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Cast Your Vote for the Wearables Apparel Design Awards

Filed under: Uncategorized

Wearables magazine needs your help! Click here to vote for the products that you think have the best design appeal, wearability, performance attributes and can feature a logo attractively. The categories include classics like Performance Polos and Outerwear, plus trends like Organic Accessories and Multimedia Decoration.

So take a few minutes to voice your opinion; we only ask that you do your best not to get too distracted by the hot male model in the “organic scoop neck shirt.” (The prospect of voting just got a little more interesting, didn’t it!)

-KB


Dogg captioned

Filed under: General

after two weeks and hundreds of submissions (yeah, right), the winner of the “Caption this, Dogg” contest is …

michael rance, whose caption might elicit some groans as well as some laughs, is the big winner.


nice job, dude. oh, and in case you’re wondering what you win, it’s only bragging rights. no free lunch here … not yet.

–diesel DOGG


Advantages Gets an Online Facelift

Filed under: site updates

We just launched a redesigned version of Advantages magazine online, and we know you’re going to love it. The page offers current and archived articles, weekly “Sales Tips” videos, weekly polls that let you voice your opinion, and a lot more.

For those of you who can’t get enough of the monthly “Blast From the Past” page, you’ll be happy to know that you no longer have to wait an entire month to get your fix of funny: We’re now featuring a NEW “Blast From the Past” every single day! So make sure you log on, uh, every single day.

So check out the new and improved design (you can find it directly at AdvantagesMag.com), then post a comment or send an email to let us know what you think!

-KB


ASI Radio Show Halloween Costume Contest…and More!

Filed under: General

Going to an early Halloween party this weekend? Here’s what you need to do: Before you drink too much witches’ brew and end up getting annoyed by your fake beard/dreadlocks/nose ring/go-go dancer boots and rip it/them off and throw it/them on the floor where they’ll be trampled by a fun-loving Frankenstein or a Palin impersonator, have someone take lots of pictures of you in your costume.

After that’s done, just tune in to the ASI Radio Show this Tuesday at 10:30am to find out how your costume can win you $200! And as if that wasn’t enough, this Tuesday you’ll also find out if you’re the lucky winner of ASI’s “Mortgage for a Month” contest – and the 2K that goes with it. But no matter what, you’ll be a winner once you hear the expert advice and witty banter of the ASI editors at their best. (OK, it’s possible that senior editor Michele Bell might not be at her absolute best, but that’s only because the Radio Show airs so incredibly early in the morning and Michele’s a night owl, and you can’t blame a girl for her natural circadian rhythm!)

-KB


What Are You Thinking Right Now?

Filed under: General

Our team blog has been around for 3 weeks now, and we want to know what you think of it. And not just our blog – what are your thoughts about the ASICentral.com site as a whole, or the ad specialty industry, or the lousy economy, or whatever?

You can email us at feedback@asicentral.com or post comments here on our blog. Either way, let your voice be heard!

-KB


Third Quarter Industry Sales Revealed

Filed under: site updates

This just in! The results of Counselor’s recent industry survey show that 2008 third quarter distributor sales are down 1.56% vs. 2007 third quarter figures. So that doesn’t sound too bad, what with the current economy and all, right? But that 1.56% equals a net decrease of $79 million vs. the same quarter one year ago…and $79 million down sounds really bad. But then again, 40% of distributors surveyed reported an increase in sales this quarter vs. 37% who reported a decrease, and I’d say that’s pretty much a draw.

If you ask me, everything boils down to your personal efforts in your business. Like the insanely fluctuating stock market, industry sales are going to go up and down, and there’s nothing any of us can do about that, try as we might. But the old cliché still applies: you get out of something what you put into it (or something like that). Even if your clients have smaller budgets than in the past, they still need to appeal to and advertise to and reward their clients, which means they still need you. If you’re there for your buyers and offer them creative, exciting, brilliant products and marketing ideas, you’ll find yourself part of that successful 40% in the fourth quarter - I guarantee it.*

*Note: Not a guarantee.

-KB


2009 Counselor Distributor Choice Awards Voting Is Open

Filed under: General

Distributor Choice AwardsDistributors, you have a few favorite suppliers that you use over and over again, that you know you can count on in a pinch or on a crazy deadline, right? Well here’s your chance to thank those suppliers that go above and beyond. ASI’s annual Counselor Distributor Choice Awards recognize suppliers that unfailingly give you on-time delivery, superior products, great communication, and all the things you count on when running your business (you know, the things that make you want to tear your hair out when you don’t get them).

As the name implies, ASI doesn’t decide which suppliers make the cut – that’s all up to you. So cast your vote today, then find out the winning suppliers at the ASI Show in Orlando on January 3, 2009. We’ll also announce the winners in the February 2009 issue of Counselor.

-KB


Quiz Time! Fun vs. Offensive

Filed under: General

I’m a total animal lover, and I just adore this photo of a bunny in a birthday hat. (I asked ASI’s photographer if he got to play with the bunny when he took its picture, and he told me that  this furry little guy was never actually in our photo studio. Too bad.) Anyway, the article that goes with the bunny isn’t too shabby either  – check it out for some quirky selling opportunities.  

