December 4, 2013
Aside from a Halloween or two when I was in college, I’ve never had a need for nail polish. But now that I have a daughter who’s old enough to use it, it’s starting to become part of my life. “Daddy, I want that!” Who knew Barbie had her own line of nail polish, but there it is, the Barbie logo emblazoned on real bottles of nail polish.
And that brings me to today’s blog post topic: How *do* they get those logos imprinted on nail polish bottles? This primer from Advantages magazine shows you exactly how it’s done, courtesy of supplier Diamond Cosmetics (asi/49640).
December 2, 2013
I love everything about pumpkins. The jack-o-lanterns, Halloween, the autumn season and even the beer. But nothing compares to the Thanksgiving pumpkin pie … at least, that’s my opinion.
Leading up to Thanksgiving 2013, we at ASICentral wanted to find out what others thought, did they feel the same love for pumpkin pies as I did? Or would some of the other traditional pies like pecan and apple be preferred? To be honest, I thought apple would kick butt and reign supreme, but what do I know about food? I still think frozen pizza is a taste sensation.
Much to my surprise, not only did the pumpkin pie win, but it got over 40% of the 231 votes. Apple? Well, let’s just say it finished a distant third.
Here are the full results to the question: What’s your favorite Thanksgiving pie?
Total Votes: 231
September 12, 2013
With the change of weather already taking place in the Northeast — last Saturday morning I rode my bike in 40-degree weather! — it’ll soon be cold & flu season. And with that, personal hand sanitizers will be popping up quicker than a Miley Cyrus joke.
This month’s edition of Advantages magazine contains a Strategy feature that explains in visual detail how those little bottles of gel hand sanitizer are filled and labeled. Compliments of Humphrey Line Inc. (asi/62050).
July 29, 2013
Promotional products themselves can be quite clever, but sometimes the process of adding logos to a product can be just as clever. Case in point: an etched logo on a wine bottle.
The August issue of Advantages magazine contains a Strategy feature that explains in visual detail how a logo is etched onto a wine bottle. It’s not as easy as you would think, and there’s a lot involved, including sandblasting. Compliments of supplier A+ Wine Designs (asi/30223).
July 26, 2013
From guest blogger and intern Samantha Phillips …
The things that decorate my tiny cubicle include a few framed photographs, two plastic orchid plants (I would love real flowers but I struggle to keep even myself healthy and thriving), a gnome figurine and a fake autographed photo of Christopher Walken: a gag Christmas gift from a close friend. I questioned every item I brought in to adorn my work space, convinced that they would define me as a person. All it would take was a single troll doll with dirty neon hair and a gem belly button and I’d be haunted by it forever.
Fortunately, my desk accessories (deskessories? Genius!) are mild, even amateur, in comparison to the oddities that dress the desks of some of my co-workers. As MVP’s of an industry that thrives on wacky products, ASI employees often receive free promotional items that are … shall we say … unique? Do you need a Gangnam Style figurine that doubles as a flash drive? No. But it makes one hell of a conversation starter. I decided to conduct an in-depth investigation, and expose the dirty truth about ASI’s desk decorations. Thus, here they are!: a few of my favorite ASI deskessories in no particular order:
MR. T BOBBLEHEAD DOLL
Online editor Vinny Driscoll works tirelessly to upkeep our social media presence while his Mr. T bobblehead watches from atop the cubicle wall, nodding eternally in agreement. “#pitythefool!” cries the tiny intimidating figurine.
MCDONALD’S FRENCH FRY GOLF CLUB COVER
Copy writer Chuck Zak is pictured here with his McDonald’s French fry golf club head cover. Does Chuck Zak play golf? No. Why does Chuck Zak have a fast food inspired golf club head cover? It is one of the many mysteries that lie within those cubicle walls. Legend has it the fries are a device he uses to communicate with the editorial gods. Of course, no one can ever know for sure. You see that perfectly trimmed beard? It’s full of secrets.
While Patty Cangelosi slaves over the pages of copy she edits daily, she is surrounded by an array of odd items including giant highlighters and magnets shaped like slices of pizza. But perhaps the strangest of all her deskessories is the photo drink coaster pictured here, a sample gift from one of ASI’s suppliers. Why is this the top of the wacky food chain, you ask? Because Patty has no idea who those people are.
Managing editor Joe Haley’s office is a mecca of promotional oddities. It’s got everything you can dream up…a plastic pig that shoots pong balls out of its mouth, a trail hitch ball cover shaped like Barak Obama’s head, a plastic shot glass that includes a turning mechanism which allows for no-mess jello shots, an electric guitar branded with the “Joe Show” logo … I could go on. Joe is pictured here with one of his most precious office accessories: a caped monkey that doubles as a slingshot. Don’t make him angry; his office is an arsenal of weaponry that might not injure, but has the power to severely annoy.
