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Volume Number



Counselor® PromoGram®
Volume 569 / December 9, 2008
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NEWS

3M & Cintas Announce Job Cuts
Feeling the effects of a staggering economy, two Counselor Top 40 companies have slashed jobs. Top 40 supplier 3M (asi/91240) has cut 1,800 positions, while Top 40 distributor Cintas (asi/162167) has closed two manufacturing plants in Kentucky, affecting 300 workers. "Unfortunately, the economic climate and reduction in demand for products manufactured at these plants left us with limited options," said Scott Farmer, CEO of Cintas. "Our top priority is to assist our employee-partners and their families throughout this transition."

The two Cintas plants, which will close at the end of January, produce work pants and shirts. Workers whose jobs were eliminated will receive severance pay and benefits for a limited time.
 
While a spokesperson for 3M would not speculate, analysts believe the jobs cuts will save the company $170 million next year. Before the latest round of firings, 3M had already cut 1,000 workers in the third quarter of this year. Another 500 employees could lose their jobs by the end of December. In addition, the company has lowered its 2008 profit outlook and its 2009 forecast. "During these difficult economic times, we will continue to aggressively manage our costs," says 3M CEO George Buckley. "We are prepared to implement additional restructuring as economic conditions dictate."

3M is also closing 10 manufacturing, technical and office facilities around the world.
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MORE NEWS
Boundless Network Acquires Petty Marketing Group
Video Report: How To Prep Your Biz For ’09
Advertising Spending In Decline
ASI Internet Radio Is On The Air
Distributor Suggests Recession-Proof Products
The Joe Show: Healthy Products
Surveys: Global Hiring Slows
Join The Million Dollar Sales Summit
Counselor Seeking Nominations for Product Design Awards
Commenting comes to ASICentral
In the News
People on the Move
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THE ASI SHOW!
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Boundless Network Acquires Petty Marketing Group
Another week, another acquisition for Boundless Network (asi/143717). The Austin, TX-based distributor completed its seventh acquisition of the year with its purchase of Petty Marketing Group on Monday. "We're built for speed. We can do one of these a week," Boundless CEO Jason Black says. "We've got a first-class infrastructure that can run really fast. We can do an acquisition a week if the opportunity presented it. But we're not focused on doing any acquisition other than the right acquisition."

The Tennessee-based distributorship started by Ralph Petty a decade ago has grown into a multi-million dollar business. The three offices of PMG will be joining Boundless along with Petty himself and a "high percentage" of the distributor's employees, according to Black. PMG will keep its name for now but will transition into the Boundless name sometime into 2009. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, though Black said that cash, earn-out pay and stock options were all part of the acquisition.

"I explored several options while searching for the right distributor partner for Petty Marketing Group," Petty says. "Boundless Network's innovative approach made it the clear choice for our company. Other distributors simply function as a bank, but Boundless is a true strategic business partner, and its platform is already positively impacting our business and the value we provide our clients."

Boundless last week acquired Texas-based distributor Custom Solutions (asi/173250) and has expressed similarly aggressive plans for 2009, targeting distributorships with revenues between $2 million and $10 million. Says Black: "We see partnering with top professionals as our key growth strategy in 2009. Our goal is to continue to reach out and interview top distributorships and professionals. We'll continue to be opportunistic."

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Video Report: How To Prep Your Biz For '09
Wondering what steps you can take to prepare your company for a good start
in 2009? Counselor PromoGram launched a Gearing Up For '09 video series last week, which offers distributors some tips for kickstarting their 2009 business now.

Throughout the month of December, each week we'll offer different strategies – from tax planning and supplier paring to client visits and budget cuts – that cover a broad array of disciplines within distributor businesses.

Click here to check this week's installment of this Gearing Up For 2009 video series.

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Advertising Spending In Decline
Two new studies are forecasting cutbacks in marketing over the holidays and going into 2009, including a significant drop in U.S. advertising spending and the first decrease in global spending in eight years. A survey from BDO Seidman, a Chicago-based professional services firm, reported that over 30% of nationwide retailers will reduce ad spending during the holidays due to weaker sales, while almost half predicted it to be flat. Only a quarter of the chief marketing officers polled said they expected to boost advertising heading in the final holiday stretch.

Catherine Fox-Simpson, a retail and consumer products expert at BDO Seidman, says advertising and marketing are often cut first during downturns. "This holiday season, we can expect that advertising buys will be very targeted, and in some cases more conservative," Fox-Simpson said. The survey found most retailers focusing on newspaper and magazine ads, followed by radio, television and the Internet.