So have you ever given a gift or told a joke that you thought was great, only to receive the exact opposite reaction? (You can be honest, ‘cause I already know you have.) Post a comment and tell us all about it, then take this quick quiz to help you do better next time.    – KB

Quiz: Fun or Offensive?
1. To win the business of a client running a hairpiece company, you get the bright idea to send him a bobble-head figurine that has a huge mass of hair to advertise a “Toupee trade-in” sale. This idea is:
a. hilarious! His clients will love it.
b. only a joke meant to lighten the mood in a sometimes sensitive market.
c. totally tacky.

2. You send your card, a brochure and a jar of candy emblazoned with “Happy Tuesday!” to a potential client. They will:
a. think it’s fresh and fun.
b. wonder what’s so special about Tuesday.
c. roll their eyes at such a cheesy gimmick.

3. You send a wooden desk set with a card to celebrate the fifth anniversary of when you began working with a client (wooden items are the traditional wedding gift for fifth anniversaries), along with an anniversary list to encourage them to do the same for their clients. They will:
a. think it’s a clever way to connect with clients.
b. be puzzled as to why you gave them a wedding-style gift.
c. be offended that you would insinuate your business relationship is as important as a marriage.

4. To revive a client’s ordering, you send a condolence card and small gift to his office with a note stating, “I haven’t heard from you in a while; did I miss your obituary?” They will:
a. likely touch base with you soon – you’re obviously attention-getting!
b. feel shocked for a moment, and then realize you’re just trying to get their attention. They may or may not respond.
c. feel offended that you should make light of death and never call you again.

5. A client hasn’t ordered in a while, so on January 16, you drop off an empty gift box with a note that says, “Happy National Nothing Day! I’d love to change this with an order from you!” They will:
a. realize they haven’t ordered in a while and likely place an order soon.
b. wonder why you’re giving them an empty gift and go with a different rep.
c. feel offended that you’re pushing them to buy.

Answers:
1.
c. Hair replacement impacts men differently. While men who are okay with hair loss might see this as harmless fun, most balding men seeking hair replacement would be offended.
2. a. While senses of humor vary, most people like receiving candy, even if a few don’t get the joke.
3. a. Since it’s not a personal type of gift, no one would think you’re equating marriage with a business relationship.
4. b./c. Unless you know the client very, very well, avoid joking about serious matters. If you know the client well, you shouldn’t need to take risky measures to solicit a response.
5. b./c. A gift bag lends the anticipation of a gift inside. Most people would feel let down to receive nothing. Although that may be how you feel about the loss of business you’ve experienced, don’t take it out on your client.

All 5 correct: You’re a promotional whiz at oddball occasions!
3-4 correct: You have a good sense of the quirky, but be careful how you use it.
0-2 correct: Before trying these on clients, run your oddball ideas by a colleague who will honestly appraise them.


Caption this, dogg

Filed under: General

one of the neatest features on asicentral.com is our product showcase, a slideshow of the coolest swag from each magazine. i check it out every month just to catch a glimpse of the latest and greatest promo items on the market and am relatively impressed by the ingenuity and thought that goes into some of these products.

however, this month i happened upon a line of dog wearables – that’s right, dog clothing — that simply defies logic. check this out.

apparently, not only do dogs need clothing, but it has to be fashionable, too, and made out of the finest fabrics like 100% ringspun cotton. (because, well, we all know how moody “sparky” can be when wearing synthetics.)

i mean, look at this thing … what, is that a cape?

or this. a hat? a hat for a dog!? now, c’mawn!!

then i got to thinking, what this slideshow is lacking is some seriously clever and snarky captions to go along with the obviously lobotomized dog model made to suffer through this indignity.

here’s my favorite image:

(YOUR CAPTION HERE)

(YOUR CAPTION HERE)

but i’m having trouble coming up with a good caption. send us a great caption and i’ll slot it in under the image. just post a comment with your caption.

– vin DOGG


The Road Warrior: Good News in the Wasteland

Filed under: General

ok, i gotta admit: “Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior” is one of my all-time favorite flicks not just because of the non-stop, edge-of-your-seat action and bloody violence or that it stars a young, tough mel gibson before he turned into a cheeseball and started churning out chick flicks and pointless sequels. sure, those are definitely admirable traits in a film, but the real reason the movie resonates with me is that it paints such a grim picture of an energy-deprived, post-apocalyptic wasteland created by war that it’s always served as a close commentary on the real world.

as the markets crashed last week and the doom and gloom set in, for one fleeting second i was reminded of the countless hours in my youth spent watching mad max rockatansky fend off psychotic bike gangs in a scorched- and petrol-starved australian outback and wondered: could it really happen? a confluence of circumstances — a crashing global economy coupled with a crippling terrorist attack, perhaps? — and i’m not so sure it couldn’t.

but alas, with the new week comes new hope — the market climbed 900 points yesterday and is holding so far today — and some good news in the promotional products industry. in fact, there’s some really good news in today’s Promogram.

according to the news broadcast, there are three bright spots starting to take shape:

1. lower gas prices

2. rising dollar

3. easing inflation

watch today’s news report here on how these three factors can help the ad specialty market. if you’re not convinced and think that one day we will all be living like max rockatansky, post a comment. i’d love to hear your story (you’ve heard mine!).

or just comment for the hell of it. why not?

– “mad” vin diesel


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