A prior post about the Association of Corporate Counsel annual meeting bore the title “No One Knows What It Is, But In-House Counsel Desperately Need It.” That article was about artificial intelligence solutions, but — as one person pointed out on Twitter — it could have just as easily been about the swag available in the exhibit hall.
How do scores of technologists, service vendors, and law firms attract the eyes of the thousands of potential clients strolling through the hall? With candy, fun giveaways, and branded swag of course. It truly is an art form, staying atop the trends to provide something new and different and, most importantly, memorable. There’s a lot of information at a conference like this, so making sure everyone leaves the hall with your company’s name top of mind is the whole goal. Like a few years ago when Catalyst gave out rolling papers — people still talk about that three years later.
There wasn’t any drug paraphernalia going around at ACC, but the show still brought its share of memorable items.
Louisiana-based attorneys Kean Miller made sure no one would forget their firm and its Louisiana expertise by handing out gift boxes of branded hot sauce, gumbo starter, and Mardi Gras beads.
Plus there’s a gator head you could win in case you wanted to make your office terrifying.
Meanwhile, Seyfarth Shaw pulled out all the nostalgia stops and delivered 8-bit gaming glory with Level Up! The game mechanics are reminiscent of Space Invaders for those Gen Xers who remember such items?
I did a pretty good job of killing the invaders — in the conceit of the game Poor Communication, Time Management, Risks and Errors, and Frustration — but I kept botching it whenever I’d try to grab the power-ups (Project Management, Process Improvement, Tech, Data Analytics, and Change Management).
Even if I didn’t set the high score, Seyfarth Shaw’s booth wowed me with their commitment to thinking outside the (NES) box.
Here are some saucy luggage tags brought to you by Meritas. Hands off or I’ll call my lawyer shouldn’t be limited to a luggage tag — that’s a mantra for life.
Bloomberg Law brought a whole vending machine to distribute shrink packaged T-shirts, which was appropriately over-the-top for an ACC booth.
On the subject of T-shirts, Simple Legal brought the best design to the house with its ACC/DC shirts.
Speaking of the Highway to Hell, the conference hotel — attached to the convention center — was simultaneously playing host to a Heritage Foundation conference and gummed up the whole area on Tuesday night when Trump rolled in to give the faithful some spiel about how there were good people on both sides of every Klan rally or whatever.
This is why we shouldn’t do conferences in downtown D.C. — there’s just no guarantee the cops and Secret Service aren’t going to create a traffic nightmare for the sport of it.
Gowling WLG brought the sort of coy wordplay you’d expect of an entity with British roots. “Together we make a great pair” — on socks. Get it?
Yes it’s corny, but even the most cold-hearted conference-goer had to crack a smile over that one. It’s tough work to come up with something this clever and the marketing professionals who help firms come up with this stuff deserve some credit.
The Pro Bono Institute’s Corporate Pro Bonoproject offered some treats for the four-legged lawyers out there with some branded dog treats.
It’s unclear what the pro bono world expects you to do if you’re a cat person, but maybe they figure that if you’re a cat person you’ve already declared to the world that you don’t care about anyone or anything.
Drinker Biddle brought Zoltar to the party in case anyone wanted to wish they were Big(law).
See, Zoltar was from the movie Big where a child wishes to be an adult and then spends the whole movie committing adult faux pas after adult faux pas that literally no 12-year-old is naive enough to really do. It’s actually incredibly frustrating for the audience because you can’t stop thinking, “how is this kid so stupid?” Anyway, then he becomes a kid again, completing the Joseph Campbell’s monomyth in a crisp 104 minutes. I kind of think he hooked up with Elizabeth Perkins at some point in the movie, which is super creepy when you think about it.
Anyway so there’s your “Big” and “Biglaw” reference. Look not every joke is going to be gold here.
Akerman went all in on the sports car theme, offering a toy Maserati for the toddler who just can’t wait to have a mid-life crisis.
Hey, Zoltar’s right over there buddy.
LexisNexis CounselLink had a mini-drone they flew around the exhibit hall. It’s kind of fun to see one of these things in action. Other vendors give away full-sized drones, but these pocket drones strike me as the real gem because you can harass your co-workers with them so easily.
At my old office, one lawyer hid a remote device in another guy’s office and had it intermittently make soft cat meows every 10 minutes or so late at night just to drive the other guy crazy. It was awesome. I’m terrified of what he could have done with a drone.
Did you know they made Bourbon-flavored Gummi Bears? Because Perkins Coie did. They had other flavors as well, but nothing topped the sweet taste of whisky Gummi.
Lex Mundi offered glowing glasses full of Magic Hat. If the goal of any booth is to get attention, handing out actual flashing lights is a pretty good way to do it.
And so closes the Above the Law 2017 tour of conference swag. Time to pack it in until 2018 when there will be all new trends to jump on.
At least by then the fidget spinner should be dead.