Promotions East Show Sluggish; But Not Without Controversy After four years of steady growth, last week's Promotions East show, held at the Atlantic City Convention Center, saw slower-than-usual attendee traffic – noticeably slower (to the dismay of exhibitors) than previous years. Although final attendance numbers won't be released until later this week, Walter Schatz, executive director of SAAGNY, acknowledges that traffic seemed "a little off" from previous years. "After many years of growth, I think what we saw was a leveling off, a stabilization of the numbers," he says. By Schatz's estimate, attendee numbers were only down
by 100 or so from last year. Others would beg to differ. Last year's attendee number was 4,678 – up from 5% over the previous year; early estimates show this year's to be 4,255 – down 9% from 2003. One exhibitor noted that she only had 200 scans for the entire show – and on the last day only had three scans all day. "I just found it very hard to believe they had 4,000 distributors pre-registered," she said. "I ended up wasting so much money on freight getting catalogs and flyers to – and then back home – from the show because I sent quantities based on the pre-registered numbers."
"Overall, we felt that the show traffic was down from prior year," says Sam DiBiase, VP of Leed's (asi/66887). "Many suppliers were complaining about the slow pace of the show. I didn't hear positive comments from any supplier [about] the number of distributors walking the show floor. Our stats were up from 2003, but the show definitely felt slower. Suppliers were at a loss to try to explain the softness of the show, since the weather was great, the location and timing hasn't changed and this remains a driving show for many distributors, making it a cost effective show to attend." David Graham, managing consultant of the Distributor Success Company and a Promotions East attendee for the past few years, also thought the show traffic wasn't as good as in previous years. "One vendor informed me that his 'scan rate' was about 20% down [from] last year," Graham says.
Though the show itself has cooled, the decision by Promotions East's board of directors to allow iPromoteU (asi/232119), a distributor franchise operation, to exhibit at the show had some distributor attendees very hot. Many distributors, particularly the larger firms, feel as though iPromoteU is there to recruit their distributor salespeople to start their own distributorship (with iPromoteU's financial and technological help, of course). "[Their presence here] undermines the main purpose of having our salespeople at a show," says Gene Geiger, president of Top 40 distributor Geiger (asi/202900). Ross Silverstein, president & CEO of iPromoteU, says he was personally invited to exhibit repeatedly by people on behalf of Schatz and Promotions East, and that his company offers a legitimate service to people looking to start their own distributorship. Asked if he solicits distributor salespeople, Silverstein's response was an unequivocal "no." Due to some distributors' outrage over seeing iPromoteU exhibiting, Schatz says the board is currently working on a policy statement to deal with this kind of situation in the future. And in response to Sliverstein's claim that someone on Schatz's and Promotions East's behalf have been asking him to exhibit for two years, Schatz scoffs and calls the comment "inappropriate."
A full follow-up report on Promotions East will appear in the August issue of The Counselor.
�� Beanstalk U.S./Canada Purchased By Company Executives
In case you missed our special EXTRA! edition PromoGram last week, the promotional merchandise division of Counselor Top 40 distributor Beanstalk Group (asi/155460) has been purchased from Ford Motor Co. by a small group of investors, including some company executives. Terms were not disclosed. Steve Lemberg, who has been with Beanstalk and its predecessors, HALO and CCA, for eight years (CFO at CCA, COO at HALO, executive vice president at Beanstalk), will serve as president/CEO of the firm. Former president Jon Sloan will assume the title of executive vice president of sales/marketing. The firm will use the name Beanstalk Promotional Products under its current ASI number for a transitional period of several months, at which time a new name will be developed.
In addition to U.S.-based Beanstalk, its Canadian promotional merchandise division, formerly Beanstalk Group Canada, has also been purchased by investors in a separate deal. Mark Freed, who was president of the division, will now serve as president/CEO. Until a new name is established, the firm will temporarily be called Beanstalk Canada . “There really won’t be any major changes,” Freed says. “Even though we’re now separate companies, we’ll continue to work with Beanstalk USA and service our international clients together. We’ll also continue to work with Ford of Canada as a client. There are no changes in management, and it will essentially be business as usual. The change will be even more seamless that that in the states.”
Huffy Gets Early Warning Letter From NYSE Huffy Sports (asi/62020) received a letter from the New York Stock Exchange saying the sports company is in danger of losing its place on the exchange. The so-called “early warning letter” says that Huffy’s loss of market capitalization might disqualify it from listing. Huffy’s stock has recently traded at below a $1 a share, a level that often triggers action from the NYSE. The letter, however, said that Huffy was not required to take any action at this time.
