S&R Blog


Tchotchkes – the end of a pharma convention era

Tchotchke—originally from a Slavic word for toys. The term has a connotation of worthlessness or disposability, as well as tackiness. The word may also refer to swag, in the sense of the logo pens, key fobs , and other promotional freebies dispensed at trade shows, conventions, and similar large events.

It appears that the time has come for banning the promotional giveaways typically offered at booths. What do you think?

Are the docs ready to give up that maze and souvenirs for their family?

While a number of the attendees at medical conventions are there for the education, there are a fair number who still enjoy the tchotchkes. What about populating the exhibit hall with simulation centers, workshops, and demonstrations?  Sounds like a good idea to me; I have noticed that the lines are the longest in the booths with the simulators, rivaled only by the lines to the coffee bar and the ice cream station. So what are your thoughts? Do you think the simulation centers, workshops, and demonstrations will be the pit stops along the paths of the exhibition halls of the future?

We, as healthcare meeting organizers, need to help those who are faced with the new PhRMA and AdvaMed codes.

Exhibitors are attempting to focus on highlighting educational experiences at their booths to draw attendees. The American Epilepsy Society is exploring the possibility of helping exhibitors arrange for snacks from their booths. They are looking to help exhibitors access a popcorn machine, coffee bar, ice cream station, chair massage, or even a shoeshine stand. Do you feel that these incentives “walk the line” between meeting and violating new codes?

It’s apparent that medical associations and pharmaceutical corporations are well aware of the changes to the PhRMA and AdvaMed codes, but that’s not necessarily the case for meeting attendees.

Some of the associations have been asked how they are going to inform attendees about the changes so they understand why they’re not getting the same kinds of giveaways at exhibit booths. Randy Bauler, CEM, corporate relations and exhibits director of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, Aliso Viejo, California is quoted saying, that AACN is putting a statement in its exhibits directory as well as notices in the conference daily. “We’ll call attention to the new codes [and explain] what that means to them, the attendees, when they visit booths,” he says. “We believe we have an obligation as an association to help educate our attendees about these changes.”

What are your thoughts on this?  Do you have any ideas on how our industry can make this change, conforming to regulations while pleasing both meeting attendees and our clients?  I would love to hear your comments.

Debbie Hagan| Senior Event Planner

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2 Comments so far
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Gadget give aways can only go so far in providing value to physicians and it is an arms race to outdo your competitor on the next sexy toy.

Providing snacks will go the same route, in my opinion.

How about making the information the give away? Prepare hoat topics at the heart of physicians issues with the disease management, get the best KOLs to give Q&As about these at your stand etc.

Comment by Silja Chouquet

[…] do all of the promotional tchotchkes for physicians end up? “S/He who has the most/coolest stuff wins!”  That’s become the American credo.  But where does all our stuff come from?  And where […]

Pingback by Where do all of the promotional tchotchkes for physicians end up? « S&R Blog




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