How Custom Alarm Won the 2022 SAMMY Award for Best Promotional Giveaway

Local businesses received a Custom Alarm branded tote bag filled with gift cards from local restaurants and products from the company’s customers.

Finding the “right” promotional item to give is an art. It has to be creative, local, have permanence and be cost-effective. Custom Alarm seems to have found the right formula with its holiday tote bag in 2021.

The large tote bags, emblazoned with the Custom Alarm logo, were filled with a variety of items from 14 of the company’s local customers themselves … everything from bread, cookies, salsa, chips, meat and cheese, jerky, BBQ sauce, pizza sauce, caramel apple dippers and four different beers from local breweries.

In addition, 12 local restaurant gift cards were included in each bag, meaning 26 different local businesses were involved in the promotion. In all, 70 bags were then distributed to employees of the various local businesses.

“Every single item we put in that bag was from a local customer,” says Anna Bradt, marketing and communications manager for Rochester, Minn.-based Custom Alarm. “We also included a gift card to a locally owned restaurant that went inside the Custom Alarm holiday card we personally wrote a note in. We also included a note card in the bag that explained the importance of shopping local and listed all the businesses we supported by providing the bag of goodies they received.”

The Custom Alarm holiday card had a handwritten message that read: “During this holiday season, we wanted to thank you for your continued trust in Custom Alarm. As a local, family-owned business, we understand the importance of supporting local businesses and have selected items from some of our local customers for you to enjoy! Happy Holidays!”

In terms of cost effectiveness, the sturdy tote bags with the Custom Alarm logo cost the company $18 each. The tally for all the items inside the tote bag came to $112, for a total of $130 for each bag.

“When it came to this promotional item, we weren’t concerned with the price as we understood the importance and value of what we were doing was much more valuable than the expense of what we were giving,” says Bradt. “Showing our company values in supporting local and showing our appreciation in those that do the same was what mattered. We have received many praises and ‘thank you’s’ for our gifts. They greatly appreciated the effort we made in providing a useful and local gift.”

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About the Author


Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald Expositions Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at

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