swag

The BlogHer conference last weekend included two large expo halls where companies had booths to promote their brands and new products – very common for large conferences. The companies in the expo halls were giving out lots of free samples and swag. And by lots, I mean more than you could carry home!

I toured the expo halls twice. I met some really nice people, got my photo taken with the Jimmy Dean Sun, and tried my best not to pick up too much free stuff. Despite my best intentions (I try hard not to be a greedy swag grabber), I came home with two large bags of product! I managed to collect everything from NyQuil to tuna fish – a very random assortment!

The company reps were all extremely sweet and informative (that’s their job, right?) and none of them required any of the conference attendees to commit to blogging about their product. The free stuff really was “no strings attached,” so why am I having an ethical dilemma? I probably shouldn’t be, but I feel guilty for taking the free swag! I tried to only accept things that I truly thought I could use, but I still feel guilty. Should I be feeling this way? Do the big companies know that we will feel guilty about the free product and feel compelled to reciprocate in some way? Am I a sucker?

more BlogHer10 free swag

There is no way I can blog about all of the companies I met, plus, I don’t want to. I have never done paid or otherwise compensated product reviews on this blog (although, I have received some free product that I have reviewed for Craft Critique) and I only write about brands that I really, truly like.

I do not plan to change my style just because I received some free product, but I do feel some pressure to acknowledge my gratitude for the companies’ generosity in some way… So, I would like to highlight some of my favorite things that I received at the BlogHer Expo. Is that an acceptable combination of integrity and reciprocation? I hope so!

My favorites of the BlogHer swag:

  • is an organization created by Christine Baze to help educate women on how they can prevent cervical cancer. I received an actual yellow umbrella from Christine and promised I would help spread the word about her cause. Check out the Yellow Umbrella’s sister organization, Say Something!, to learn about how you can help spread the word about cancer prevention.
  • The Bounty paper towel area in the P&G House at the Expo was co-hosting a collage art project table with the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. I actually use and like Bounty paper towels (they are thick & sturdy) and I was impressed to see them supporting and promoting a NYC nonprofit arts organization. The Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation was founded in 1995 by brothers Russell, Danny and Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons and is dedicated to providing disadvantaged urban youth with significant arts exposure, access and education as well as providing exhibition opportunities to early and mid-career artists and artists of color. Very cool!
  • The one piece of free product that I was most excited about was my new pair of Assets underwear. Yes, underwear! I know that is extremely weird, but Assets are the new, less-expensive line of Spanx undergarments and the company was handing them out to us at the conference. (Don’t worry, we got to choose the perfect size!) Ladies out there know how incredibly popular, but how terribly expensive Spanx are, so I am excited to see the company offering a more “value” version. Assets will be sold at Target.
  • PUR Water Filters handed out free aluminum water bottles and hosted water filling stations all over the conference. BlogHer was trying to go more “green” this year and not providing bottled water was one step they took. PUR sponsored the water stations as an alternative. I actually love my new aluminum bottle (it isn’t too large and it has a little carabiner hook on top that you can use to attach it to a bag…) and I filled it up many times throughout the weekend.
  • The new Jimmy Dean French Toast Griddlers that they were handing out at their booth were truly delicious – plus they use turkey sausage. I would honestly recommend them and will probably purchase them in the future. (And the actor who plays the sun is really sweet.)
  • You already know that I love S’mores! Or at least you should, because they are one of my favorite foods. So I couldn’t resist the Hersheys + Honey Maid + Jet Puffed suite at BlogHer. You could visit the room anytime and make delicious S’mores over their mini fires. I only had one, but it was fantastic! I also picked up a little S’mores backpack and plan to use it and show my devotion to the treat.

For those who went to BlogHer, what were your favorite swag items?

9 Replies to “BlogHer swag – an ethical dilemma?”

  1. That is a lot of stuff!!! I have bought a couple pairs of Assets from Target over the past 2 years and I love them. So much cheaper than Spanx, and in my opinion, just as good!

  2. Oh, I did not realize that the Assets were already sold at Target… they made it seem like they were just being released. I will have to pick up some more!

  3. P1 – ha! I hadn’t noticed that. Those are the “Assets” underwear… embarrassing!

    Bertha – Yes, definitely a good idea. I know that the BlogHer organization was donating food and other unwanted swag from the conference to local NYC organizations.

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