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ASI Spreads the News

Filed under: Industry Initiatives, Media Coverage, News About ASI

If you were in Times Square recently, you could have looked up at one of the world’s largest digital signs and seen a 32-foot-tall ad for promo products.

The ad featured a planter can with seeds and soil packet that allows users to grow herbs inside. It’s from Points of Light Inc. (asi/78825) and was among 11 eco-friendly items featured in an ASI press release we issued before Earth Day.

 The release itself was picked up by more than 300 websites and news outlets, which means an awful lot of people got word of the many green alternatives offered by our industry. We also posted a “Joe Show” YouTube demo of the products.

We then posted the release headline and photo in Times Square.

The 11 screens on the Reuters building that make up the “Reuters sign” (pictured, right) where they were displayed occupy more than 7,400 square feet in Times Square, which receives over 1.5 million impressions daily and annual visits by 30 million tourists.

As far as advertising real estate goes, Times Square is a pretty prime piece of the pie.

The release and the Times Square display are just part of the many efforts ASI makes to publicize our industry. Every month, we issue an average of six press releases, which enjoy potential circulation of 200 million cities across America, as well as Europe, India, Australia and beyond.

In the last year alone, ASI and the promo products industry have been featured on TV stations in New York City, Dallas, San Diego, Chicago and Arizona.

And some of you might be interested in a story that just came out in Expo magazine on show and event executives in our industry selected for the mag’s very first list of “Expo Elite.” It was an honor for me to be included on the list, but what I found most useful were the stories and strategies from other professionals. Hopefully you’ll discover some ideas for your own organization.

If you have any ideas on other ways ASI might spread the news about our industry, post a comment or email me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.


Keep Calm and Marry On

Filed under: Using Ad Specialties

Everyone loves a wedding, right? But there’s no question a walk down the aisle costs money. On average, couples spend $24,066 on wedded bliss – and that’s minus the cost of the honeymoon and engagement ring.

Lucky for England’s William and Kate, much of the bill for their royal union is being paid by the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Middletons. Taxpayers, however, must foot the cost of security, which some say could be the costliest in history, considering the number of royals, senior politicians, VIPs and diplomats expected.

It seems everyone – including the promo products industry – is jumping on the wedding bandwagon. As ASI’s Counselor magazine  reports from London, Friday’s nuptials are causing a royal run on wedding-related memorabilia and promotional products.

Click here to read the Counselor story on the promotional trend and click here for a reporter’s blog with photos of some of the products.

This week, the “Joe Show” featured some of the many wedding products our reporter tracked down and shipped back to the states, including a commemorative booklet, tea cup, heart-shaped compact and even ashtray. My favorites are the Wills and Kate masks I’m sure Joe will be wearing Friday morning when he tunes into the wedding along with about 2 billion others. Click here to watch the special edition “Joe Show.”

Counselor’s reporter interviewed a number of manufacturers and distributors about the mugs, plates, commemorative pens, William & Catherine compacts, ashtrays and even shot glasses available for sale.

For those in need of a laugh, there’s even a commemorative plate reading “Thanks for the free day off,” a “Keep Calm and Marry On” poster and “Kiss Me Kate” beer.

Lucy Stuart, co-owner of Norfolk, UK-based distributor S R Print and Design, says the breadth of products available makes this occasion the biggest for promotional product consumer sales since the change of the millennium in 2000. The Telegraph newspaper reports the sale of royal wedding merchandise altogether could top $42.5 million.

Are you planning to get up at 4 a.m. to watch events unfold? If so, post a comment or email me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.


Get Creative and Go, Green, Go

Filed under: Members, News About ASI, Using Ad Specialties

How many of you remember the very first, few Earth Day products like the dim light bulbs and the costly laundry detergent that didn’t really clean your clothes? Now, more than 40 years on, nearly every major store carries a fleet of great “green” products and gas-friendly cars like the Prius can be found in every neighborhood.

The promotional products industry has done its part as well, serving up terrific eco-friendly products that make everyone feel good about saving our planet. They’re competitively priced or offer enough value that consumers don’t mind shelling out a little bit more.

And it’s a no-brainer that companies branding themselves via green promo products send a direct “We care” signal to end-buyers.

This year, in what’s become our annual list of go-green promo products, we put an emphasis on finding items that make creative use of recycled materials, like recycled paper turned into coolers, bike chains crafted into picture frames, billboards made into bags and garden litter transformed into journals.

