Making out like a bandit at Sibos

We review the best and most creative freebies at the 2005 Copenhagen conference.

As Sibos 2005 crosses the half-way mark, delegates to SWIFT's annual jaunt will likely be in the midst of a suitcase reshuffle. Although the majority of visitors to Sibos 2005 in Copenhagen will return to their home countries exhausted, they certainly will not leave the Danish capital empty handed.

Outside of the onsite conferences and unparalleled networking opportunities, the exhibitors' freebies available at virtually every stand remain a major drawcard for plundering attendees. The pandered merchandise comes in all shapes and forms, ranging from the practical to the abstract, the socially conscious to the self medicating and virtually everything in between.

The message at Sibos 2005 is clear: pens and prospectuses aren't the way to lure the punters, with the average delegate now chasing handouts of an electronic nature and possibly something for the kids. With more stalls than the average mega-mall, financial and technological organizations need to ensure that delegates remember not just the imparted information but also the name of the organization. Whereas companies traditionally advertised themselves on cost and space effective items such as pens or key-rings, Sibos 2005 has once again illustrated that organizations are willing to do almost anything to be remembered.

From the major investment bank space, it is difficult to top the disposable camera offered by Credit Suisse. Not unlike the retailed version, the silver camera scored goals with many Sibos delegates and was in very short supply by the end of Day 2.

Probably the most common item from the banks was golf balls complete with company logos, which few delegates could realistically see themselves turning down. Equally as popular was Swedish group SEB's sleekly-packed Absolute Vodka, which at 50ml was most likely slugged en route to the hotel or a cocktail party from Sibos.

Outside of the banks, the exchanges and other financial institutions were also creative in their giveaways. The traditionally sober Swiss Exchange easily came away with one of the best gimmicks in the form of a reversible puppet that changes from a bull to a bear.

Federal Reserve Financial Services also took a less than serious approach, offering punters a zip-locked bag of shredded money to go with their customized Rubik's cube. UK-based infrastructure firm Voca also rolled out the big guns, dishing out a very popular alarm clock/radio that looks like something out of The Jetsons. The firm also scored high marks for its accompanying magnetic compass.

Carrying on from its previous support for non-projects at conferences past, American Express also boosted one of the most sought-out and socially conscious freebies. The hand-made coin purse from Calcutta has become one of the hottest Sibos freebies this year, with the booth-ladies stating that the 3,000 surplus was running very low.

Wachovia's executive stress desktop also exhibited a new take on the classic corporate giveaway. However, when it came to overall best freebie, Sunguard's CS288 stepometer was a step above the rest. With an accompanying competition awarding an iPod Mini to the most steps taken between the conference and 16 September, this freebie was a healthy stroke of genius.

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