Archive: interviews

Promotional products sales outpaced almost all other non-electronic media in 2011

Posted on 02/07/2012 by Henk KROON
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Although the U.S. economy continued its fits-and-starts recovery in 2011, promotional products sales during the period outpaced almost all other non-electronic media. PPAI’s annual survey of distributor sales, which comprises the official distributor sales estimate for the promotional products industry, shows the industry moved $17,721,945,690 worth of promotional goods last year—a seven-percent gain over 2010. This marks the second consecutive year of positive growth following declines in 2008 and 2009. The industry experienced its highest level of sales in 2007 at $19.7 billion.

Throughout 2011, PPAI monitored sales using a quarterly member-distributor sales sample. This quarterly barometer indicated a 6.7 percent increase for the entire year—a figure consistent with the all-industry (member and nonmember) calculation.

PPAI’s annual survey of distributor sales indicated that both large and small companies had much to cheer about at year’s end. Distributors in the $2.5 million-plus bracket recorded sales of $8.6 billion, up 6.7 percent; the smaller-company segment did even better—up 7.3 percent in producing orders worth $9.1 billion.

“People are opening their wallets a little more,” observes Tim Broadhead of distributor Banyan Incentives. Sixty to 70 percent of his company-designed products are new designs, he says, so he expects this year to also be a winner.

At the Vernon Co. (UPIC: vernon) it was a matter of prospecting. “Some of our salespeople found that people weren’t going to spend more, so they went out and found some new accounts,” says Dan Stevenson, executive vice president.


The Tally For Small Distributors

The revenue average for the 21,500 firms in the small-company segment was $422,505 (vs. $407,114 in 2010). A more telling sales statistic, the median—that is, the midpoint where half the population is above and half is below—was $230,066.

For several years, the industry has been a magnet for companies whose core business is unrelated to promotional products. As Table 2 indicates, almost four in 10 small distributors (sales under $2.5 million) reported they did less than 80 percent of their business in promotional merchandise. Perhaps their migration to a new vista was beneficial, because nearly a third of their revenues were from promotional merchandise. The trend line, although uneven, points to the industry’s products as an attractive second-revenue stream.


In 2011, the small-distributor cohort did 16.8 percent of its business with non-industry suppliers—that is, firms not listed with PPAI, ASI or SAGE. For the large-distributor segment, the corresponding figure was 15.4 percent. All told, distributors of all sizes placed $2,969,914,983 worth of business with suppliers that were, from the industry standpoint, “outsiders.”

Internet Sales

Over the years, the internet has become a channel inching its way to prominence as a source of distributor business. Last year, $3,099,370,950 in distributor revenues was attributed to posts. In previous years, web business percentages hovered in the 16- to 17-percent range for both large and small distributors. The 21.1-percent average for large distributors in 2011 likely represents a breakthrough.

For the small but growing number of online distributors such as Adco Marketing (UPIC: ADCOMARK) in Corte Maderia, California, the current pitch is repeat business. “We are getting customers to come back more than once a year,” says President Karen Herzog, adding that her company is attempting to maintain more contact through mailings and offers to select customers than was done previously.


How Promotional Products Fare Against Traditional Media

If you pay attention to what competing media were doing last year, you’ll be elated with the rate at which orders came in for our industry’s imprinted merchandise. The “old media,” a classification that curiously includes promotional products, got off to a fairly good start last year and then fizzled. All-media spending of $172.3 billion represented a measly 1.7 percent increase over 2010, estimates MagnaGlobal, the forecast arm of the Interpublic marketing communications empire. A look at our annual assessment of what the other media were doing (Table 4) shows that, of the traditional media, only cable TV surpassed promotional products by percentage increase.

Sporting double- and triple-digit gains, the real pacesetters are the new, interactive players such as internet advertising and mobile phone ads. These are the media preferences of the millennial generation, the 18-to-34 age group. Often characterized as “stimulation junkies,” members of this group aren’t influenced much by exposure to traditional media, according to a recent study published by MediaPost. That’s because their “immediate and delayed recall rates” are lower than for older generations. In other words, longer exposure is required for the ad to sink in. The advice: Show the product longer, make the brand name more visible and include more mentions throughout the campaign.


*A subset of internet advertising

Expenditures for selected advertising media and promotion methods were compiled for Promotional Products Association International by Richard Alan Nelson, Ph.D., University of Nevada-Las Vegas and Rick Ebel, Glenrich Business Studies. Sources include American Business Media/Business Information Network, Cable TV Advertising Bureau, Direct Marketing Association, IEG, Interactive Advertising Association, Newspaper Association of America, Outdoor Advertising Association of America, Point-of-Purchase Advertising Institute, PQ Media, Publishers Information Bureau, Radio Advertising Bureau and Television Advertising Bureau.

Show Me The Money

Respondents in our study were also asked about their profits. A little more than half (52.6 percent) reported 2011 was more profitable for them than the previous year. But check out Table 5. There was a significant difference in profit reporting between the large- and small-company cohorts.


Regardless of company size, most distributors say they’re optimistic about the current year. About seven in 10 expect greater dollar volume for their companies. But it would help if the nation’s GDP expanded a little more than the 2.2 percent experienced in the first quarter.

