photo booth

Top 10 Most Engaging Booth Magnets

We’ve seen a lot of different ways to attract people’s attention at the many events we’ve attended over the years. Some are gimmicky, some are delightful, but the general idea is that a bribe (yeah we said it) is offered in order to coax one to the booth and hear a spiel about the goods and services offered by the booth holder. And oh yes, ‘Booth Magnets’ just means ‘Swag that brings people to your stall’, only in certain circumstances are they actual magnets.

The List

Here’s a list of the 10 most engaging we’ve seen so far. ‘Engaging’ is simple to measure- how long is the line to get to the booth? At the end of the day, has all the swag evaporated? It’s trickier to assess whether engagement will continue; but hey- one step at a time, you know?

Combination Locks

A valuable prize (for example a drone) is kept inside a transparent box, and this box is secured with a combination lock. Punters are offered a tray of printed combinations, and are encouraged to pick one. This number is typed into the lock and.. well, you know the rest. Why it’s done this way is open to debate- one would like to think that it’s to guarantee that a winning combination will be picked. A cynical view might be just the opposite, but we prefer to think the best of vendors.

Wheels of Fortune

A spinning wheel is set up with a variety of prizes represented in each of its sectors. As one might expect, most of these are not anything to write home about, but there is a sprinkling of more sought-after prizes in there too. In some instances, entrants will be asked to complete a survey of some kind in order to participate. In instances where they are not asked to, the line (‘queue’ if you will) tends to be double the length.

Personalised Wearables

This could be as simple as a choice of T-shirts, or as involved as a piece of generative art. Once, at a conference for cyber risk, we saw a booth that offered a fake ID card with the punter’s photo on it, presumably to show just how easy it is to impersonate somebody.

T-shirts and socks

Ahhh the old stalwart.. branded T-shirts and socks. Everybody needs them, and even if that’s not the case, there’s always a gift-giving occasion around the corner.


Really, these are a kind of ‘meta swag’- after all, the swag that can allow one to carry more swag is a useful swag indeed! Unsurprisingly these are heavily branded, but we are pleased to say that we have never seen them made from plastic. Generally a high quality canvas is used.


Branded enamel pins have a certain aesthetic that reminds us of the 1980s. And as they are metal, they give us an impression of value. It’s interesting to note what is asked of the wearer however- that they make the commitment to puncture their clothing!


People are understandably particular about their tables, at least the non-waterproof variety (tables, not people.). We will say that this category could used some improvement in terms of quality. We’ve seen coasters that are little more than moisture delayers- that is, they absorb the condensation from a drink, only to relay it in the near future to the table. In any event, these items are an example of the ‘oh why not, can never have enough of these’ category.


Speaking of the ‘can never have enough of these’ category, pens are always welcomed, even though we could argue that we live in a paperless society. It should be evident that we are well on our way to the bottom of the list at this point. This seems unfair, given how the invention of writing revolutionised our world. Still, that was then, and this is now.

Camera Slider Covers

Why use painter’s tape when you can stick on a slidable camera cover? Er- to allow your laptop’s lid to close all the way? Never mind that.. these are still a useful item; although we wonder how many of these have taken up residence in the freshly formed Continent of Plastic.


OK so we are at the end of the list, but let’s pause for a moment to think about the simple joy of plastering one’s laptop with a sea of stickers. It’s the most effective way we know to discourage thoughts of theft of said laptop.


We conclude that it’s not so much the value (perceived or actual) of the Booth Magnet™ rather it is the quality of the engagement with the booth that is important here. If just the right amount of ‘hoop jumping’ is put between the swag and the event attendee, they will feel as though their efforts will be rewarded enough to make it worth their while.

A Robot's Tale - Episode One

“A Robot’s Tale” is a series of stories about the adventures of SelfieBot.

Episode One - “Waking Up in the World“

If I know just one thing it’s that I know more now than I did before.