The data doesn't look much better for 2009, according to Zenith, a London-based unit of Publicis Groupe that advises companies on ad purchases. The group is forecasting a 6.2% drop in ad spending in the U.S. That compares to only a .2% drop worldwide for a total of $490.5 billion. "This is about consumer confidence and consumer spending," said Bruce Goerlich, head of U.S. research for Zenith in New York. "More than any recession in the recent past, this will be driven by consumers, and when consumer spending takes a hit, advertising takes a hit."


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ASI Internet Radio Is On The Air
Every Tuesday morning from 10:30am eastern time to 11:00am, a team of ASI editors will be debating the most important topics facing the industry. Oh, and we'll also be offering our own off-beat look at the market. This morning, we broadcast live from our home studios in Trevose, PA. We discussed strategies for thriving in a down economy, why ROI is vital to marketers today, and how some sports sponsorships are fading away. We also helped callers with their current employee dilemmas.    

If you missed the show, don't worry. A recording is now available at www.asicentral.com/radio. And, don't forget to join us next Tuesday morning, December 16, at 10:30 am eastern time when we'll bring some festive cheer to your holiday season. Of course, we'll also be taking calls from the audience, so please do give us a ring at 215-953-4979 to hear your voice on the air.

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Distributor Suggests Recession-Proof Products
With companies searching for the most cost-effective ways to use their advertising budgets, ePromos Promotional Products, Inc. (asi/188515) has released a list of specialty items that could thrive in the current economic downturn. "While goofy freebie items were seen as a symptom of dot-com excess, practical promos are the ideal advertising vehicle during a recession," says Jason Robbins, president of ePromos. "We feel consumers will respond very favorably to businesses that use their advertising budgets to help their customers in a time of need."

A recent ASI study showed the average cost-per-impression of a promotional product is now $0.004. By comparison, per impression, traditional forms of print and broadcast advertising are more expensive. "During a time when we're facing turbulent economic conditions, this research advises marketers and business owners to invest in advertising specialties now more than ever," says ASI president and CEO Tim Andrews.

For its list, ePromos has chosen products consumers could be more likely to use in a recession. For example, the Jumbo Reusable Tote could become popular if taxes on plastic bags increase. The Insulated Lunch Bag may be used more often as people take lunch to work, rather than eating out. Instead of buying bottled water, consumers may opt to drink tap water, making The Aluminum Sports Bottle a helpful product. ePromos also suggests the Color Ring Stainless Steel Tumbler and Drawstring Backpack as good bargains. "As people hold onto these items longer and use them more, the same investment in product gets you much more visibility," says Mark Yokoyama, director of marketing and merchandising for ePromos. "In this economic climate the average person isn't going to throw away something useful, so the cost per impression goes way down."

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The Joe Show: Healthy Products
Just in time for the post-holiday fitness craze, Managing Editor Joe Haley has decided to get healthy this week. On this episode of The Joe Show, he's showing off some of the coolest healthy products on the market today. Do you have a gym client or health store as a client? These innovative products are perfect for their next campaigns.

Click here to watch this healthy-products edition of The Joe Show.

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Surveys: Global Hiring Slows
Further cementing the bleak economic outlook, more employers worldwide say they plan to hire less in the next three months, according to surveys released this week. "The vast majority of employers are telling us that they will take a 'wait and see' approach before hiring or further reducing staff," says Jeffrey Joerres, chairman of Manpower, a staffing company that conducted one of the surveys. "Unless they see more positive economic signals, it will be a rougher road for job seekers."

Manpower surveyed 71,000 firms for its quarterly report. Respondents in Asia-Pacific economies expressed the greatest pessimism, highlighting the weakest hiring plans in the survey's history. Meanwhile, the Manpower index that measures the employment outlook in the U.S. was actually up one point, the first increase in five quarters. However, the index is down seven points compared to this time last year, a significant drop.

According to a separate survey conducted by The Conference Board, a non-profit research group, job losses in the U.S. are now on pace to reach 3 million by mid-2009. The Board's monthly employment index declined again in November, falling 13% from the same period in 2007. The US Labor Department reported on Friday that 533,000 people lost their jobs in November, the highest number in 34 years. The unemployment rate has now reached 6.7%, the highest since 1993.

