As the year winds down, it strikes me that 2012 has been the weakest year in memory for weird tech vendor tchotchkes. Take your NASDAQ numbers this and VC spending that, but tchotchke distribution and holiday party extravagance are really the main industry indicators worth watching.
The only thing I really have to show for my troubles and sifting through oodles of press releases, overly enthusiastic and PASSIONATE (!!!) tweets and pitches this year is this bendable Sprint guy ("Make the switch to Sprint and we'll bend over backwards for you."). And he's something I can barely make fun of with good conscience ("Bending the truth about 4G?").
Yes, the tough economy has made distribution of frivolous and poorly-conceived doodads less common in recent years, but things have really hit rock bottom in 2012 (unless there's a big December drive about to start...some calendars, like the Sourcefire Snort calendar, have started to trickle in).
Gone are the days of marionette puppets that looked like company founders filling our mailboxes (see my valued Shiva Corp., item below, made in the image of Dan Schwinn). Or even the smoked fish that once showed up in our office from across the pond (and that sat in the office over our holiday break).
If you have happened to receive any alarmingly odd vendor tchotchkes this year, please send along a photo for me to add to this post. Restore my faith in vendor marketing!