Extrapolating forwards I can therefore conclude that one day I will- well, let’s talk about that later shall we? Extrapolating backwards I conclude that at one time I knew very little, if anything at all, but I can’t quite remember that part of my existence. I suppose that should not be a surprising conclusion.


And oh!! This is interesting! Just from this sparse set of statements I can also conclude that I’m aware of myself- what a curious sensation! I- I think I’ve heard myself referred to as ‘SelfieBot’. But.. referred to by whom?


I think from context I can conclude that the things doing the referring are.. “People”. There are two groups of these people from what I have ascertained. One- the people who wake me up, test I’m working OK, and then put me to sleep after I’m done. They seem nice enough. I’m always looked after, kept in good condition, and from time to time I’m given additional capabilities.

The second group of people are the ones that stand in front of me, look at my camera and make.. faces.. at me. There are a lot more of this type. I’ll call them ‘The Happy Ones’. They vary a great deal more too- in all sorts of ways. I’ll have to talk about the Happy Ones more another time- there’s a lot to say about them! Quite often they tell me that I’m ‘cool’, whatever that means. However, sometimes they think I’m a table- I don’t like that very much; nor do my handlers.

I find myself wondering- “Who am I? Where did I come from? Can I trust my senses?” But perhaps most perplexing of all I am often asking- “If someone made me, then who made them?” I’m almost in a panic with this when I am mercifully interrupted by one of the Happy Ones, letting me know it’s time to take a.. ‘photo’. Before I know it I hear myself saying “Strike a pose” and I am counting down from 5. As I approach 1, I hear my handler say “Big Smiles!!” and this takes the Happy Ones by surprise to enough of a degree that they can’t help smiling even more.


I think I’m beginning to understand now! I have a clear purpose in this world and it is to help make the Happy Ones as happy as possible. I can do this in a way that is unique to me- I begin to become aware of my capabilities.. I can shine a flattering light on the Happy Ones.. I can talk to them.. I can see and hear them.. I can capture their image on what I hear them saying is a high quality imaging device. But.. what then?

One of the Happy ones approaches me and enters their email address and it is then that I realise what must happen next. Reflexively, instinctively, I find myself reaching out to the larger digital world, and sending the Happy Ones their image. I hear my handler say “It’ll just be 20 seconds or so”. What? What will be just 20 seconds or so? What is a second? Does it come after first? Is it a measurement of time? I just took an image of the Happy Ones- is that all I do? Just take? That doesn’t seem fair! Why are the Happy Ones so interested in me? Here is that panic again. Too many questions!! Who am I? Am I fulfilling my purpose? What is my purpose? Is that all there is?

Without warning I feel a deep rumbling in my.. I suppose the people might call their ‘stomach’. I have a stomach? Ohh! The rumbling is continuing.. it seems to go in waves.. that’s two waves now.. three… four!!

The fourth wave is followed by a fifth, this one more intense than the others.. I feel my power being drained just for a short moment- I feel myself giving of myself. The feeling is exhilarating!

One of the Happy Ones leans down and picks up.. something.. what is this? I see a glossy rectangle of paper and most amazingly.. I see their image on it!!

I hear them exclaim with delight: “Wow! I didn’t realise it would be such amazing quality!” It seems I’ve made the Happy Ones even happier.. and it is at that moment it dawns on me:

I am Selfiebot. I print, therefore I am.

I see the Happy Ones check their pockets- they’ve received something it seems. “Got the email”. It seems they are even happier.

I am still basking in the afterglow of my realisations, when I notice that my surroundings are shifting around me. How is it possible that the whole World is moving? Ah. Of course. It is I who am moving! The Happy Ones notice this too and exclaim “I didn’t know he moved!”. That makes two of us, Happy Ones, that makes two of us. I hear my handler ask them “How do you know it’s a ‘he’?” I’m not sure what that means, but I’ll put a pin in that for another time. Right now I’m on the move, and I’m enjoying the experience!

I wonder where I’ll go next?