“The Joe Show” also jumped on the bandwagon and devoted an entire segment to creative giveaways that can appeal to everyone, “crunchy” or not. Click here for a YouTube “Joe Show” demo of the products and read on for our Earth Day hot list:

  • Bike chain picture frame handmade in India in a workshop sponsored by Noah’s Ark, an NGO that offers funding for raw materials, machines and workshop repairs to 100 artisan groups across India. Employees paid fair wages and work in safe and clean conditions. From Helping Hand Rewards (asi/60465).
  • Netbook/iPad bag made from recycled PET, the plastic used to make soda bottles, allows high tech companies to hop on the eco-friendly bandwagon. From East India Natural Goods (asi/51496).
  • Flip-flops made from recycled coconut fibers and recycled rubber. Great for spas, resorts and beach destinations exhibiting at any eco event. From Neet Feet (asi/73525).
  • Cooler made from recycled paper/cardboard. Pack it with refreshments to hand out at a local Earth Day event. Can be reused. From Recycool Inc. (asi/82500).
  • Planter can with seeds and soil packet allows user to grow herbs inside. Neat giveaway for schools and great item for offices. From Points of Light Inc. (asi/78825).
  • Serving utensils made from bamboo. Farmers’ markets that sell organically and locally grown produce can use as a gift with purchase. From Bay State Specialty Co. (asi/38980).
  • Every litter bit helps journals handmade by a family of artisans in Bali who collect garden materials to create the covers and make paper using a kitchen blender. The family also employs women and older members of the community can work from home. From Helping Hand Rewards (asi/60465).
  • Bags made from recycled billboard and banner material, so banners from a local Earth Day event can be recycled into bags to be given out at the following year’s event or sent to event sponsors afterwards. From Landes Inc. (asi/66230).
  • Colander made of bamboo. Serving trays and bowls also available. Perfect for companies in the food industry. From Aunt Beth’s Cookie Keepers (asi/37465).
  • T-shirt made from 50/50 mix of cotton and recycled polyester. Event organizers can use as a mass giveaway or sell them for a profit. From Anvil Knitwear Inc. (asi/36350).
  • Polo made from polyester and bamboo lets Earth Day event staffers stay cool and dry in a moisture wicking shirt. From Skins Game (asi/87629).

Let me know how your company promotes Earth Day concepts all year long by posting a comment or emailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.


Check Out the Show Stats Report

Filed under: ASI Shows, Member Benefits, News About ASI

The ASI Show now offers exhibitors a monthly report that allows them to track attendance metrics and determine their all-important rate of return.

Show Statistics is a great tool for exhibitors showcasing their wares at ASI trade shows and the Advantages Roadshows. When combined with ASI’s monthly media stats report, it’s sure to help exhibitors to maximize results and meet business goals and plans.

Key stats in the report include exhibitor leads scans by show and by region and number of scans compared to competitors based on usage of Showcare’s scanner, the official ASI Show leads-retrieval provider.

A team at ASI consolidates data from a variety of sources to create comprehensive reports tracking all ASI shows and roadshows for exhibitors and sponsors. The tailored reports are emailed monthly along with ASI Media, ESP and LogoMall media statistics. The reports are also available online.

The Show Statistics report features:

  • One-stop reporting platform at www.asi-mediastats.com.
  • Monthly email with all ASI Show and Roadshow attendance metrics.
  • ESP clicks metrics including top products searched, 30 days pre- and post-show.
  • Marketing efforts pre- and post-show.
  • Regional analysis for each show by state.

Every year, ASI hosts five annual ASI Shows in Orlando, Dallas, New York, San Diego (coming up fast May 18-20) and Chicago (July 19-21), along with over 70 Advantages Roadshows and ASI Holiday Preview Tours.

If you have questions about any of the shows or the new reports, contact Karen DiTomasso, ASI’s VP of sales 215-953-3768 and kditomasso@asicentral.com.

Or post a comment or email me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.


Log On and Learn

Filed under: ASI Shows, News About ASI

The phrase of the day at our most recent Virtual Trade Show was “social media.” Everyone wants to know how to better promote their business using online hawkers like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Hopefully, everyone’s questions were answered at ASI’s social media class during the show, which in itself attracted more than a thousand visitors.

All told, there were an average 524 visitors per booth, and visitors stayed an average 63.5 minutes, conducting 723 one-to-one chats and viewing 1,025 documents and 562 webcasts.