Fortunately, the industry’s distributors did a lot better than that in this year’s first quarter. PPAI’s quarterly barometer, reporting on 416 member and nonsmalmember distributor respondents, showed a 6.4 percent hike over the first three months of 2011.

The big ad agencies, which make TV buys, are looking for this year’s political campaigns and the Summer Olympics promotion to give them some lift. Might the same be true for distributors? Unfortunately, those markets are not for everybody. “All distributors look for a niche,” says Mark Gilman, CAS, chairman of supplier Gill Studios (UPIC:gill), “but of all the specialties they can get into, I think political sales are the least popular.”

Gilman provides some insight into the campaign bumper sticker-button-yard sign business. “Our main political business is state and local (elections). What happens is that, in presidential years, we have found that states try to have fewer political races in their states” so as not to compete with the presidential campaigns. He says this year his firm is expecting a 4.5- to five-percent uptick in campaign business over 2008 when the White House was last contested.

To make good on that 2012 optimism, it might be wise to focus on those Twitter-benumbed millennials and introduce products that can seize and hold their attention longer.

Richard Alan Nelson, Ph.D., is a professor at The University of Nevada – Las Vegas. Rick Ebel is principal of Glenrich Business Studies, a marketing communications and research company in Corvallis, Oregon.

Source : PPAI publications

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The Great Aussie Promotional Products Market

Posted on 03/05/2012 by Yuliya

APPA awardAustralia. It’s a lovely place to live and a great place to work. But how does the promotional products industry work in the land down under?

The Australasian Promotional Products Association, also known as APPA, is the only governing body and industry association for the promotional products and marketing industry. Membership into APPA is exclusive and promotional product distributors must meet a set criteria to be allowed membership. There are currently 350 promotional products companies registered with APPA from all over the country, however there are many more companies who claim to produce promotional products also. APPA members are the most highly regarded companies in the industry recognised by their outstanding business practices. APPA supports the industry by conducting tradeshows and the annual APPA Awards for Promotional Excellence, a ceremonial event recognising the best promotional products produced by distributors across 11 different categories (Source: APPA,

Although Australia is a large country, with the right resources, it is possible to service the entire market across the country all at once. There are no boundaries as to how far a company’s influence  can reach. It is quick and easy to ship products nation-wide and even internationally, although a disadvantage is that it can be costly at times. New South Wales is the most populated state in Australia and is home to the greatest number of promotional products companies in the country. Competition between distributors is the most intense in NSW, but there are opportunities for work arising all the time.

dematic photo

There is an increasing demand in the market for corporate gifting with clients asking for high-end brands for their company campaigns and events. Cheap giveaways like pens and novelty items will always be popular,  but organisations are starting to realise the effectiveness of high quality products and the high success rates of sending a message to your clients and employees with these products.

Another growing trend is environmentally-friendly promotional products. These are usually items made of bamboo, recycled or biodegradable materials. The need for organisations to portray themselves as socially responsible citizens is driving this trend. Bamboo travel mugs, pens, notepads and jute bags are the hottest eco-friendly products at the moment.

Australian clients like to be given the 5 star treatment, and so a key differentiator between distributors is the ability to stay up to date with promotional product trends, and the ability to provide excellent customer service. The promotional products industry has recovered well from the economic downturn and will continue to grow in Australia. Under the guidance of APPA, the industry will continue to work both efficiently and in an ethical manner.


Jam Pathirana

Managing Director

B dynamic

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Kick the habit with Promotional Merchandise

Posted on 29/02/2012 by Yuliya
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Written by Helen Louka from

smokingThere is never a bad time to promote an anti smoking campaign but with ‘No Smoking day’ fast approaching why not tie in your marketing activity with this key date? Promotional products offer an effective way to do this and can be specifically tailored to your audience to create a powerful message.

Perhaps the most important factor to consider for any health campaign is that of the target message, to ensure you create maximum impact.  Broadly speaking, this can be divided into two areas: prevention and, in this case, ‘stopping smoking’.

Smoking prevention campaigns are often aimed at children and young adults, so choose products that each group would like to receive. Children typically appreciate promotional gifts such as stickers, badges and toys; whilst teenagers and young adults might respond better to a message printed on a silicone wristband or watch.
A more hard hitting idea for teenagers is to use products that illustrate the effects of smoking on the skin and health. For example, a message such as ‘Don’t smoke away your looks’ could be promoted on a promotional lip balm or make up set.
By giving a product that the recipient appreciates, the message will have a much greater effect. And by targeting the younger generation, good habits will hopefully be instilled from an early age.

For stop-smoking campaigns, there are a variety of approaches that can be used – from the novelty to practical. It is often cited that keeping hands occupied is a great help when resisting a cigarette so stress toys printed with a helpful strap line make a fitting product choice. Small novelty items, such as a Rubik’s cube or a magnetic sculpture, are also ideal to fiddle with and therefore a great distraction for idle hands!

Many quitting smokers use sweets and chewing gum to help them give up, so printed lollies offer a tasty alternative to having a cigarette. Equally, chewing gum packs and mint matchboxes can be personalised to fit the campaign, so when a smoker is tempted and reaches for a light, they are presented with a much healthier option!

