promotional products for Atlanta Record Store Day

These special release 7-inches were just the beginning of promotional merchandise on Record Store Day.

Promotional products were out in full force last weekend for Record Store Day.


First stop for Record Store Day was Decatur CD on West Ponce. We got there at about 2:00 in the afternoon after dropping my roommate off for work. It was early and there were only about 20 people milling around, which gave us room to navigate the tight space and browse some special releases. I ended up buying a 7″ from a band I’d never heard of, simply out of impulse. It was on the front counter and the curly-haired employee recommended it. My friend bought a special release EP he already owned in CD format, just because that’s what Record Store Day does to you.

Ticket Alternative, who books shows at 529 and The Earl among others, quietly sponsored the event. Instead of a team of people in matching t-shirts and lanyards smiling too much and throwing flyers at you, there was simply a cooler of good microbrewed beer surrounded by promotional koozies and bottle opener keychains. That’s a promotion I can get on board with. Plus, beer donations went to a friend of the store’s with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

I popped the beer open with my new keychain, then squeezed it into the handy koozie and proceeded to enjoy Record Store Day with a smooth stout.

What they did right: Gave promotional products that were useful and relevant.


Next stop was Criminal Records in Little Five Points. In true L5P style, the store was raising support for, well, itself by giving away cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and asking for donations. PBR sponsored the event with branded wristbands, a tablecloth, and a standing cooler for the beer.

the Pabst Blue Ribbon table at Criminal Records

What they did right: PBR has embraced their acquisition by the hipster community and developed a solid presence at events like the Plaza Theatre’s showing of Blue Velvet. Since tidy gifts like t-shirts and koozies don’t match the grit of Pabst’s image, they did right by sticking to wristbands — the hallmark of any grimy festival-goer’s wardrobe.


Yak Pak donated tote bags to customers who bought records, and Adult Swim had a permanent corner display in the store where they sold branded merchandise.

What they did right: Yak Pak and Adult Swim reached their target audience with high-value promotional products. All it takes is one houndstooth tote bag or Squidbillies t-shirt to turn a luke-warm consumer into a raving fan.

In all the festivals and events going on last weekend, did you see any promotional products? Let us know in the comments.

-Acree Graham
Marketing Coordinator

Images from Criminal Records’ photostream.


Thanks for the comment, Kim. I completely agree. Leave transactions to the sales department.

Really wish I’d been there Acree! Next year for sure. And you ladies make a great point. You don’t always need to get something from a potential customer up front. Treat them to a freebie. Increase your brand awareness in a positive light. And get them to come back again and again.

Interesting, Dana. I guess the bigger the festival gets the less likely you are to find something for free. I liked that the promo products (and beer) at Decatur CD were free for the taking. Of course you were expected to make a donation, but I appreciated that no one was trying to get anything out of me. Something for marketers to keep in mind when they’re giving away merchandise.

I was at the Dogwood Festival last weekend and saw lots of promo products! The Georgia Lottery had a booth where, with the purchase of $7 worth of lottery tickets, you could spin a wheel to win prizes like GA Lottery t-shirts and messenger bags. Too bad I had blown most of my cash already on food and drinks!
Unfortunately, the days of just walking past a booth and being handed freebies at the Dogwood Festival are no more, as most of the smart marketers in attendance limited distribution of giveaways like keychains and koozies to passersby willing to sign up for their mailing lists. I guess the trade-off of keeping my e-mail box free of spam comes at the price of missing out on some cool swag!

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