Smile and Nod: Swag

Smile and Nod: Swag

I couldn't help myself; it was a really nice hoodie. They offered it to me at the registration desk at this year's D.I.C.E. Summit in Vegas, and I almost refused, but it came with a bunch of other stuff and, although I wasn't sure I wanted any of it, I was curious to see what all was in the bag. So I took it. I asked for a medium; all they had was a large (if you can believe that), but I took it anyway. I didn't think I would wear it, it being too large and all, but I took it and immediately felt ashamed.

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Meh, I'm not in the least conflicted by swag... so long as I didn't pay for it. Indeed one thing I miss now that I've changed contracts at work is the steady, gentle influx of (checks calendar, checks S-Ox guidelines) Microsoft swag that came from the old contract and saved me a ton of money on casual wear. I suspect if I check my closet at home I'll see a ton of branded stuff from other companies who've enjoyed my services that keeps me warm and/or dry for free. (And I know there's a pretty handy cocktail set from one of 'em, too.)

Of course if I was reviewing their products (instead of working on contracts for them) that might get dicey, and from that standpoint I understand how swag could become a dilemma.

-- Steve

Toque... toque... to-que... hmmmm...

OH! You mean a toboggan!

Per Mr. Nym's comment about paying, I would think the definition of schwag precludes payment?

What a strange contradicting world we live in. You're not your job, you're not your car, you're not your khakis, or something like that. I always feel very strange when somebody compliments my clothing, or even comments on it. Even though I picked the clothing out based on how much I how much I liked it based on its functionality and aesthetics, receiving compliments about a particular shirt or whatever always makes me feel rather uncomfortable. It just doesnt seem like it's worth mentioning, let alone talking about. So then why do I favor a particular T-shirt when there all the same... any way... feel no shame for swag because at the end of the day it doesn't matter.
...unless it destroys the world, then you're a tool.

Geoffrey42:
Per Mr. Nym's comment about paying, I would think the definition of schwag precludes payment?

Yeah, I sorta conflated swag and logo-wear in that first sentence. (Though I will confess to buying one sorta-branded t-shirt... I couldn't resist wearing the Necronomicon for Dummies.)

-- Steve

Russ, loved it. I've been against wearing swag for god knows how long, so I find myself buying clothing that either a) has the smallest logo possible or b) has the company name in a strange pattern, so someone looking at you can't see that it's a logo without studying the shirt.

The sad part is, if I ever had my own brand, I'd put that logo on everything and pimp myself out. *sigh* Such is life.

Personally, I don't mind wearing "swag", as long it's not a company I dislike or a product I won't endorse.
It IS a bit more complicated for someone in a reviewing position, who's supposed to be all "objective" and stuff, as mentioned.

It's free stuff! The morality of swag ends there for me.

Writing an article saying how great something is, that's endorsement. Wearing a hoodie with a rock band logo implies to me that you like the hoodie, it in no way implies that you actually like rock band.

I've noticed that shirt, actually.

Russ Pitts:
... hoping that would confuse his senses long enough for me to make my escape without having to fess up I'd gotten the hoodie at a game convention; was, in fact, a game writer; and have to endure a horribly embarrassing conversation about What I Do, and How Awesome It Is.

I deliberately try to avoid telling anyone the details of what I do specifically to prevent conversations like this. One of three things inevitably happens:

  1. They suddenly need to convince you how terrible videogames are...
  2. They feel inspired to tell you that they don't know much about that, but (insert acquaintance here) does...
  3. Or you suddenly have the coolest job ever, because you play videogames all day, and they want to know all about it and how they can do that.

Russ Pitts:

hoping that would confuse his senses long enough for me to make my escape without having to fess up I'd gotten the hoodie at a game convention; was, in fact, a game writer; and have to endure a horribly embarrassing conversation about What I Do, and How Awesome It Is.

My heart goes out to that poor guy at the game store. What has he done to inspire such fear? Is admiration really that horrifying that people will lie and duck questions to avoid it?

You don't want to say you got the hoody at a convention, you could have just said "Yeah, Rock Band's a cool game" and steer the conversation that direction. You left out a benefit of logos: If I'm a fan of, say, the show HEROES, and I spot a random stranger wearing a HEREOS t-shirt, I think "oh, we have something in common, I could talk to that guy about Heroes!" If that guy responded with "Oh I haven't seen the show" then the question filling my mind will be "then why the hell are you wearing the shirt?" And all the friendly feeling towards someone with a mutual interest turns into dark suspiction and a little voice might even ask me if he's not wearing the shirt just to draw out and smack down us real fans.

