Letter Openers & Other Promotional Gifts


My name is Pete Ekizian. I own and operate Executive Gift Shoppe. We opened in 1999 and we specialize in unique gifts for young professionals.

A recent New York Times article details the adventures of a man who was holding a garage sale for his grandparents after they moved to a retirement home. While combing through odds and ends collected over 60 years of life the man stumbled upon something truly remarkable, a letter opener. You may be thinking what’s remarkable about letter openers?

Well, this letter opener featured a clear acrylic handle that contained two pills in what appeared to be a mini uterus with the pills filling in ovaries, alongside the name of the maker of the pills, Hormonin. This was a promotional product given as a gift from a rep of the company to the man’s granddad, who had been a practicing doctor in Laredo, Texas. Not your usual promotional t-shirt to be sure, but it appears that the man’s granddad had kept it on his desk, which was probably just what the salesman had hoped for, keeping the product on his mind whenever he opened a letter.

Unusual promotional products may very well be the very oldest form of advertizing on the planet, and today businesses spend in the neighborhood of $20 billion annually giving stuff away that sports their logos. This alone is a pretty good indication that the practice is effective. It’s human nature to think if you’re given a gift, you need to give one back and most cultures tend to frown on people who take something and do not give back.

Humans are hard-wired to give back when given a gift and if you’re looking to give a promotional gift that will generate sales there are a few good rules of thumb to follow.

• Give items that will be used in the environment where decisions are made about using your product or service

• It should contain a message that sets your company apart from the norm

• Personalize them and make sure it is a product that will be used again and again, and not used and discarded

So if you’re wondering whether or not the uterus-enhanced letter openers prompted the man’s granddad to use their product, it’s hard to say. But the fact that it remained on his desk for decades without being shown the trash can is a good indication that it probably did. We’d love to hear about some unique promotional gifts you’ve been give or have received. Please post your thoughts in the comments section below.