Everybody sees promotional bags every day. They come in endless different forms, from big flashy upmarket shopping bags to elegant smaller designer bags. These bags have become marketing icons, portable sales pitches, and in some cases fashion statements. The branded bag is one of the most effective shopping marketing tools in history. These bags really are “business with handles”.
Promotional bags- A success story with a lot twists
The reasons for the success of the bags are quite a study. There are quite a lot of market psychology theories about this, but some facts are pretty obvious:
- The most popular promotional bags are also extremely useful. The big, durable promotional bags are also excellent shopping bags, and good backup when trying to organize the shopping.
- The bags are seen as an added value to purchases. The bags may be pretty, elegant, or big, durable things that almost look like luggage, but they have a real value, aesthetic as well as practical.
- Some bags are works of art. The good top quality promotional bags are visually very strong. They’re kept for the same reason people buy posters, painting and framed photos- They look great, and they’re lifestyle statements.
- The status effect. Many shopping and promotional bags simply state that the person shops upmarket. Like owning an expensive car, it’s a social thing.
- The “Green Bag Effect”. The famous green bags are often used as promotional bags, and the fact is that people use them exactly the same way they use carry bags. They’re cheap, they’re reliable, and most people have a collection of them.
- The bottle and wine Green bags. These bags have special pockets for carrying bottles of wine or spirits, and they’re also a bit larger than the average Green bag. They can be adapted for everything, even French bread, and they’re really very useful things to have.
If you’re starting to think that people pick up promotional bags purely for their own purposes, you’re quite right. That’s also the same reason they react positively or negatively to promotional packages. If you put solid gold promotional gifts in a brown paper bag, it wouldn’t look right. The bags make an instant association with the product. The packaging is excellent, so the product looks fantastic.
This is “brand association” in the most literal, practical sense imaginable. The status effect is a purely brand association. Shopping in an upmarket store is a status symbol. So are the store’s bags, so are its products. The Green bags are a version of this association. The Green bags are reliable, so you feel comfortable to put your shopping and your valuable purchases in them. Brand association in practical terms, just differently oriented. The promotional branding comes along for the ride, and is associated with the bag.
That’s one of the reasons that promotional programs value promotional packaging as much as the actual promotional package. This is the visual element of branding combined with the practical associations of branding. Not perhaps how Sigmund Freud would have described it, but he’d certainly understand the associations between brand and bag. Promotional bags really are business.