Norwood Says Cease-And-Desist Letters Are Fakes Counselor Top 40 supplier Norwood Promotional Products reports that someone is sending false “cease and desist” letters to distributors about the company’s Koozie products. The letters are signed “Mark R. Richter,” who is identified as vice president and general counsel of Norwood , and an Atlanta address appears on the letterhead. Norwood says that no one named Mark Richter works for the company, and it doesn’t have an Atlanta office. The firm is asking distributors to send any letters they receive to Norwood so company officials can study the postmarks. If distributors have any concerns about this matter, they can call Norwood vice president and general counsel, Kathleen Burns, at (317)275-2500.
In other Norwood news, the supplier recently announced it will be closing its New London , WI , plant and moving production operations for subsidiaries Action Line (asi/31010) and Tee Off (asi/90740) to Norwood ’s Red Wing, MN, facility. CEO Tom Roller says that the move will eliminate duplication of efforts and reduce overhead. The Red Wing plant already houses Norwood subsidiaries Econ-O-Line (asi/51625), Pillowline (78105) and Sentry Safety (asi/86410).
Russ Woodlief Ailing
Russ Woodlief, former executive with Counselor Top 40 distributors Brown & Bigelow (asi/148500) and Jack Nadel Inc. (asi/279600), is seriously ill at his California home and would like to hear from his industry friends. Send a note to 641 Cabot Court, Napa, CA 94559. Or call (707)251-8436. Woodlief was The Counselor’s Person of the Year in 1979. We wish him well.
A Little Bit Of Sun In These Earnings Reports Several public companies with connections to the promotional products industry announced their quarterly sales recently, and the news was good. A.T. Cross Co. (asi/47520), which does about a third of its business in promotional products, saw its sales increase nearly 12% to $29.3 million in the first quarter of 2004. Cross’ margins were up a bit, but costs related to a recent restructuring led to a net loss of about $700,000.
Meanwhile, Dixon Ticonderoga Co. (asi/50150), which does less than 10% of its business in the industry, saw flat sales in first three months of the year, though it still earned a slight profit - $26,000 - above its own restructuring costs. It had lost more than $100,000 during the same period last year.
Finally, things were better at Gilden Activewear Inc., which supplies wearables to industry suppliers. The firm saw sales jump 25% to $141 million in the first quarter of the year. Profits were up roughly 7%.
Hong Kong Gift Show Draws U.S. Distributors With the SARs epidemic now a distant memory, The 2004 Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Fair rebounded, delivering a mammoth show with more than 56,000 attendees from 33 countries touring the booths of 3,400 exhibitors. Many in the promotional products industry worried that the Hong Kong show, held April 28 to May 1 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibitors Centre, offers a way for distributors to get into direct importing. This year's show saw dozens, if not hundreds, of distributors in attendance. "You wouldn't believe how many distributors I recognized," says Maureen Williams, former publisher of Corporate Logo magazine, who attended the Hong Kong show. "It kind of makes you wonder what's going on."
Many of the leaders of the various international organizations tout a different message. Two years ago they formed a group called the International Federation of Promotional Products Associations, which is an umbrella organization consisting of national associations from Canada, the United States, Australia, Europe, Mexico, and Britain. According to one IFPPA member, Kurt R. Reckziegel, president of the Promotional Products Association of Canada, the group was there to explain things. “The title of our presentation says it all: Exploring a Unique Industry with a Unique Structure,” Reckziegel says. “We were there to tell them that we think, in the long term, the best way to do business is to follow the supply line that has served our industry very, very well over many, many years, and that’s the supplier-to-distributor-to-client relationship.”
Look for a full report on this year's Hong Kong show in the July issue of The Counselor.
ASI President Recognized for Innovative Product Development The Association of Independent Information Professionals has named ASI president Timothy M. Andrews as the recipient of its 2004 Roger Summit Award. Andrews is best known among information professionals as the founding president and chief executive of Factiva, a Dow Jones/Reuters joint venture for online news and business information. He spent 16 years at Dow Jones, where he launched the first real-time news alerting products in the industry and introduced a Web-based version of Dow Jones Interactive. He also developed and launched Personal Journal, later incorporated into The Wall Street Journal Online. “It’s quite an honor to be recognized by this international group of information professionals,” says Andrews. “I’m proud on my work on Factiva and glad for the opportunity to bring the same dedication to the promotional products industry.”
Do As I Say, Not As I Do A group of doctors have come out strongly against pharmaceutical companies using even the most basic promotional products. What’s ironic is that they’re using an imprinted pen to spread their message! Their Web site (www.nofreelunch.org) was set up by Dr. Robert Goodman, who is asking doctors to send him all the pens they get from pharmaceutical companies, offering to send one pen with a red-bar, “no-free-lunch” imprint. (The pens Goodman gets will be donated to charity.) The site also offers mugs, t-shirts and pins.
Interesting Imprinting Ideas
Two interesting imprinting methods have been employed to make promotional products out of everyday items. First there’s Kentucky Fried Chicken, which attached KFC stickers to 3,200 real dollar bills and passed them out at the Fiesta Broadway festival in Los Angeles . The stickers could be peeled off and used as a $2-off coupon.
