A promotional product is a product branded with a logo, image or slogan representing a company or brand.
Promotional products differ from merchandise (film or music merchandise for example) in that the business that has commissioned the promotional product (the end user) does not profit from its direct sale.
A promotional product is ultimately a marketing tool, and is used to heightened awareness of a brand, a product, or even a message.
They are often distributed as 'freebies' or 'giveaways' at tradeshows, conferences, and corporate events, and are proven to be an extremely cost-effective marketing medium.
Other objectives that marketers use promotional items to facilitate include employee relations and events, public relations, new customer generation, dealer and distributor programs, new product introductions, employee service awards, not-for-profit programs, internal incentive programs, safety education, customer referrals, and marketing research.
Source: Australasian Promotional Products Association (APPA)