C.J. Mittica, editor of Wearables magazine, proudly shows off the miniature bale of cotton that he acquired while conducting story research in Texas. A normal bale of cotton weighs approximately 500 pounds and holds enough cotton to make 325 pairs of denim jeans. After completing a few Good-Will-Hunting-esque mathematical equations (who am I kidding, I majored in English), I concluded that this bale holds enough cotton to make at least three denim bowties for Canadian tuxedoes.
Michele Bell is the editor of Supplier Global Resource magazine and people cannot keep their hands off of her deskessories. This silver twisty-thingy (excuse my use of industry jargon) is a favorite among her visitors. It reminds me of a hitchhiker outside of a Phish concert: it could possibly strangle you, and it is always picked up.
BOWLING PIN WATER BOTTLE
And ah, of course, the infamous bowling pin water bottle: the wild card that blew this investigation wide open. It requires no lavish witticisms to introduce it. It is the answer to possibly the most important scientific question of all time: how do you combine America’s favorite sport (besides competitive chess of course) and hydration? It is the product of years of struggle for researchers who were hungry to create something incredibly subtle and yet still so majestic. Its owner requested to remain anonymous in this investigation report, as to avoid torment from the paparazzi and constant media attention. “Yes I have a bowling pin water bottle,” she says, “But I just want to live a normal life!”
Well, that concludes this episode of “An Intern Rants about Nothing of Importance.” Tune in next week, when I will rate the office toilets in descending order based on comfort level, timing of the automatic flush, and amount of creativity used in stall door graffiti.
…That’s a joke people. C’mon, did you really think I have the seniority and power to make those kinds of judgments? I’m just an intern for Crissakes.
July 19, 2013
Grace Bennett is a full-time student in her senior year at Rowan University majoring in Writing Arts. When not writing for the school paper or riding for the equestrian team, you can find Grace listening to Michael Buble, drinking coffee or kicking butt in karate class as a first-degree black belt.
“It’s a fun business to be in. We’ve got crazy towels, electric guitars, and if you throw that monkey through the air, it screams. Welcome aboard!” As I sat across from Joe Haley, editor of The Counselor magazine, I remember thinking that I must have walked into some kind of dream that surely I would wake up from at any second. No internship is this fun, I told myself, and no employers are this cool. After about the first week of working here at ASI, I realized I had been wrong.
Getting to know the building, which is really more of a challenging rat maze (without the cheese prize upon arriving at your destination – well, maybe. You never know here) than an office space, and becoming familiar with the personalities of the editors and other fellow coworkers was nothing short of overwhelming, but it was most certainly an adventure worth having. It didn’t take me long to realize that all of the varying identities in the editorial department at ASI come together to form something of a successful, crazy and sometimes berserk-but-functioning family. It’s a family of blue hair, vampire puppets, green fuzzy chairs and a lot of kickass talent. When my boss, Michele Bell, assigned Sam and me the task of writing these intern essays, she told us not to hold back. She encouraged us to throw in here the things we don’t like and aren’t exceptionally fond of; things like how the Starbucks barista always puts too much caramel in my coffee and how the pigeon outside the window next to my cubicle distracts me with its futile attempts to stay awake despite its exhaustion. Yeah, working here is a real pain.
Admittedly, the process of garnering information for articles can be somewhat trying. Contacts aren’t always chomping at the bit, eager to dish out all of their product information in online or phone interviews. Sometimes weeks will pass without hearing a single word, and we end up having to improvise. But to be fair, isn’t this the problem in many fields? Contacts are people, and people like to do things on their own terms…which could be at 5:58pm three days after your deadline. No biggie! My phobia of phone calls with strangers probably only added to my strife, but after the first few chats and a couple technicality mishaps – “I’m writing an article for Stitches magazine-“ “I thought it was Wearables magazine?” “…Yeah, that one.” – I found little more to fear.
Obviously, keeping the all of the five magazines straight was a task of its own, and learning the voice of each took some time, but not much. Soon enough, I was cranking out pieces from plain-Jane product captions to talky articles on pet apparel, which left me picturing my teacup boy Chihuahua in a hot pink fleece hoodie. How is that not fun?
Fun in the workplace might seem like the butt end of some bad joke to the general legal intern sweating it out in a rented tux as he scoots his broken rolly-chair towards a puttering fan in the corner of his tiny office window (excuse me while I pause to stretch my now cramped fingers), but it’s kind of a regular visitor in the editorial department of ASI. I had messaged a new employee a while back to introduce myself and to see how he liked working here. “Any company that lets its employees play kickball is alright in my book. I have no complaints,” he said. Truly, I wish I had more dirt to dish to level out the amount of sunshine-y descriptions in this essay of mine, but at this point, I honestly have no complaints, either. Come on…we have kickball tournaments. Enough said.