Then there’s Pringles potato chips, which will use food coloring to print Trivial Pursuit questions on individual chips. (The answers are printed upside down.)
Give you any ideas?
Industry Firms In The News CorpLogoWare LLC (asi/168827) has negotiated a contract to provide merchandise for the U.S. Olympic Committee. Their offerings can be seen at www.usolympiclogoware.com.
American Apparel LLC (asi/35297) and its maverick owner Dov Charney are getting a lot of mileage out of their living-wage, made-in-the-USA message. Both the Associated Press and U.S. News & World Report magazine profiled Charney recently. Dov’s practice of paying an average of $12.50 an hour plus health benefits to his 1,700 workers drew notice. Experts quoted in the story say that the right mix of style and social consciousness is necessary to market apparel that’s obviously more expensive than its competitors.
Corporate Incentive Solutions LLC (asi/168979) has opened offices serving New York and Washington, D.C. CIS now has a staff of 50, including a sales staff of 30.
Island Pen (asi/62910) has promoted Cindy Kronen to vice president and Jodi Cannizzo to plant/production manager.
Do You Have An Online Bidding Story For Us? We’re still anxious to hear about your experiences with online bidding. It all stems from an email we recently got from a distributor who was bidding online for General Electric Co. through an online bidding company called Procuri. The timed bidding process was continually extended until the price dropped below cost. Anything like this ever happen to you? Drop an email to email@example.com.
Double-Check Supplier Information Supplier Debco Manufacturing Co. (asi/48880) of Pasadena, CA, continues to get calls and faxes from distributors trying to reach Debco Bags (asi/48885) of Ontario, Canada. They’re asking distributors to please double-check the contact name and information of each supplier they’re trying to reach.
ASI PRODUCT/SERVICE SPOTLIGHT
Marketing Tip Of The Week: Priming Print Media In Public Relations, it’s the relationships that count. Know as much as possible beforehand about the publication you’re pitching to. Read the publication to learn the focus of the editor or reporter.
A well-written pitch letter, or a phone call to a reporter with whom you have established a trusting relationship, will work as well as a press release, if not better.
Remember, nothing is ever off the record. Only speak about issues where you feel comfortable being quoted.
And never interview on a cell phone. Reporters don’t like to be cut off in mid-sentence. Make all media calls from a land line.
Take Home A Free Education CD From The Chicago ASI Show! When you attend both show days (July 14 & 15) at the Chicago ASI Show, the first 1,000 attendees through the exhibit hall doors on day 2 (Thursday) will receive a FREE EDUCATION CD (www.nrstaping.com/cds/asi2/) that includes audio recordings from more than 50 education sessions selected from a cross-section of the first-quarter ASI Shows! This first-time-ever offer is valued at more than $500! You’ll take home vast insights, comprehensive lessons and proven sales strategies to share with the rest of your office, simply by attending the Chicago ASI Show both show days. Be there early on Thursday, July 15 to pick up your free education CD!
Special Hyatt Regency McCormick Place Rates At Chicago ASI Show! The ASI Show has worked hard negotiating new rates at the conveniently located Hyatt Regency McCormick Place (www.asishow.com/chicago/Ch04ShowHotelsD.html)— right in the Convention Center — at the incredibly low price of $179 a night! Distributors who currently hold reservations at the Hyatt will automatically get the reduced rate. The ASI Show has secured as many rooms as possible at this low rate. But they won’t last, so please be sure to make your arrangements soon.
The ASI Show! Chicago (http://www.asishow.com/Chicago/CH04IndexD.html0, July 13-15, 2004 , is the clear choice for distributors and suppliers looking for proven ways to grow sales in the second half of the selling year. For more information, visit www.asishow.com.
OF THE WEEK
The BILBOW from ViZo (asi/72150) The BILBOW is truly a new product. The name explains the product, which “bows the bill” of a cap your way. Designed to bend, stay on and hold the cap bill shape, your logo is highly visible at all times. You’ll also feel the difference in comfort and fit. The BILBOW can be customized to include a second emblem, as well as be used as a ballmarker or represent your favorite sport/time-driven event.
And for other new and creative products, visit the Product Central section on ASICentral.com.
May 24-27 Traveling Showcase
National Specialty Advertising Showcase (NSA)
Salt Lake City, Denver, Albuquerque, Phoenix
Info: (361)949-1857; Fax: (361)949-7460 firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2004 Chicago ASI Show!
McCormick Place , Chicago www.asishow.com
June 6-10 Promotions East
Sponsored by Specialty Advertising Assn. of Greater New York, New England Promotional Products Assn., Specialty Advertising Counselors of the Delaware Valley, Chesapeake Promotional Products Assn., Mid-Atlantic Promotional Products Assn., Three Rivers Advertising Specialty Assn.
Atlantic City, NJ
Info: (201)505-9550; Fax: (201) 05-9520 email@example.com