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ASI Makes Some Noise

Filed under: ASI Shows, ASICentral, Media Coverage, Members, News About ASI, Using Ad Specialties

In an ongoing effort to increase awareness of the ad specialty industry, ASI has stepped up its public relations initiatives. Those efforts really paid off during our recent show in Dallas, where we scored unprecedented TV coverage.

Former first lady Laura Bush – who spoke at the show and during the ASI Women’s Summit – generated a ton of news coverage, including a lengthy feature in The Dallas Morning News and more TV coverage than any other single ASI event to date.

Click here to watch segments from Fox, NBC and CBS. Click here to listen to a KRLD radio clip.

In addition, ASI and Laura Bush received mention on more than 278 online sites and publications, for a total potential circulation of 41 million.

And Promo Man, the new “face” of the industry, piqued the interest of the city’s ABC affiliate, which broadcast from the convention center floor to showcase a number of products. Click here to watch.

Featured suppliers in the segments include Clique Here Inc. (asi/4535) and their scented tees, Limb Gear (asi/67554) with iHoodies, Golden Pacific (asi/55549) and the solar powered briefcase, Cruzin Cooler (asi/47747) and their ride on cooler and Think Geek (asi/91123) with electric guitar shirts.

In each case the important keywords “advertising specialty” received prominent mention.

When’s the last time your company was on TV? Did the mention generate any new business? Let me know by posting a comment or emailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Sell Laughs, Close Deals

Filed under: ASI Shows, News About ASI

Want to close more sales? Take a tip from improv extraordinaire Wayne Brady. He advised our ASI Radio audience the best way to close a sale is to turn potential clients into fans with a little bravado and touch of humor.

“What we do on stage is sell the audience on our comedy,” Brady told listeners Tuesday during an interview to advance his upcoming performance at the ASI trade show in San Diego, Thursday, May 19. Click here to register for tickets to his exclusive West Coast performance.

“For salespeople, the best thing is to have fun,” Brady said. “If you’re very stiff and uncommunicative you’ll never get anywhere. Make a fan and make a sale.”

To listen to the interview in its entirety, click here.

If you’re planning on attending his show in San Diego, get your best improv ideas ready. And plan to have a great time. Brady promises to deliver.

Here are edited excerpts from the Wayne Brady interview:

Q: How do you prepare for big shows? Do you have any rituals?

A: I show up and I’m ready to roll. Improv is not something you can sit in your room and practice. It’s just a skill. I do deal with pre-show nerves. Even after 20 some years in the business I still get butterflies. But as soon as I step on stage, I’m great.

Q: Who inspired you in comedy or performance?

A: I’m not a stand-up guy. I’m sketch comedy. I like “Saturday Night Live,” the old Carol Burnett show. The early variety show performers could do it all. They were a triple threat. People like Carol Burnett, Danny Kaye, Bill Cosby. My mom didn’t allow me to watch much TV—usually it was PBS or the old Carol Burnett shows in black-and-white. Now I realize that was my early education.

Q: What’s on your iPod?

A: Jazmine Sullivan, the Grammy’s Best New Artist Esperanza Spalding, Colbie Caillat and an old-school hip-hop compilation from 1986-89, when it was about partying and not getting capped in the ass.

Q: How did you put your own stamp on the game show “Let’s Make A Deal?”

A: I didn’t want to be a typical game show host. I looked at it as a role, a challenge. I wanted it to be fun so I figured I’d just do what I do. This version has a lot of improv in it, a lot of characters who interact with the audience. We have songs. It’s more like the big Spanish variety shows.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to be a comedian?

A: At 16, I fell into it at school. I was in the ROTC program for two years and my family was military and I figured that’s what I’m going to do. One day I filled in for a buddy in drama class. I had one line. It was amazing. All the kids were making each other laugh and something in me responded. It was that fast. Two weeks later I was doing my first play. Later, I was doing TV, movies, jingles, cruise ships. I never did comedy on TV before “Whose Line is it Anyway?” I was spotted in a comedy club and it changed my life.

Q: How do you deal with curve balls thrown from the audience?

A: There’s really not such a thing as a suggestion that’s too tough. But some are just stupid and I can’t do anything with it, like “Hey, do a song about my” – insert word about his junk. No, dude.

Q: What’s your favorite promotional product?

A: The best one was a car. I got use of a car for six months – a Cadillac SUV. The downside was I spent a bajillion dollars on gas. “Let’s Make a Deal” is getting ready to do a bunch of stuff. Wayne Brady jeans, Wayne Brady doors for your house.

