Yes, Trump Really Appeared at the ASI Power Summit

Monday November 21, 2016 | Filed under: 2016

ASI celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Power Summit a few short days before a very divisive presidential election. By mere happenstance, the annual gathering of about 200 industry members took place at a Trump resort outside Miami. And, unbelievably, Trump himself was in residence.

You really can’t make this stuff up.

When it comes to politics, ASI doesn’t take sides – except on one thing: We always want the promotional products industry to win. And, in this election, it did. It’s worth noting that Trump spent nearly five times as much as Clinton on promotional merchandise like his ubiquitous “Make America Great Again” hat to woo voters and advertise his candidacy.

FYI, we’d booked the Trump resort well before Trump entered the race and had no idea we’d cross paths with the president-elect during the Power Summit.

To be fair, we shipped life-size cutouts of both candidates to Miami and showcased a number of Clinton and Trump promo products, like the popular talking pens and the Trump socks. We also conducted an actual straw poll – and our members called it, five days before the election, picking Trump over Clinton.

Like him or not, Trump was gracious to ASI staff, patiently posed for photos and even let us record a greeting we shared with attendees on opening day. The secret service, and a boatload of police, were present, but unobtrusive. Some guests didn’t even realize Trump was at the resort – unless they passed him in the lobby or saw him at breakfast.

It was exciting and a little unsettling. As anyone who’s ever run a business knows, you always strive to respect everyone’s feelings. Emotions ran high throughout this election and I really wrestled over showing the video greeting. But Trump was the elephant in the room, so to speak, so in the end I decided to address it head-on.

Some people gasped. Others laughed – or applauded. Later, everyone who saw a pic of me and Trump together asked the same two questions:

What about the hair? Unfortunately, it was mostly covered by a black-and-orange version of his signature hat – a promo product that played a starring role in his campaign. And how many photos of himself did he have on the walls? I counted 11 in the lobby and a gathering place just off the main entrance, but most were fairly small.

All in all, it was a fascinating experience. Trump is now the president-elect and my chief concern is how his administration and new policies will impact the promotional products industry. ASI has covered the election for months as it relates to our industry and we’ll continue to post relevant industry news on our website,

As for next year’s Power Summit, I can’t promise any celebrity appearances, but I know we’ll provide new ideas and strategies that will help you continue to grow your business. The 2017 Power Summit will take place a little earlier in the year, Sunday, October 22, through Tuesday, October 24, at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego, CA. The special early-bird registration rate is $1,495 until December 15.

My thanks to everyone who attended the 2016 event and provided valuable feedback afterward. It was gratifying to hear from attendees like Chris Sinclair, CEO of Ontario-based Brand Blvd, who said, “Such a great group of people, excellent networking and a bit of fun mixed in. There was a ton of value and takeaways in the speakers and panels, loved the format!”

Thanks, Chris – and to everyone who helped make this another memorable industry gathering.

Click here for a recap of all the action, including video interviews with several of our speakers. To download pics from throughout our time in Miami – from gators to golf – visit ASI’s Facebook page.