PPAI Offers An Alternative To Capital One’s #GoSWAGless Program

PPAI recently became aware of a program sponsored by Capital One, #GoSWAGless, that encourages businesses joining the bank to donate some or all of their marketing budget spent on merchandise—promotional products—to support charities and nonprofits. The Association has reached out to Capital One to offer a counterpoint that promotional products are invaluable tools for supporting the mission of charities and nonprofits.

In the Association’s letter to Capital One, PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, says, “We couldn’t agree more with Capital One’s efforts to serve and support its communities. However, we respectfully recommend Capital One and its associates #GoSWAGfull by designing thoughtful promotional products programs nonprofits can use to raise awareness and funds to serve their communities.”

Capitol One’s #GoSWAGless program began with the team behind its developer portal and has been used at several conferences, inviting attendees to vote on which charities the company should donate the budget it would have spent on promotional products for the event. Over the summer, it released guidelines and tools for other organizations to establish similar programs.

“Promotional products educate, recruit, highlight safety awareness, urge organ donations and encourage healthy living and lifestyle choices,” Bellantone says. “Promotional products recognize and reward employee achievements and inspire action. Promotional products are used to celebrate milestones, sign legislation and reinforce life-saving messages. They are one of the most effective, longest-lasting and best-loved communication tools in the world.”

In closing PPAI’s letter, Bellantone offers, “PPAI and the promotional products industry would be glad to work with Capital One to develop meaningful community engagement programs that leave a lasting impression.”

filed under October 2018
Comments (7)
Noleen Zasman
October 25, 2018
The ignorance surrounding the value and uses of Promotional Products continues to astound me. This "initiative" by Capital One is offensive and ignorant on so many levels. Thank you, Paul and PPAI for tackling this head on.
Jerry Lamontagne
October 23, 2018
Have they responded yet? What is the plan if they continue to promote this idea? Maybe we can promote using a debit card or Visa rather than Capital One and donate the fee savings to charity of your choice. We could work out an arrangement with Visa whereby they contribute a portion of their fees to charity for every order that is placed and paid for with Visa by not only our clients/customers but also by us, the distributors. We the promotional products industry need to pull a Trump move on Capital One. A "tit-for-tat"
Bruce Korn
October 23, 2018
Had not heard this. I think this was handled well by Paul and PPAI.
Eduardo DaSilveira
October 23, 2018
I think is very simple: to all distributors, suppliers, and members of our industry that are CapitalOne account holders like me, reach out to Customer Service, or they Account Managers and tell them how offended you are by this initiative. When I had my CapitalOne representative to signup for a new CC, she bought some promotional giveaways and last week I was at SGIA, and they had a full booth giving away some Power Banks - a bit of hypocrisy on the part. In the end, until they "feel" the pinch about the possibility of losing some business, they won't care very much, and if that initiative doesn't change, I will sure take my business somewhere else.
Gregg Emmer
October 23, 2018
This is just another example of the damage that is done to our industry by using derogatory terms - swag, giveaways, trash & trinkets, novelties, etc. which focus on the tools we use and not the work we do. While suppliers are in the promotional products business - it is the Specialty Advertising/Promotional Marketing industry that our customers and clients are transacting with. The problem started with the association’s name change emphasizing the “products” rather than the work - and continues to this day and this example. As long as the association continues to focus on products we will have businesses, governments and other organizations using us as and easy target when they want to look progressive and prudent with their money. Every negative article, comment or conversation is about “cheap handouts and giveaways” with descriptions of the item, not the message or accomplishment. PPAI’s “Get In Touch” initiative as well as this response to Capital is an uphill battle because they have established us to be a product/commodity business. It is time to rejoin the the advertising industry and stop selling “stuff” and start selling great advertising, marketing and branding.
Steve Schwartz
October 23, 2018
I just started a campaign #GoCreditCardLess. Give cash, the charities will make more money. Let's see how they like it! If they would sit down with a distributor to come up with a solution, there could be a win, win, to help them raise more money, and create awareness and goodwill. Don't hurt our industry with that tagline!
Lisa Bibb
October 23, 2018
I love sharing the links on FB, but can we PLEASE get the ad turned off?
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