Back before the economy took its decade long dumpster dive, NAMM was not only the place to to play with the coolest stuff on earth, it was a candy store of cool swag. In those days, NAMM attendees and exhibitors would gather at the end of the day and compare their grab like kids just returning from trick-or-treat. Over the years, even we had quite the reputation for showing up with a cargo of shirts, hats and assorted logo emblazoned toys and trinkets to share on the show floor. Before airlines started charging baggage fees, few companies came to NAMM without some cute and clever item to reinforce their brands. But times have changed. This year, instead of gifting attendees with something that would suck up valuable space in the carry-on, we partnered with one of the very popular gourmet trucks treated early arrivers to coffee and some of the most delicious baked goods available on the planet.

And we weren’t the only ones to make the switch to something that could be consumed on-site. If there were a best swag of the year award, it would have to go to the collective creative minds at PreSonus.

If you’ve never attended NAMM, then let me set this up: Given that NAMM attracts a global audience of individuals who must endure extreme temperature changes and microbe ridden aircraft cabins, many attendees return from the four-day event to suffer through days or even weeks of various illnesses, collectively known as “NAMMThrax.”

While hand-sanitizer has helped decrease the possibilities of contracting this grunge, there really had been nothing you could do once it hit but to grin and bear it. Enter PreSonus, who cleverly covered the “grin” part of the equation with a free booth offering labeled as “Anaheimlich® 250 mg —NAMMTHRAX VACCINE”. While the label clearly states it’s not a real drug—only breath mints, it certainly provoked constant double and triple takes. It was so popular that if you didn’t get your prescription on day one, you probably missed out.

Ohhhh … Shiny! 


Another annual favorite of the show is the Shure Shirt. Every year, it’s a different design which makes it a show essential for collectors (such as myself). Some years the design has been very plain and simple, while other years it’s been quite stunning and this was one of those years, featuring an attractive piece of artwork printed in metallic silver ink on a black shirt. The art of swag lives on!