If you heard the show, let me know what you thought by posting a comment or emailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Got a Question for Wayne Brady?

Filed under: ASI Shows, News About ASI

Upcoming ASI headliner Wayne Brady is a showbiz rarity. This cat can do it all: dance, sing and act on TV, film and stage. Tuesday morning, he’s bringing it to ASI Radio for an interview that promises to be one of our most entertaining.

If you have a question for Brady, send it now to radio@asicentral.com and we might read it on the air – or ask you to call in and ask it yourself. Tune in Tuesday to listen to the interview and Q&A online at www.asicentral.com/radio.

Our interview with the comedian advances Wayne Brady’s performance at the ASI Show in San Diego on Thursday, May 19. Click here to register for tickets to his exclusive West Coast performance.

If you’re wondering, “Where did I see this guy anyway?” you probably caught his Emmy Award-winning improv on ABC’s “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” In addition, Brady has guest starred on “30 Rock,” “How I Met Your Mother” and “Everybody Hates Chris.”

You may have also seen the multitalented performer during his hit run in Vegas. In its review, the LA Times said, “What makes Brady’s show so special is that he has somehow found a sweet spot by managing to successfully mix old school Vegas entertainment hip without sacrificing any new Vegas cool in the process. He may be the first performer to pull this off.”

So tune in Tuesday for our interview. I’m sure it’ll brighten your morning.

And for a change of pace, check out the interviews ASI Vice Chairman Matthew Cohn conducted from our bash at Eddie Deen’s ranch and hear testimonials from ASI distributors and suppliers about the Dallas show. Click here to watch.

Be sure to let me know what you think of Wayne Brady by posting a comment or emailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Dallas Show Sets Record

Filed under: ASI Shows, Community, Members, News About ASI

I’m very pleased to share the news that our Dallas show attracted nearly 3,600 distributors, an increase of 8.6% from last year, representing 1,545 distributor firms, up 10.5% – and a new record.

In addition to education and 500 exhibitors, the three-day event featured a keynote by first lady Laura W. Bush, who addressed nearly 600, a record keynote attendance. Mrs. Bush also hosted an intimate cocktail and lunch reception during the 2nd Annual ASI Women’s Summit. From among 30 finalists, the summit included the first-ever “Top Women to Watch in the Advertising Specialty Industry” Awards ceremony.

In this pic, Mrs. Bush graciously poses with some of the women in attendance.

We got lots of great feedback from the show.

Kristina Fredericks from Moderne Glass (asi/71920) said the traffic was strong. “We’ve received a lot of great leads and sample requests and are putting together a number of programs. It’s been a fabulous show and we’re very pleased.”

Lori Bauer from Norwood BIC Graphic (asi/40480) agreed. “Distributors are excited for the new sales year. We are seeing lots of order opportunities and business is already coming in. ASI Dallas was the perfect event to launch our latest promotion for Norwood Bags and Drinkware.”

Mark Gammon from The Vernon Company (asi/351700) called the show “terrific” and said, “It’s the perfect way to kick off the new year – by seeing our preferred suppliers and discussing our clients’ needs with them.” 

Michael Hartney from That First Impression LLC (asi/343536) summed it all up when he said, “I’m leaving with great sales ideas.”

Without a doubt, our 2011 show momentum indicates no sign of stopping as we forge ahead to the ASI Show in New York City in Tuesday, March 22, through Wednesday, March 24.

Let me know your thoughts by posting a comment or emailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.


Laura Bush Inspires Dallas Crowd

Filed under: ASI Shows, Members, News About ASI

Former first lady Laura Bush wowed a standing room only crowd of nearly 600 at our keynote address in Dallas Friday morning. The audience laughed, cried – and gave her several standing ovations.

Mrs. Bush described life in and out of the White House and spoke of finding her identity as First Lady through advocacy on issues near to her heart, such as improving education, literacy initiatives and enhancing the lives of women around the world through education and health awareness.

“To sit here and hear her say that we’re women and we can do anything and this is a women’s world was moving,” said Norma Westphal of Proforma JETT Eagle Advertising. “She made me cry.”

She got a huge laugh when she showed off her favorite promotional item – a Laura Bush bobblehead (pictured) her aides found in a Washington, D.C. gift shop shortly after the Bush presidency ended. The worst part? The bobblehead was already on the discount rack.

