After several years of attending different ag events it's safe to say that I have roughly 1.34 million different pens. I've picked up orange pens, yellow pens, orange-yellow pens and pens that used to be orange but are now yellow. They are click pens, twist top pens, capped pens and erasable pens. I have pens with pink ink, green ink, invisible ink and no ink.



If I may make a suggestion to tradeshow exhibitors, stop giving out pens. And for that matter no more magnets or coozies, either. Sure, these items are economical and sometimes practical, but these trinkets don't resonate or stick in anybody's mind, and they soon meet their final resting place in the city dump. Like candy on Halloween, these items are easy to unconsciously pick up, but unlike candy, these trinkets don't taste good and are thus easily discarded into the nearest trash receptacle on the way out of the show.



There must be some outside-the-box marketing that works better than trinkets. Why not present something that people will remember until the very end or at least until debating their next equipment purchase? For example, why not kittens? They're soft and cute and snugly. Think about it. Every time puss n boots meows it will remind the lucky owner of that special day the kitten was delivered in front of the applicator demonstration display. And when the cat gets too big and ugly, a new kitten can be acquired at next year's show courtesy of a sprayer company. Now, these might be less economical than the plastic pen, but consider it an investment to really get your brand name out there.



Or, what about a tattoo? They're permanent. What fine gentleman would not want a John Deere or AGCO logo on their left shoulder? Talk about branding, that's sure to stick. It's the kind of ink that won't run dry. And it's a little harder to lose in the seats of an automobile.
One more idea I'm fond of involves Pavlov's principle. It could work exceptionally. Every time someone passes a particular booth at a show a bell rings and they are immediately presented a crisp George Washington. When the show attendee returns to civilian life these attendees could be met with these same bells when they are shopping for new equipment. The ensuing washing of euphoric splendor will surely make the individual a little more likely to purchase some new equipment.



The above ideas were intended as tongue-in-cheek, but the case for increased creativity for the trinkets is justified and could lead to positive returns. Now, if could I could just find a pen to write my grocery list.