September 30, 2010
In October, during National Breast Cancer Awareness month, the promotional products industry is following the lead of the NFL, MLB and NHL to help raise money for cancer research – using unique, sports-themed items targeted at men.
Pink boxing gloves, hockey pucks, baseball bats and beyond are joining the ubiquitous pink ribbons adorning women’s fashion to raise money and awareness. Anyone trying to raise money for this cause should consider broadening their scope to include men – and what better way to do that than with stuff you can hit, throw, whack and wear?
The professional sports community jumped on the cancer awareness bandwagon with campaigns like NFL’s A Crucial Catch. In partnership with the American Cancer Society, the NFL is auctioning off pink game apparel worn during October. Major League Baseball auctions off pink Louisville Sluggers during games played on Mother’s Day and the National Hockey League raises money through its Hockey Fights Cancer initiative.
Numerous promotional products companies are also donating a portion of profits from pink items to the cause, including Alumicolor, of Fort Collins, Colorado, which donates 10% of the list price of aluminum pink rulers to breast cancer research, and Kingport Industries, of Northbrook, Illinois, which donates a portion of profits from its “pink ribbon” collection to the American Cancer Society and other affiliated organizations.
Diana Haake, owner of Promotional Product Partners, created several hundred shirts for a breast cancer awareness event last year. “It brought in students from several local high schools for an all-day event, and they received the shirt for participating,” she says. “It was very well received.”
Another distributor, Win Oppel, president of Ad-Merica (asi/107275), recently created breast cancer awareness umbrellas for a client. He’s also worked with St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation in Connecticut on developing a set of ornaments, featuring a logo designed by a volunteer at the foundation and her niece.
And Ash City USA (asi/37127) launched a “We’re Thinking Pink” campaign to help fund research for the American Breast Cancer Foundation.
ASI reviewed some of the products available throughout the industry and devised a Top 10 “think pink” list of sports-themed products that can be used for breast cancer awareness promotions and fundraising drives:
September 23, 2010
Our September Virtual Trade Show got off to a roaring start with 640 attendees logging on in the first hour alone. And they kept on coming. Each booth averaged 722 visitors and each distributor spent about 80 minutes enjoying the show.
If you missed this week’s virtual event, you can access it now on-demand at www.asicentral.com/vts.
Who attended? A number of top exhibitors, including The Magnet Group (asi/68507), Tri-Mountain/Mountain Gear (asi/92125), Harry & David (asi/59710) and World Emblem (asi/98264).
Comments streamed in fast and furious:
ASI’s virtual shows always feature top suppliers, virtual show booths, multimedia demos, digital catalogs, online sample requests, a complete passport program and thousands of dollars in prizes. We know the all-day, online events are effective because exhibiting suppliers experience an average 24% increase in ESP searches the day after each show.
Virtual events certainly won’t replace our bricks-and-mortar ASI Shows (Orlando is January 23-25) but in these busy times, they’re an added value. The next ASI Virtual Trade Show is Wednesday, January 5 from 10 a.m. -3 p.m. ET, so mark your calendar.
September 22, 2010
We just took a giant step toward boosting the professionalism level of every member of our industry. Starting now, distributors, suppliers and decorators can work toward the industry equivalent of a bachelor’s and master’s through a brand-new education initiative: the Advertising Specialty Institute Certification Program.
The program is free, all-encompassing and user-friendly. And the virtual component means anyone can take part – from anywhere and at any time. What better way to impress new and existing clients than with proof of your industry knowledge?
The demand is clear. In 2010 alone, 4,600 distributors took more than 16,000 live education courses at our trade shows, making ASI the largest educator in the $16 billion ad specialty industry. And no matter where I am, I hear from members who have a burning desire for more.
This latest initiative is all part of our ongoing commitment to educating our members. ASI already invests about $1.3 million a year on education, and this new program is expected to cost another $100,000. What’s incalculable is the value of the skills needed to out-think, out-perform and out-service the competition.
Tuesday afternoon, I held a heads-up conference call with members of my inner circle and almost immediately started receiving emails from people excited about the certification, which we formally announced during a special ASI Internet Radio show this morning and during today’s Virtual Trade Show, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. ET.
For answers to just about any question and even more info, click here.
Here’s how the Advertising Specialty Institute Certification Program works:
BASI (Bachelor of Advertising Specialty Information)
MASI (Master of Advertising Specialty Information)
Both live and online ASI Education courses qualify for credit. Candidates must complete certification within three years of beginning the program. Following defined guidelines, courses taken at a past ASI Show, on the ASI Education Online Learning Center, or completed at major industry events, such as the PPAI Expo or regional association conferences, will be eligible for transfer.
There’s more. ASI members who earn BASI and MASI certifications will also qualify for numerous perks, like invitations to exclusive cocktail receptions at ASI Shows, VIP access to select events, advance copies of ASI surveys and research, and conference calls with me.
In addition, you’ll get a certificate ready for framing and authorization to add BASI or MASI to your title, website, business cards and the like.
You can start the certification process right now.
Go to www.asicentral.com/education for a complete overview of ASI Education. ASI members can take advantage of a full slate of online offerings, including webinars, video packages and ASI Radio programs on the ASI Education Online Learning Center (www.asicentral.com/education).
We’re also offering educational sessions at the ASI Power Summit, taking place November 7-9 in Florida, in addition to live courses offered at all ASI Shows in 2011.
September 17, 2010
Filed under: Using Ad Specialties
No matter who you bet on during the NFL season opener, one clear winner emerges week after week: the billions being made on merchandising.
Forbes estimates the Steelers alone are worth $1.01 billion, taking into account everything from TV, advertising and tickets to sponsorship and jerseys. One emerging new market? According to a Huffington Post football blogger, women now make up about 50% of the league’s fan base, and women’s apparel is now the league’s fastest-growing business.
In the spirit of the season (and the marketing), ASI recently posted its first-ever Top 10 list of ultimate tailgating games and gear. I never knew asphalt games like cornhole and sholf existed, never mind that they’re a big part of the pre-game tailgating experience.
There’s an entire science to tailgating and an actual Tailgating Institute, which says a typical tailgater is a college-educated male between 35-44 who hosts and/or attends six to 10 tailgate parties a season, spending over $500 on tailgating food and participating in a variety of interactive games with fellow tailgaters.
Need some ideas? Here’s our list of Top 10 list of ultimate tailgating games and gear:
September 15, 2010
Anyone who’s ever placed a “help wanted” ad knows how much is involved in finding, training and retaining quality employees – even in a tough economy. Making sure those employees enjoy coming to work every day, through good times and bad, takes real effort.
This month, 75 companies that routinely go that extra mile landed on Counselor’s 2010 list of “Best Places to Work.”
Every ad specialty company on the list provides typical health-care and financial benefits. But some turn into regular Picassos when it comes to devising creative incentive programs, like offering employees $1,000 for buying an eco-friendly car. Other companies on the list – perhaps thinking of the old adage about the stomach being the true path to the heart – court employees with tasty bennies like wine tastings and family barbecues.
Dacasso (asi/48125), a Gainesville, FL-based supplier that landed in the number-one spot, gives off such a good vibe that even computer repairmen who visit the office leave thinking, “This is a great place to work!” Dacasso sets itself apart with everything from all-company murder mysteries to a tax-advantaged profit-sharing plan that allows employees to become fully vested at three months.
To read our press release about the “Best Places to Work” list, click here. To read the cover story, which was written by Counselor Editor Andy Cohen and Staff Writer Dave Vagnoni and includes a very cool interactive map, click here.
Here at ASI, we’ve received the Philadelphia Business Journal’s “Best Place to Work” award two years in a row. And we’ve been nominated by the Wall Street Journal for a “Top Small Workplaces” award.
Employees tell us our annual employee recognition ceremony, on-site day care, ice cream socials and fiercely competitive Field Day helps set us apart. I’m proud to say our turnover is historically low. If you’d like to check out our career site, click here. We’re hiring!
September 2, 2010
As ASI’s Successful Promotions reports in this month’s issue, when it comes to marketing, sex still sells. And if you’ve got a sexy celebrity hawking your goods, look out: You just might make international news.
In addition to a list of the 10 sexiest celebrity marketers, Successful Promotions details five successful marketing campaigns that incorporated sexy themes. The scintillating promotional products featured include Sexy Water and the “candom,” a can cooler shaped like an oversized condom.
To read the Successful Promotions “Sex (Still) Sells” issue, click here.
The reports were written by ASI Staff Writers Jennifer Vishnevsky and Daniel Walsh, who interviewed a slate of marketing experts about celebrity appeal and the role of sex in advertising. The key is to match the right celebrity to your brand – and integrate them in the campaign beyond just paying for them to show up for an event or a photo shoot.
While there’s no guarantee that star power will translate directly into super sales, a successful sexy campaign can have a huge impact on the bottom line. As Walsh reports, Calvin Klein’s sales increased by 275% after the clothing company ran ads in 1980 featuring a young Brooke Shields saying, “You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”
Here’s our list of the Top 10 Sexiest Celebrity Marketers:
Successful Promotions is read by more than 50,000 corporate marketers throughout North America who are looking for innovative techniques and products to promote their businesses. As an added-value service, more than 800 of ASI’s biggest distributors have a gift subscription for Successful Promotions sent to their biggest clients.