Five Bridges Closes According to a letter posted on its Web site, Tucson, AZ-based supplier Five Bridges (asi/54455) is closing after 30 years in business. The letter goes on at length about the promotional products industry and several trends - China, NAFTA, energy prices, outsourcing, 9/11, etc. - that “portend a dismal future.” Despite these difficulties, Five Bridges says the final nail in the coffin is the building of an overpass next to its factory that changes the “structure and orientation” of the road making it “impossible to use our facility for manufacturing” without putting out hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The company is taking Pima County to court for the road work and the effect on its business, but the court date is not until December, while the work has already begun. Therefore, the firm has chosen to stop taking orders and will close effective June 30.
�� Good News For Advertising
There’s been some good news about the advertising industry lately. New York-based TNS Media Intelligence/CMR has revised its forecasts upward, noting that overall ad spending will jump 9.3% in 2004. A big election year and the Olympics are driving the good times. About $140 billion will be spent this year, the firm says, with Internet advertising expected to post the biggest gain (about 16%).
Carlson Hit With Additional Penalties The Minneapolis Star and Tribune reported yesterday that a federal judge in St. Louis has doubled a jury award for patent infringement against Carlson Marketing Group (asi/157786), which now must pay $21 million to St. Louis-based competitor Meridian Enterprises (asi/267950). In addition to socking Carlson with another $10.5 million in penalties, U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry ordered the firm to pay Meridian ’s attorney fees and prejudgment interest totaling $3.5 million. The jury found that Carlson Marketing’s Global Rewards, VIP and Ready Rewards sales-incentive programs copied Meridian ’s card-based incentive program for sales professionals of client firms. Meridian complained that Carlson Marketing, a unit of Minnetonka-based Carlson Companies, copied the electronic-incentive system that it actually had licensed to use from Meridian for a period in the late 1990s.
New England Business Shareholders To Act On Tender Offer Thursday is decision day for shareholders of New England Business Services Inc. (asi/282590), who are considering a tender offer by Deluxe Corp. Deluxe had recently extended its offer of $44 a share for 24 hours. New England shareholders have until midnight June 24 to agree to sell their shares. If Deluxe can get enough shares, it will acquire New England. If not, it can call the whole deal off.
Burnham Leaves SAGE-Quick Technologies Dennis Burnham, MAS, has left his position of director of special services with SAGE-Quick Technologies Inc. Burnham provided this statement: “I came to a mutual decision with Eric Natinsky, the company’s president, to terminate my employment at the end of last month. Although I was disappointed that QTI management did not adopt the sm@rt Guidelines I developed for PPAI in 2002, I am very proud of the extraordinary customer satisfaction I achieved during my brief tenure and I trust that SAGE ArtworkZone will continue providing artwork excellence to distributors. Working together with Ron Natinsky during 2003 was a rewarding experience and I am pleased that our personal friendship remains strong.” Burnham can be reached at 474 Sylvan Avenue, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632; (201)503-9102; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ronald Reagan Remembered With Promotional Products The nation’s week of sorrow and commemoration following the death of former president Ronald Reagan has echoed through a series of promotional products. One T-shirt imprinted with the words “Mourning in America ” is expected to sell thousands of copies, and sales of caps from the USS Ronald Reagan jumped 20% the week after he died. Even Reagan bobble-head dolls sold out. The number of Reagan-related items on eBay jumped from 10,000 to about 19,000 immediately following The Gipper’s passing.
Corrections In last week’s PromoGram, iPROMOTEu was described as a “franchise operation.” Actually, iPROMOTEu is a distributor network of over 130 independent distributors in 31 states throughout the U.S.
In the ASI Chicago Show Planner, Time Products International (asi/91320) was listed under the wrong booth number. TPI’s correct booth number for the ASI Chicago Show is 1641.
ASI PRODUCT/SERVICE SPOTLIGHT
Growing Excitement And Anticipation Over The Chicago ASI Show The Chicago ASI Show, July 13-15, is the industry’s largest national event this summer. You’ll find free education spanning over three days, nearly 800 suppliers, the largest Advantages New Product Showcase ever, daily networking events, amazing parties and more.
Excitement over The Gala Celebration has required the ASI Show to add another House of Blues venue to accommodate ticket demand. And the discount ticket deadline has been extended, so there’s still time to get tickets to this one-of-a-kind event for only $35. You don’t want to miss the great food, open bar and fun networking, as well as live entertainment, including Chicago ’s top dance party band, Front of House, in the Music Hall; the Back Porch Restaurant will feature live blues music. Order tickets by calling (800)546-3300.
Hundreds of new registrations are coming in each week and hotels are selling out quickly. Already, three properties are sold out. To take advantage of new lower rates at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place today, visit http://www.asishow.com/Chicago/Ch04RegisterNowD.html and reserve through G.R.I., the official housing company of the ASI Show. To register, click here or call (800)546-3300 to request a registration form.
OF THE WEEK
Lanyard-Sup-3 from AAA Line (asi/30015) These 3/8” Lanyard from AAA Line (asi/30015) come with your choice of attachments: