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Sizzling Shark Tank-Style Competition Heats Up ASI Orlando Show


Nearly 6,000 distributors brave unexpected cold snap to kick off
2014 selling season in high style

TREVOSE, PA - January 7, 2014 - Self-made tycoons Barbara Corcoran and Kevin O’Leary captivated a standing-room-only crowd at The ASI Show™ in Orlando Tuesday during a live Shark Tank-style “pitch slam” between four innovative entrepreneurs vying for a $5,000 cash prize for the industry’s top new promotional product.

Winning supplier Card Ninja (asi/95026) dazzled the two tough judges along with a voting audience of nearly 1,200 with an innovative card-holder that sticks to the back of cell phones. “You have a phenomenal product,” Corcoran told the Card Ninja representatives. “I’ll offer you $10,000 right now for 30% of your company.”

Along with the stars of the ABC hit reality show competition Shark Tank, ASI Orlando attracted over 5,600 distributors from 27 countries and nearly every state in the union, along with 805 suppliers, including 130 new to Orlando, and numerous Counselor® Top 40. Twenty distributors also chose Orlando to host company sales meetings, including American Solutions for Business (asi/120075), which brought 300 of their top sales reps.

The event, which took place Sunday, January 5 through Tuesday, January 7 at the Orange County Convention Center, showcased thousands of the hottest products in the industry and featured a full slate of networking events, all-day education and a jam-packed show floor.

“Our booth was a mob scene,” said Lee Feinstein from Bodek & Rhodes (asi/40788). “We are absolutely thrilled with the traffic. We’ve been talking with high-quality, inquisitive distributors who are looking for product samples and new ideas. We’ll be here next year and forever, with each year bigger and better!”

Dave Saracino, from BIC Graphic USA (asi/40480), agreed. “The show’s been robust and busy,” he said. “The distributors visiting our booth are taking the time to see what’s new. We’ve got 30-plus people working. ASI Orlando is the start of our 2014 season.”

ASI’s gala celebration at Disney’s Animal Kingdom drew 1,900 people Monday night, despite a freak polar air mass that plunged the temperature 50 degrees to near freezing within hours. Bundled-up party-goers enjoyed thrill rides, a DJ, dance party, food and relaxed networking opportunities.

Monday morning, ASI’s products expert Joe Haley earned raves for the first-ever live Joe Show on stage, featuring 12 suppliers strutting their stuff before a captive audience of over 550. Reviewers described it as “fabulous,” “energizing” and “amusing.”

Monday night, ASI celebrated the industry’s best suppliers during the annual Counselor Distributor Choice Awards, which applauded winners in 60 different product categories. Seattle-based iClick (asi/62124) was named 2014 Supplier of the Year.

“I think the real reason iClick is tonight’s winner has a lot to do with founder Lon McGowan’s mantra: ‘Do whatever makes the distributor look good,’” said Timothy Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI and president of its sister company, The ASI Show. “Distributors couldn’t agree more. Voters described iClick as a first-class company that delivers on its promises – a company that rewards customer loyalty with over-the-top service.”

To see the complete list of Counselor Distributor Choice Awards winners, click here.

“We love to co-locate our event with The ASI Show,” said Wayne Martin from American Solutions for Business (asi/120075). “We've done it four different times now. We get so much out of attending ASI shows – we’re excited to be here.”

All education sessions were eligible for credits toward BASI™ (Bachelor of Advertising Specialty Information) and MASI™ (Master of Advertising Specialty Information) certification. Following a reception in their honor, 16 graduates of the ASI Certification Program were recognized in a pinning ceremony during an on-stage presentation with Andrews, ASI Chairman of the Board Norman Cohn and Matthew Cohn, the founder of The ASI Show. ASI recently hit a major milestone, awarding over 1,000 industry certifications through its free Online Learning Center. To date, over 29,000 industry professionals have registered for classes necessary to obtain the industry certification.

“We’re so excited to be here,” said Sharla Elscott from The Vernon Company (asi/351700). “This is a great time to get our team recharged and ready for 2014. Our sales executives came with specific clients in mind and are excited to find innovative ideas on the show floor.”

Said CEO Andrews: “ASI Orlando has earned a well-deserved reputation as the hottest spot in the industry to gear up for a brand new year of strong sales. Attracting 130 new suppliers is the best possible evidence of interest in the Orlando show experience, which provides awesome opportunities for top suppliers and hardworking distributors to do business together in the epicenter of creativity and innovation.”

For complete coverage of the show, including blogs and videos, visit www.asicentral.com.

Upcoming 2014 ASI Shows are Dallas (February 4-6), Long Beach (March 25-27), New York (April 3-4) and Chicago (July 15-17). To learn more about exhibiting or sponsorship opportunities for 2013, contact Karen DiTomasso, vice president of sales, at kditomasso@asicentral.com.

About The ASI Show
The ASI Show was created for active ASI member distributors and suppliers, and attracts more distributors than any other industry show, with 20,000 attendees. Offering a full education conference, networking opportunities and a manageable one-floor/one-hall layout, The ASI Show provides a complete trade show experience. In five host cities per year (Orlando, Dallas, Long Beach, New York and Chicago), The ASI Show is ideal for advertising specialty businesses searching for new ideas and new business. Additionally, The ASI Show runs the Advantages Roadshow, the ad specialty industry’s most popular traveling show, and fASIlitate, ASI’s hosted buyer event.

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) is the largest media, marketing and education organization serving the promotional products industry, with a network of over 25,000 distributors and suppliers throughout North America. ASI leads the industry in technology solutions, providing cloud-based e-commerce, enterprise resource planning software (ERP) and customer relationship management software (CRM). ESP Web® is the industry’s leading tool for sourcing hundreds of thousands of products. A family-owned business since 1962, ASI also provides online research, marketing, advertising opportunities, trade shows, education, award-winning magazines, newsletters, custom websites and catalogs to help members sell, market and promote their brands. Visit ASI at www.asicentral.com and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and the CEO’s blog.

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