You must have seen a number of Souvenirs published in connection with certain events like Seminars, Symposia, Conferences, Special celebrative days of organizations etc. Why are they published, who reads them and how to get best out of souvenirs? You may not have wandered over these questions; will you let me do it for you?
Most people publish souvenirs as a routine part of event based activities like decennial days, Silver or Golden Jubilee Celebrations, seminars, symposia, conferences etc By collecting advertisements, you can make some money for your organization. By publishing a souvenir you can please many people: the novice article writer among your friends, some political fellow to release it, some printer whom you can oblige or your treasurer who will see some good cash balance and others.
What are the contents of a souvenir? Mostly nothing important. They contain articles by eminent busy personalities who endlessly re-circulate what they had written years ago. Many other contributions are by novices who are glad to see their writing in print. Messages, details of the event like program schedule, members of various committees, photos of people whose favor we are seeking, Local info about the city, travel / tourist info and the like occupy souvenir volumes. Therefore it is not taken by many people seriously. In my experience, souvenirs are read by article-contributors and proof readers, if any. They are seen by advertisers to verify that their advertisements have indeed been printed. Those who might keep them (not read them) are the ones whose photos have appeared or perhaps the members of the souvenir sub committee. Anyway, they are not intended to be read, retained or retrieved for later reference. I have not seen many exceptions.
Are then such souvenir publications thoroughly useless? No, not at all. Apart from a few articles that may be thought provoking, useful and usable content, you can infer many things from a souvenir. If there are good number of advertisements the organization and its sponsors are rich and affluent. If the names of bigwigs and celebrities are involved in the activities, the organization is influential. You may get to know the organization in greater detail. You can improve your contacts, from the list of paper presenters, session chairmen and similar info.
Even advertisements may be useful, deepening upon how you look at them. Recently I saw a souvenir released in connection with decennial celebrations of Senior Citizens Seva Samithi, Hanuman Nagar, Dilsukh Nagar, Hyderabad. It is multicolor, multi language, full of advertisements, photos, and many articles. Out of some 70 advertisements in this 88 pages booklet, only one advertisement was specifically tuned to the audience. The Microtek advertisement on back cover page for UPS says: "Special Discount for Senior Citizens". There are many advertisers who could have slanted their text to catch elders' attention, but they didn't. This could be because the advertisers did not bother or because they were not 'educated' by the souvenir committee.
I am wondering why we can not get more meaningful advertisements tailor made to senior citizens in a souvenir intended for retired people. It will be mutually rewarding both to the SCA and the advertisers. Who will try?