New Survey: Companies Using Freebies to Attract Class of 2011 Grads

More than half of HR pros surveyed say branded giveaways are A+

TREVOSE, PAMay 27, 2011 – With hiring for the Class of 2011 up double digits over last year, companies are turning to branded freebies to court new grads, according to a new survey from the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI).

Results of the new survey found 56% of responding human resources professionals say promotional products imprinted with a company’s name or logo convey a positive image when distributed during job fairs and other recruiting efforts.

Of those surveyed, 55% using promotional products with hiring use pens and 41% use logoed items like T-shirts, calendars and high-tech accessories in conjunction with hiring, which is on the rise according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). For the first time since 2007, employers report a double-digit increase in their spring hiring projections, the NACE reports.

“As hiring increases, so does the need for creative use of promotional products to attract the best possible candidates,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI. “Whether companies hand out a cleverly branded T-shirt or a personalized iPod to potential recruits, the ‘We want you’ message is clearly conveyed.”

And don’t forget to “think geek,” said Andrews, and employ technology like QR Codes on event giveaways for tracking and analytics.

When it comes to attracting top grads, unusual and useful branded items like an iPhone cover are essential to drive wordofmouth conversation and branding exposure, said Jessica Miller-Merrell, CEO of Xceptional HR.

“Companies need to bring their A game to job fairs, conferences and other events where they recruit and engage candidates,” said Miller-Merrell. “Items need to be original, interesting, and applicable to the audience. Interactive swag is one of the most effective tools, as well as interesting and unusual pins and items that appeal to the audience.”

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute is the largest education, media and marketing organization serving the advertising specialty industry, with a membership of over 26,000 distributor firms (sellers) and supplier firms (manufacturers) of advertising specialties. Supplier firms use
ASI print and electronic resources to market products to over 23,000 ASI distributor firms.  Distributor firms use ASI print and electronic resources, which contain nearly every product in the industry from more than 3,200 reputable suppliers, to locate supplier firms and to market services to buyers. ASI provides catalogs, information directories, newsletters, magazines, websites and databases, and offers e-commerce, marketing and selling tools. Visit ASI at and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and the CEO’s blog.