Besides, you could admit you got the hoodie from a convention without admitting you're a Game Writer. Not everyone who attends those events is, you know. Some of them get in thanks to unscrupulous badge-fencers, though if it gets out that just wearing lots of game-swag is a quick way to Obviously Belong There, I really could have kept my money. Thanks for the tip.

But I guarantee, nothing is gonna make a guy more suspicious about your profession then to learn that you have a Rock Band hoodie but haven't played the game. You'd never have picked it out for yourself, it had to be given to you, and maybe it was swag...from a convention...what would he be doing at a convention...maybe he's a game designer...No, if he's going to deny playing a game he's probably got some journalistic integrity to hold on to...OMG was that RUSS PITTS??? He's famous on the internet! I must stalk him!

All I ask is, when you find that guy hiding in a bush outside your house with a pair of binoculars, clandestine photos, and detailed notes of your every move, remember that it was your own fear that brought him there. Any random person on a convention floor can score a free hoodie, but only a Big Important Reporter would then deliberately shut down any conversation about it.

Russ Pitts:

I should get over myself.

Well said. Excellent writer, VERY interesting, and one hell of an intelligent guy. But damned if he can't make the little guys feel like crap.

DreamerM:
My heart goes out to that poor guy at the game store. What has he done to inspire such fear? Is admiration really that horrifying that people will lie and duck questions to avoid it?

Man, I see where you're coming from, but this is definitely a case of having to be there to understand. Everybody thinks it'd be a thousand times awesome to walk into the game store and have the people in there fawn over you because you're their hero, and I know some folks who do enjoy that, but I don't. That's not why I do what I do. Even if I did feel I deserved it, I'd rather just not have to deal with it. Call me shy if it helps.

Russ Pitts:

Man, I see where you're coming from, but this is definitely a case of having to be there to understand.

Again, I don't have anything other then your own account to go on, but I don't see how the leap in logic from "Rock Band is awesome" to "OMG game writer, may I lick your shoe?" is so inevitable that it's worth lying and making someone who never wronged you feel incredibly awkward just to prevent the conversation from stretching longer then three or four sentences. Game store employees frequently talk games with their customers, whether those customers are Internet Famous or not.

The guy would have had to ask you were you got the hoodie, you would have had to answer truthfully, he would have had to then know enough about who gets to go to which convention to ask about your job, again you would have had to answer truthfully, THEN be either familiar with your name or with the Escapist and lack the self-control to totally squee-out in front of someone he's being paid to serve. You not only assigned him incredible powers of deduction, you also assigned him a lack of both self-control and professionalism that I don't think he did anything to deserve. All because he looked at your shirt and wanted it to be known that he liked Rock Band too!

I swear I am going to stop ranting like this, but that kid didn't do anything bad and you were wrong to treat him like that. If that's how you treat random strangers who just want to talk games while working in the game store, then God help your actual admirers.

a The Escapist mug

Nifty.

Anyway, my own blog has recently begun to sell its own merchandise. It appears that some of our more loyal readers actually bought the stuff. This is sort of different to the idea Russ puts forward in this feature: Instead of saving money through swag at conventions; we're actually managing to convince our customers to buy our merchandise. This is, admittedly, a harder task than what the article describes, for traditionally simply giving out stuff to passers is a very easy task yet actually convincing those people to purchase it? Its a whole different world, but gives the producers greater satisfaction. After all, its like an extreme form of brand fanaticism which leads these people to buy a t-shirt from their favourite website, heh. Swag, I feel, is just a cop-out way of companies which have more money than sense to give people free shizzle.

Although I probably missed the entire point of the article; I still found it very relative.

I don't own fancy clothes, or particularly good looking clothes by any standard, but i feel more comfortable (emotionally) wearing my fashionless logoless blank clothes than my fantastic Gamespot shirt with Homer Rabara's face on it, probably because i don't want someone who visits Gamespot regularly to pick me out.

It's easy to sit here by myself and say "I don't care what anybody thinks about me, i'll wear what i want to wear, i'll tell them i have a crappy job and that i hate it" when really, it's not that crappy and i'm only telling them i hate it to defend myself before they have time to judge me. And it's the same with clothes

...is this male vanity?

 

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