Why You Need Political Merchandise and Custom Campaign Swag

Why You Need Political Merchandise and Custom Campaign Swag

Campaign materials and promotional products are important for candidate recognition.


If you are running for an elected office, you need logo-imprinted campaign giveaways. They make an impression on voters.

Political merchandise has a long history in the U.S. Voters expect to see them.

The first promotional product in the country was a political button. It was sold for George Washington's inauguration.

Back then not much campaigning was done as compared to today. That changed with the 1840 election of William Henry Harrison. He was the first presidential candidate to campaign for the job.

Harrison ran with the slogan "Tippecanoe and Tyler too." (John Tyler was his vice presidential running mate. He became president when Harrison died a month after the inauguration).

Political slogans have been emblazoned on buttons and posters ever since. From "I Like Ike" to "All the Way with LBJ" -- campaigns use these mottos to brand candidates and their merchandise.

What politicians distribute has expanded vastly in recent election cycles. What used to be just campaign buttons and t-shirts can now be so much more.  

Now political promotions can include flyswatters, imprinted binders, bobble heads and even plastic straws. Anything that goes from a TV appearance to a viral meme in minutes makes for a great giveaway.

Candidates have also changed how these products are distributed. No longer is it inexpensive freebies passed out at Fourth of July parades or the county fair.

Promotional products are featured on campaign web sites. Branded political merchandise sales are processed as campaign donations.


When do politicians need promotional giveaways?

When running for office you need imprinted campaign giveaways to connect with voters. When you hold the office, they are a good idea to give out when you can. They build goodwill with constituents.


Why should a campaign have promotional goods to give voters?

Slogans create talking points. Logos evoke ideas a candidate hopes to represent. Both connect voters to the name when they step into the polling booth. Putting them on merchandise and giving them to supporters create impressions every day.

Supporters want to wear your t-shirts, hats and buttons. They want to use water bottles and phone grips imprinted with a politician's name or slogan. It shows their support for the candidate as a brand. They identify with the person and their values. It tells others they are a part of a movement or ideal.

Better yet, supporters may take a picture of your political swag and post it to their social media.


What promotional products should you get for your political campaign?

According to the Advertising Specialty Institute, the top political campaign giveaway ideas are:

Writing instruments:

Promotional pencils, pens and markers are number one. They are both affordable and portable. It is easy to carry a box of custom pens to an event and give them away. Pencils are great for community festivals and fairs. Parents also grab them for back-to-school supplies.


Families want customized bags. They use them for shopping, storage, errands or toting sporting equipment. Bags also offer a huge area for logos and messages.


Clothing -- from t-shirts to jackets -- are always popular and are often collector items once the race is over. When given or sold at a campaign rally, the visual of matching shirts makes a powerful image.


Desk gadgets and office supplies are big for pro-business candidates. Mouse pads offer a broad surface for logos. Those gadgets can include a branded fidget spinner.  Other fidget toys keep hands and minds occupied at work.


From MAGA hats to Bernie beanies, candidates like to "pass the hat" for campaign donations. Hats are also worn in cold weather. November and spring elections are notorious for snow storms. Headwear is seen better than a t-shirt under a heavy coat.


These can include many options. Perhaps choose an etched glass beer pint or reusable sports water bottle. Again, these are great when a news story quickly goes viral (remember Beers with Obama?) on social media.


Tech giveaways can include anything from a PopSocket to custom flash drives. Power banks for recharging phones or tablets are also a great idea. Especially at campaign rallies. They notoriously start late due to delayed flights or buses stuck in traffic.

Health and Wellness:

Even before the coronavirus pandemic candidates chose health and wellness giveaways. In our current times, PPE is a good option to show you care about voter health. Events for older residents are a great opportunity to brand first aid kits. Give out printed face masks and hand sanitizers at any public events.

These are among the most common political campaign giveaway ideas. There are thousands of other possibilities. Pick promotional products that will speak to your voters.  They will look for them.


When and where should you be handing out your campaign swag?

Campaigning for office, whether for a state legislature seat or congress, never stops. Your promotional giveaway buys should never stop either.

There are rules about separating the campaign office from the political office. What you buy for the campaign should stay at the campaign office. Some legislative bodies allow office holders to buy giveaways with public money. Others allow promotional products for office holders only if their name does not appear on the item.

Know which rules apply before you buy. Keep promo materials as separate as you do funding and personnel. If you (or your staff) are not sure about which rules apply, check with the body's ethics office.

That said, be prepared for any appearance with small items that are easy to hand out. Pens, lapel pins and even stickers are easy to pack in a business bag.

If you are setting up a booth for your campaign at a community event, think about who it is marketed to. Going for suburban moms? Water bottles and tote bags will be appreciated. Need the younger voters to sign on? PopSockets, ear buds and hoodies may be the right pick.

Have a selection of logo printed products for different groups. It is a good idea to have coloring books and crayons at your district office for children. Give parents an imprinted stress ball. It can help keep them focused while working out an issue with your staffers.

Running for office is not an easy task. It involves meeting voters, but you might only get face to face with a fraction of them. Leave a good impression and emphasize those voter impressions by giving out campaign merchandise.

Need some fresh ideas for your candidate? Logotech has political merchandise at wholesale prices. We offer thousands of options to pick from. Request a quote or create an account to search today. Your Account Manager will help get your slate elected.