July 18, 2013
From guest blogger and intern Samantha Phillips …
The first day I stepped into ASI, I felt like a fraud. I walked in, attempting to appear as the young, modern professional: donning my ironed pencil skirt and first lady inspired hairstyle. I was sure at any minute I was going to be found out. I was convinced that the intern supervisor would walk through the lobby, take one look at me, and have security guards fireman-carry me shamefully through the front doors shouting “Back to the restaurant business for you missy!”
But, the woman who came to greet me was not the terrifying business executive I expected with cold eyes and razorblade heels. Instead, Michele Bell wore leopard print stilettos and welcomed me warmly into her office, which appeared to be an eclectic shrine to the Rolling Stones. Michele was quirky, funny, and possessed a subtle snark that she often used to playfully poke fun at her office neighbor, Joe Haley.
And Michele was only one of the many characters I have grown to know and love over the course of my internship thus far. As a loyal, if only temporary, member of the editorial department, I am proud to be part of what I lovingly refer to as “The League of Extraordinary Editors”: a merry band of creative types who collaborate to create a staggering 50 print publications each year. Instead of the demanding and impossible-to-please superiors I had been expecting, my colleagues turned out to be my teachers, my mentors, and my friends. Instead of being ordered to make seven Starbucks runs in one day like some Devil Wears Prada nightmare, my assignments include helping with photoshoots, writing industry articles, participating in radio show broadcasts, and occasionally indulging in a cocktail from Michele’s office margarita machine. I am treated as an equal and a partner in the department’s mission to create informative, interesting, and well-designed publications.
Being an intern in an industry that is completely new to you is a job that commands you to face those inner demons that make you doubt your adequacy. There is no better place to do this than the editorial department at ASI, where encouragement and positive feedback are daily rituals. My editors and fellow writers have taught me an immeasurable amount about publication, the promotional products industry, and most importantly, how to take time to laugh amidst the hectic chaos of the publishing world. It’s hard to always be serious with a boss like Michele and colleagues that are just as concerned with getting everyone involved in kickball as they are dedicated to the amazing publications they help to create.
What is it like to be an editorial intern at ASI? Well, it’s kind of like learning to swim and finding out that you love the water. Scary at first, and a bit challenging. But then it’s fun, exciting and leaves you with an unmatched feeling of accomplishment. And to future editorial interns I’d say: come on in, the water is just fine … and the margaritas are delicious.
May 13, 2013
Filed under: Fun
For those who know me, just mention the word beer and you’ve got my attention (unless, of course, it’s immediately preceded by the word “Lite”). That’s why when I saw the headline “8 Best Beer Towns in America” online recently I got giddier than Norm Peterson during Happy Hour.
Having lived in the Philly area a decade now, I know this town knows beer. And knows it well. From the annual Philly Beer Week to the multitude of established, well-respected brands in the area (Yards, Sly Fox, Nodding Head), I was curious if the City of Brotherly Love had made it onto CNN’s Top 8. Lo and behold, Philly’s there and representing hard at #6! Here’s the complete list:
And please send us your thoughts on the list. Did they get the list right? What cities or towns are missing?
April 8, 2013
One of my favorite sections of Advantages magazine is the Strategy section titled “How’d They Do That?” where the making of promo products comes to visual life! This month’s product: A logoed lollipop.
Here’s the 7-step process, provided by Grumpe’s Specialties Inc. (asi/58480). Enjoy! (Click below for a larger pdf version to see all the sweet detail!)
Click here for a larger image (PDF).
March 14, 2013
Grumpy Cat, the new Internet sensation that’s sweeping the globe faster than the Harlem Shake, is currently killing it as the star attraction at the annual South by Southwest Conference and Festival (SXSW) in Austin, TX. Interviews with His Grumpiness are hard to come by these days, but I recently had a chance to sit down with the legend — also known by his real name “Tard”, short for “Tardar Sauce” — to ask him a few questions. The following is the transcript of our conversation.
Team Blog: So Grumpy Cat, let’s start with an obvious question: Why are you so grumpy?
Team Blog: OK … coulda fooled me. Anyway, onto the next question. I work in the promotional products industry, or ad specialties, you know, products with logos that promote a company, product or service. Like T-shirts, pens and mugs. Got any favorite promotional products?
Team Blog: Alrighty then, appreciate the honesty. Now that you’re a big Internet sensation, inspiring thousands of grumpy memes and rubbing elbows with celebrities, you must have some good stories, right?
Team Blog: I’ve been called worse. But anyway, there must be things you like, right? Got any favorite movies?
Team Blog: Awesome! Well, that’s a start. Whaddya think about the new Star Wars Episode 7 currently in pre-production. Are you psyched?
Team Blog: Well, that makes one of us.
Team Blog: OK, I guess we should end here before your claws start doing the talking and I end up with cat-scratch fever or something, ha ha!
Team Blog: That was a joke … a bad one … sorry. Please don’t hurt me.