Norwood Program Redeems 10,000,000th Point Norwood Promotional Products, which took some in the industry by surprise when it announced a points-for-purchase program directed at distributor salespeople last year, has announced the redemption of the program’s ten-millionth point. Doug Patchin, Norwood ’s vice president of eCommerce, says, “We’re very pleased with the success of the Norwood Rewards program. With over 9,000 distributor salespeople registered, as we continue to promote the program and more distributorships participate, we expect enrollment to jump to well over 15,000 this year alone.” The most popular items redeemed by distributor salespeople are travel award points, DVD players, digital camcorders/cameras, TVs and DVD/VCR combo players.
Rubbermaid Debuts New Line Rubbermaid has introduced a new line of cooking accessories with a stand that elevates the head of a utensil so it doesn’t touch germ-friendly kitchen counters. The company also says it has incorporated ergonomic design and easy-to-read measurements to help cooks. A new pizza wheel, for example, has an angled handle that provides better leverage so you can use less force to cut your pizza. These utensils are obviously imprintable, and since Rubbermaid’s parent, Newell Rubbermaid, is also parent of Counselor Top 40 supplier Sanford Business-to-Business (asi/84833), perhaps we’ll soon see these products in our industry. Give you any ideas?
Defunct League Logos Get New Life On T-Shirts A new Web site (www.classicsportslogos.com) has hit paydirt by featuring old sports teams. The enterprise has bought up the logos of teams of defunct leagues like the World Football League, the American Basketball Association, the National Lacrosse League and many others. Owner Chris Anderson told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he is surprised how much interest there is for seeing the old logos on new T-shirts. Not only are older fans who remember the leagues buying, but young people are picking up shirts because they like the garish colors from the 1970s. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by how much gold there is in old logos and old advertisements. This month’s issue of Business 2.0 magazine has story on Thought Equity, a Denver-based company that combs though unused commercials at Ad Agencies to find high-quality filmed material that can be sold for pennies to another advertiser.
PSI-20/20 Out Of Business PSI-20/20 (asi/289037), a former major sports-marketing firm and distributorship, is apparently out of business. Phone calls elicit a recorded message that says the number is disconnected, and Cincinnati-area directory information has no listing for the firm at its former (or any other) address. Sources within the industry have told PromoGram that one of the main causes of the firm's demise was financial mismanagament by several PSI-20/20 executives. More info as we get it.
People On The Move: Tranter Graphics (asi/91880) has named Kelly Drinkwine assistant sales/marketing manager.
Newton Manufacturing Co. (asi/283300) has named Tom Elsbernd sales training director.
Corporate Incentive Solutions (asi/168979) has opened a Washington, DC-area office.
Summit Marketing Atlanta (asi/339129) has named David Torres art director.
ASI PRODUCT/SERVICE SPOTLIGHT
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Spot The Sticker And Win An iPod
ASInternet gave away five iPods valued at $299 a piece at the Promotions East show in Atlantic City to promote LogoMall, a comprehensive online solution. To win, attendees picked up their LogoMall stickers at the ASI booth and wore them on the show floor. If spotted wearing the LogoMall, the “secret spotter” randomly awarded the iPod to the winner instantly. Congratulations to the winners:
ASInternet will be giving away even more iPods at the ASI Show in Chicago . LogoMall stickers are available at the ASI booth.
So Big You Can’t See It All In One Day? Don’t Worry. It Costs So Little You Don’t Have To!
T he Chicago ASI Show , July 13-15, is the industry’s largest national event this summer. With free education spanning over three days, nearly 800 suppliers on one show floor, 200 new Chicago exhibitors, the largest Advantages New Product Showcase ever, daily networking events and countless free benefits, you can’t possibly take advantage of everything the ASI Show has to offer in less than two days!
There’s still time to order discounted tickets to the Gala Celebration. Enjoy the industry's most popular networking party—this year at the House of Blues! Eat, drink, dance, network and celebrate your early show successes at the House of Blues. Live entertainment includes Chicago’s top dance party band, Front of House. Tickets are $75 on site.
Better hurry. The deadline to make hotel reservations at an official ASI Show hotel is tomorrow! To take advantage of new lower rates at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place ($179) or to enjoy a stay at Chicago ’s famous Hilton Towers ($159), you must reserve your hotel room before June 16 with G.R.I., the official housing company of the ASI Show.
Visit www.asishow.com to learn more about the Chicago ASI Show. To register for the July 13-15 event, click here or call (800)546-3300 to request a registration form.
PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
Five-Panel Pro Style Caps from Otto International (asi/75350)
The cap has a 100% polyester foam-front and golf style 100% nylon mesh back. Features include:
And for other new and creative products, visit the Product Central section on ASICentral.com.
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