An unusual alternative to the run-of-the-mill anti smoking promotions is that of the novelty shaped money box. Teamed with a campaign highlighting the cost of smoking to both your health and your finances, recipients are encouraged to save the money they would ordinarily spend on tobacco. Money boxes also have a high retention factor so offer high impact advertising as the money starts to accumulate.

So, if you’re looking to promote an anti-smoking message, consider the use of promotional items for an affordable and effective awareness campaign.

Written by Helen Louka from

If you need information concerning promotional products, do not hesitate to contact: www.

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Press release – bpma Student Design Award winners

Posted on 08/12/2011 by Henk KROON

Press release – bpma Student Design Award winners

Now in its second year, the bpma student design competition attracted a record 150 entries mostly from leading Design University, Brunel. The competition aims to find exciting new ideas for promotional products.  Judges Gordon Glenister, bpma, Simon Edwards, 3M (sponsor), John Travis, Will International (sponsor) Lee Callaghan and Paul Cunningham, Pepagon (sponsor) sat down earlier in the year to select the final 8.

Design-Competition-group-winners-&-sponsors-2011-1On Friday 25th November In a Dragons Den style presentation the finalists came together at 3M HQ in Bracknell to present their ideas. The judges couldn’t decide on an outright winner so awarded joint first prizes to James Eaton with his Safelet Alarm Wristband and George Coombes with his Micro SD Card back up device which is both waterproof and shockproof.  The Group Prize was accepted on behalf of Team ‘Drink Healthier Pen’ by Nicholas Jones and Natalie Grange.These winning designs along with a number of other entries to this Years competition can be seen at the 2012 Trade Only National Show in January. The winning students shared a prize fund of over £2000 and a 3M goody bag.

‘John Travis,Marketing Manager at Will International commented,it has been a privilege to work with such inspired young people for the duration of the BPMA Student Design Award.They are a credit not only to themselves but to their University,Brunel and their Tutors who have been so supportive during this campaign.’

Winner George Coombes commented, “Winning a design competition which is sponsored by 3M, bpma ,stands out on the CV. It gives potential employers an indication of my level of design skill”

The bpma is helping inspire young design talent and we would like our members to look next year at potential placements from these top Universities, commented Gordon Glenister Director General.  The bpma has already had a number of entries in for the 2012 competition which will be judged in April 2012.

Issued by British Promotional Merchandise Association

52 Russell Square

London WC1B 4HP

Tel: 0207 631 6963


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Printing techniques of promotional products

Posted on 11/02/2010 by barkevica lelde barkevica
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In the most cases the promotional product will have to be printed. What could you supply and how does this all work?
The files you would like to have be printed on the gifts have to be related on special formats when you will deliver them.
These are:
– Vector EPS
-Tiff, JPEG. The minimum resolution should be 600 dpi for line art (drawings), and 300 dpi for grayscale and halftone work (photo).
– PDF format (in highest quality) without compression. Designs delivered with a resolution of 72 dpi or less are not useful!
– The texts can often be simply imported by the supplier and « put », meaning that the products need an email with your text and the products will do the rest.

To read the continuation of this fascinating article, click here

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What is silkscreen printing ?

Posted on 16/11/2009 by Henk KROON
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Posted by Delphine Keng from ODM Group

silkscreen printing Screen printing is a printing technique that uses a woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil.

Used for: Caps, Umbrellas, T-Shirts, Mugs and many others that has flat or relatively flat surfaces

The stencil forms open areas of mesh that transfer ink as a sharp-edged image onto a substrate. A roller or squeegee is moved across the screen stencil, forcing or pumping ink past the threads of the woven mesh in the open areas.

Feature of printing:Screen Print

  1. Used widely – can print on plastic, clothes, metals and many other materials
  2. Good printing thickness, up to 20 micron one time
  3. Real printing effect
  4. Good light resistance – can be used for outdoor product
  5. Comprehensive ink option
  6. Big printing area – up to 3* 4 meters
  7. Can be reused/reclaimed after printing

Printing logo to increase brand awareness has always been one of the best method to promote your company or products. Usually, screen printing is used on promotional products when the logo has less than 4 colours.

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5 tips on how to estimate importing costs

Posted on 05/08/2009 by Henk KROON
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Ok, so now you have received a quotation from this Chinese supplier you selected.

Next step: calculate how this quote will convert into a successful, aggressive selling price that will help you win your client!
Import costing can be dangerous, as slight mistakes can have a disastrous impact on your margin, and you could end up running your import operation at your own costs…

china import So here are 5 tips on how to properly cost an import project:

To read the continuation of this fascinating article, click here

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Don’t fall into the trap when buying Thundersticks

Posted on 18/03/2009 by Laure Berthon
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taptaps-3Thundersticks, also known as tap-taps are inescapable items for cultural, political and sport events. If you want to support a team, a movement or a demonstration, you can make noise with your 2 sticks and show your logo through the crowd. Nevertheless, there are important points you need to know before falling into the trap and buying defective bangers.
To read the continuation of this fascinating article, click here

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