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Join The Million Dollar Sales Summit
Attention high-performing distributor sales reps: ASI has a targeted and exclusive learning opportunity that's taking place during The ASI Show in Orlando on January 3, 2009. During the Million-Dollar Sales Summit, you'll be one of the first reps in the industry to receive a copy of ASI's groundbreaking Advertising Specialties Impressions Study, which will give you powerful ammunition to convince clients to increase their budgets for promotional products. This study compares the ROI of promotional products against other advertising mediums.

Additionally, you'll hear from a nationally-recognized sales strategy consultant, who will focus on leveraging your client base in these economically-challenging times. The program will conclude with a networking reception where you will have a chance to network with peers and talk with key industry suppliers about trends for their product line in 2009.

Click here for more information and to register for the Million-Dollar Sales Summit.


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Counselor Seeking Nominations for Product Design Awards
Have a great product? Don't miss the chance to have it recognized in Counselor magazine's Product Design Awards. Distributors and suppliers are both invited to nominate their favorite industry suppliers' eye-catching products in the following categories: Apparel/Caps; Awards & Recognition; Bags; Calendars; Desk Accessories; Electronics/Computer Accessories; Gift Cards; Housewares/Drinkware; Meeting Products; Pens; Sporting Goods; and Watches & Jewelry.

Please click here for more information and submission guidelines. Questions? Contact Karen Akers at kakers@asicentral.com.


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Commenting comes to ASICentral
As part of ASICentral.com's ongoing upgrade, users are now offered the option to post comments and rate pieces of content in our Hot Markets] section, and will gradually be offered this feature in all of ASICentral's content areas, such as press releases, magazine articles, etc …

Curious? Take a look at the feature, for example, on the bottom of this Hot Markets article page. (NOTE: must be logged into ASICentral.) And for a complete breakdown of the comments/rating functionality, check out the Team Blog post!

Got questions, comments or any type of feedback regarding this feature or anything ASICentral, don't hesitate to contact us at feedback@asicentral.com.


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In the News
Adventures in Advertising (asi/109480) has donated more than 1,000 non-perishable and personal care items to a Wisconsin food bank.

CleggPromo (asi/45450) will become the exclusive industry supplier of Tangle Creations, beginning January 1.

Continental Clothing Co. (asi/46410) has added organic and low carbon tote bags to its EarthPositive product collection.

Dancing Deer Baking Co. (asi/48310) has consolidated its operations and relocated into a larger facility in Hyde Park, MA.

Neely Manufacturing (asi/73510) announced that it will end 2008 with record sales, led by its U.S.-made tote bag line.

Pencoa/The Supermatic Line (asi/77040) has announced its Customer Loyalty Program winners for September: First Prize ($250) - Promotion Plus; Second Prize ($150) - Glick Advertising Specialties Inc.; Third Prize ($50) - ASAP Promotions.

Proforma (asi/300094) is ranked by Print Professional magazine as the #2 Top Distributor for 2008, based on annual sales figures.

R.S. Owens (asi/75530) helped design and manufacture an award for Queen Rania of Jordan.

The Allen Company (asi/34330) has introduced its 50th Anniversary Catalog.

The Book Company (asi/41010) recently hosted three special guests from Random House, continuing its strong relationship with the book publisher.

UPS, an ASI affiliate, announced that is now offering several environmentally-friendly shipping options, including Reusable Express Envelopes.

World Emblem (asi/98264) will launch a new Web site and on-line catalog on January 1.


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People on the Move
HTT Headwear and Apparel (asi/58842) has hired Dan Pigott and Ron Remer. They will work as part of a new sales group in the New England territory.

Millennium Leather, LLC (asi/71235) has announced the hiring of Brisk Enterprises, Inc. to provide independent sales representation in the New York and Mid-Atlantic regions starting January 1.

Proforma (asi/300094) announced that it has added 13 new owners to its network.

Tru Art Advertising Calendars (asi/92255) has named Tom Rempp to the position of director of marketing.

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The ASI SHOW!

THE FREE REGISTRATION DEADLINE FOR ASIORLANDO – THE FIRST NATIONAL SHOW OF THE YEAR – HAS BEEN EXTENDED 
The excitement for ASI Orlando (January 3-5) is growing, with pre-registration numbers up 10% from 2008. Featuring weekend dates, a fun trade show destination, 800 leading suppliers, over 85 free education sessions and an inspiring Keynote by Tony Robbins (Sponsored by Broder Bros. Co., asi/42099), ASI Orlando is THE place to kick off the new sales season.