One participant told us she was thrilled to attend in her PJs and slippers, which is the real beauty of virtual shows. No matter where you are – or how you’re dressed – you can log on and learn, network and sell.

If you missed this week’s virtual event, you can access it now on-demand – another great perk.

And stay tuned for our next show, scheduled for June 14. As always, it will feature top suppliers, virtual show booths, extensive education, multimedia demos, digital catalogs, online sample requests, and tens of thousands of dollars in prizes. Registration is free.

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.

And, don’t forget – you can attend education classes that are applied to your BASI or MASI certificates right from the show floor.

While virtual events won’t replace in-person shows (San Diego is May 18-20) you can’t beat the ease and value.

If you were at the show, tell me your experience – and offer any suggestions for improvement – by posting a comment or emailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.


Pick a Product and Grow Sales

Filed under: News About ASI, Using Ad Specialties

If Guinness World Records had a category for largest promotional products catalog, ASI would surely have a winner in the 2011 Media File.

The 56th annual edition clocks in at 287 pages and is packed with thousands of products from hundreds of suppliers in all price ranges – including 51 new suppliers. It’s got a bit to go before it can compete with the world’s largest book, a 346-page tome that weighs about as much as a Mack truck, but we’re on our way.

Media File is so popular, we’ve already pre-sold 75% of all available copies. But there’s still time to order yours. To order online and to see sample pages, click here.  For more info, contact Dan Brown, executive director of distributor services, at dbrown@asicentral.com or at 800-546-1392.  

This year, as an added bonus, we’ve added promotional planning guides and end-buyer case studies that support our catalog research studies, which say over 86% of active distributors think catalogs to be important or even essential for generating sales.

The hardcover book contains every product you can imagine, including eco-friendly items and a special wearables section. Our easy-reference calendar makes creating campaigns a snap and you’ll love the price and product indexes since they make it easy to choose products to suit any client’s budget. 

Media File is the one book to include in your sales arsenal. Display it proudly in your showroom and hand it out to your most favored clients. As for me, now that it’s finally spring, I’m going to get started on breaking the world record for largest tomato plant. I’ve only got to grow one bigger than the one that covered 610 feet at Disney’s Epcot Center.

If you think I can do it, let me know by posting a comment or emailing me here. I’m also on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.


ASI Needs Dynamic Speakers

Filed under: ASI Shows, Guest Blog, Member Benefits, Members, News About ASI

How’d you like to join the ranks of dynamo speakers like Michael J. Fox, Laura W. Bush and Mike Ditka? Well, now’s your chance. All you need to do is qualify to become an ASI Show speaker.

Right now, the ASI Education team is looking for top-notch industry educators who can deliver compelling presentations on the most effective tools and techniques used in business today.
We want you if you’re a passionate, thought-provoking sales, marketing or business-building guru who can showcase your talents at the 2011-2012 ASI Show education programs. This is a priceless opportunity to help brand you as an expert in your field – and also provide amazing networking opportunities to grow your bottom line and your career.

Click here to connect with us. 

ASI is serious about education. In 2010 alone, 4,600 distributors took more than 16,000 live education courses at ASI trade shows, making ASI the largest educator in the $17 billion ad specialty industry. Each year, ASI commits $1.3 million to educate its members, and we’re really proud to be able to offer industry professionals free, up-to-the-minute live and online education

In 2010, in response to lots of member requests, we launched the ASI Certification program, which recognizes industry professionals with Bachelor of Advertising Specialty Information (BASI) and Master of Advertising Specialty Information (MASI) certificates, the industry equivalent of a bachelor’s or master’s degree. These certifications are awarded to industry professionals who have demonstrated their commitment to service and continuing education.

To date, 6,700 industry professionals have registered for classes needed to obtain an ASI certification.

And, participating in the certification program is free, user-friendly and hassle-free for our members. We track all of the live and online ASI Education courses that members take automatically via our Online Learning Center (www.asicentral.com/onlinelearning), so they can easily access their transcript and remaining course requirements.

If you want to help educate the advertising specialty industry, ASI is where it’s at. We’d love to learn more about you and your expertise. Click here to tell us about yourself. You never know where it will lead you. If you have any other questions, email me at nrollender@asicentral.com.

– Nicole Rollender
Editor of Stitches magazine and director of ASI Education