Mrs. Bush also spoke of her first night in the White House. After a whirlwind of inaugural balls, she lay down with aching feet and felt only peace because her immediate family was safe and together. “How often do you have nearly everyone you love under one roof?” she asked.

She spoke movingly of the turbulent times surrounding September 11, and recounted how a secret service agent first informed her of the attacks. She said she sat stricken with Senator Ted Kennedy in his office as the scope of the tragedy became clear and that night she and her husband hunkered in a subterranean bunker, fearing a direct attack on the White House.

“We awoke on September 12 to a different life,” she said. In addition, she mentioned the personal pain her husband felt when he talked with families of military personnel killed in Iraq.

Mrs. Bush also discussed her Texas roots and said she and her husband were glad to be living again in the place they’ve always thought of as home.” We’re living the afterlife in a state George calls the promised land,” said Mrs. Bush.

She was a genuine crowd-pleaser. “I really liked her humor and all the tidbits about her life that she shared,” said Martha Smith of AIA/RC Sales.

During an afternoon keynote, Mrs. Bush addressed attendees at ASI’s second annual Women’s Summit at the Adolphus Hotel. Highlights included her thoughts on how empowering women is the most effective way to improve a society’s quality of life. She also shared details of her initiatives as first lady, such as advocating for women’s rights in Afghanistan and promoting women’s health.

If you were at the keynotes, let me know what you thought by posting a comment or emailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Lights, Camera, Action from Dallas

Filed under: ASI Shows, Industry Initiatives, Media Coverage, Members, News About ASI, Using Ad Specialties

We’re enjoying a terrific show in Dallas this week and if you’re not there, ASI TV is a great way to keep in touch with all the excitement.

First up, a recap of my Town Hall meeting. At each show, I open the floor up to questions so we can discuss the industry’s most pressing issues and look for solutions that serve all of us. In Dallas, we tackled the rising cost of cotton, the best use of video – and more.

Click here to join the action.

Next, I took a look at innovative pet products, which are virtually recession-proof, according to Counselor magazine. Check out:

  • Collapsible water bowl, from Wov-in/Promopet (asi/92980).
  • Dog Bone Strobe, from Illini (asi/62190).
  • Pet bag, from Cobra Cap with embroidery from Classic Caps & Embroidery (asi/45303).
  • Dog T-shirt, from American Apparel (asi/35297).
  • The Cat’s Phantom Mouse Teaser, from Hammacher Schlemmer (asi/59444).

 Click here for a purr-fect video recap.

 Finally, if you missed the first segment WFAA-TV broadcast from the show floor Thursday morning, check out their second interview with Promo Man by clicking here. Turning on end-buyers to the power of promotional products is all part of ASI’s ongoing promotional efforts and our caped crusader seems to really connect with TV viewers.

 Last night, we celebrated at the Ultimate Texas Bash at Eddie Deen’s ranch. As you can see from the photos posted here, we were definitely livin’ large. For more pics, check out www.asicentral.com.

Let me know your favorite part of the Dallas show by posting a comment or emailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Promo Products Star in Dallas

Filed under: ASI Shows, Industry Initiatives, Media Coverage, Members, News About ASI, Using Ad Specialties

Look! What’s that, up in the sky? A bird? A plane? No, wait, it’s Promo Man! And he’s flying straight to a television set near you.

Promo Man – the new superhero of the promotional products industry – had his TV debut Thursday on a morning show broadcast by the ABC affiliate in Dallas. Direct from the ASI Show floor in the Dallas Convention Center, Promo Man showed off some of the hot products being showcased during this week’s Texas trade show.

Promo Man’s TV appearance is all part of ASI’s on-going public relations efforts to educate end-buyers on the power of promotional products. To see the clip, click here.

Reporter Wyatt Goolsby took his Instant Live 8 camera to the convention center at 4:30 a.m. to get ready for on-site cutaways throughout WFAA-TV’s 5-7 a.m. morning show. Despite the absurdly early hour, Promo Man and his side-kick – ASI’s editor in chief, Melinda Ligos – were bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and no doubt fueled by copious amounts of coffee.

Promo Man demonstrated numerous products for the Dallas TV audience, including the ride-on beer cooler from Cruzin Cooler (asi/47747) and solar-powered briefcase from Golden Pacific (asi/55549). All in all, it was great publicity for the industry. WFAA serves the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, one of the top ten media markets in North America.

I’ll keep you posted on other Promo Man appearances. For now, keep checking the skyline.

If you’re at the show, let me know what you think so far by posting a comment or emailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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