Due to popular demand, the FREE registration deadline for ASI distributor and decorator members has been extended to Friday, December 19. Register today at www.asishow.com. And, order your tickets to the acclaimed Gala Celebration, returning to Universal Studios by popular demand (Sponsored by SnugZ USA, asi/88060). This year's Gala will feature private access to exciting rides, like Men in Black, Jaws and The Simpson Ride; an open bar; a wide-variety of food at a choice of restaurants and live entertainment and dancing. During ASI Orlando's around-the-clock networking, you are sure to cultivate important business relationships. Plan to attend free receptions, including ASI's 2009 Fashion Show and the Counselor Distributor Choice Awards.
Visit www.asishow.com or call 877-ASI-SHOW for more information.

WIN $100 WORTH OF FREE GAS WHEN YOU REGISTER FOR ASI DALLAS – TOMORROW IS THE DEADLINE TO BE ENTERED
Ten lucky winners will enjoy $100 worth of FREE gas when they register for ASI Dallas (February 4-6) by Wednesday, December 10. The largest show in the Southwest will feature an action-packed, three-day schedule that will include a comprehensive education conference; a free factory tour of ASI supplier ThermoServ; a brand-new Lunch & Learn program entitled STIR THE POT!™ How to Put Marketing Into Action and Turn Your Company Into a Marketing Machine and one-on-one time with 600 top suppliers. Additionally, Don Hutson, co-author of the newly released book The One Minute Entrepreneur, will be headlining an inspiring free Keynote on Friday, February 6. (All Keynote attendees will receive a FREE copy of Don Hutson's new book.)

Register today for ASI Dallas at www.asishow.com and order your discounted tickets to the famed Ultimate Texas Bash at Eddie Deen's Ranch. ASI distributor and decorator members can enjoy free admission and a free hotel room.

ORDER YOUR DISCOUNTED TICKETS TO AN EVENING AT THE TOP OF THE ROCK AT ASI NEW YORK

Moving to the first quarter (March 8-10), ASI New York – the first and only major industry trade show in New York – promises to be an event like no other. Register today at www.asishow.com and plan to attend the brand-new Evening at The Top of the Rock, Order your tickets by December 15 and enjoy a sophisticated night of fun on the 64th floor of Rockefeller Center for only $40.  

Located in one of the world's leading travel destinations, ASI New York will feature hundreds of cutting-edge suppliers, top-notch education and around-the-clock networking. Plus, you'll enjoy an exclusive Keynote by best-selling author of Just Ask a Woman: Cracking the Code of What Women Want and How They Buy, Mary Lou Quinlan. Her interactive program will discuss how customer service excellence will define who wins...and who doesn't in these challenging times.

Register today at www.asishow.com. Or, call 877-ASI-SHOW with any questions. ASI distributor and decorator members can enjoy free admission and a free hotel room for ASI New York. 

THE ASI ADVANTAGES ROADSHOW LAUNCHES ITS 2009 TOUR IN JANUARY

The industry's #1 traveling show, the ASI Advantages Roadshow, starts its 18-week, 2009 schedule on January 19 in the Northeast (Boston, Jan. 19; Long Island, Jan. 20; New Jersey, Jan. 21; Philadelphia, Jan. 22 and Baltimore, Jan. 23). Visiting more than 70 top cities throughout North America, the Advantages Roadshow provides the perfect opportunity for leading suppliers to spend quality, one-on-one time with distributors in a local, intimate environment.

All distributors are invited to attend the Advantages Roadshow for free. Exhibit hours are 9 a.m.-1 p.m., with free education (sponsored by Fields Mfg., asi/54100) from 7:45 a.m-9:00 a.m. and 1 p.m.-2 p.m. Visit www.advantagesroadshow.com for complete details.

The following are the dates and locations for The ASI Show in 2009:
Orlando: January 3-5
Dallas: February 4-6
New York: March 8-10
Chicago: July 21-23
ASI Holiday & Incentives Expo, Las Vegas: September 16-17
Plus, don't miss the ASI Advantages Roadshow, the industry's #1 traveling show. Visit www.advantagesroadshow.com for the complete schedule!



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Counselor® PromoGram® is a trademark of the Advertising Specialty Institute. You were sent this newsletter as a benefit of your ASI membership. Copyright 2008, ASI. All Rights Reserved.
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