The Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance (my office) at the Department of the Interior is one of the organizers for Earth Day in Rawlins Park in Washington D.C., and because of the this, we always get a prime location. Though, since a memo came out a few years ago restricting offices from buying branded swag, our table presentation has been dwindling. Looking around, it seemed that not all offices had the same restrictions; there were branded table cloths, lanyards, coasters, reusable bags, plant seeds, t-shirts, etc. etc. etc. Plus they were giving out free candy, popcorn, and ice cream. All we had were brochures and broken smiles.
As I was looking around, I noticed quite a few sticks in the grass, so I made these and called them "Silent Sticks."
As people were walking by, we started advertising, "FREE SILENT STICKS!"
When they inquired about it, we said, "When someone is irritating you, you give them one... and they usually become silent."
The response was well received. People laughed, took pictures with them, and pretended to give them to their bosses. At one point a group of political appointees came by and we were surrounded by cameras and everyone was posing with them. I ended up making about 40 of them and gave out all but 3.
Which I just threw back into the grass :)
This grew a lot of interest about our program as well. People would see others leaving our table with a smile on their face, and then come up to ask about the program. I'd say we had about 80 visitors, and the interest in the program was about 60%, which made the (free) sticks worth the investment.