Call it swag, tchotchke, lagniappe or something else, a little freebie is a common way for companies to gather an extra bit of attention. In the radio biz, it's a long-established tactic for record labels to add the occasional little something extra — a T-shirt, street team stickers, a desk toy — in with a new release to help get the music director's attention.
I'm dating myself here, but I remember when Eleventh Dream Day's debut on Atlantic Records arrived at my college radio station, KNWD-FM in Natchitoches, Louisiana, accompanied by a fresh beet with roots and greens still attached. I later heard that the promotions rep responsible for that effort got calls about the legality of mailing fresh produce across state lines from both the Post Office and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Yesterday, KSTZ-FM, Star 102.5 in Des Moines, Iowa, got a bit of a scare from a promotional foodstuff gone wrong.
According to an account in the Des Moines Register, a station worker noticed a white powder pouring from the corner of a box as she was sorting the day's mail. Police were called and the building was quarantined.
Despite the initial fears of anthrax or some other poison, the powder turned out to be a leaking bag of sugar cookie mix sent along with a press release promoting the Iowa State Fair. State fair officials apologized and sent a second release alerting other media outlets to the possible problem.