About the Industry
An advertising specialty, also known as a promotional product, is any item imprinted with a logo or slogan and given out to promote a company, organization, product, service, special achievement or event. T-shirts, mugs, pens and key tags are popular examples, and just about anything can be imprinted. In fact, the ASI database includes more than 750,000 ad specialties.
The advantage advertising specialties have over other media is that they often have a practical use, in addition to being effective advertising and branding tools. Recipients often keep them and the advertiser benefits from repeat exposures.
How big an industry is this?
The the Advertising Specialty Institute's exclusive annual industry sales estimate for 2010 shows that promotional products sales were $17.4 billion, up 9.1% versus 2009.
Where does ASI fit in?
ASI is the largest media and marketing organization serving the advertising specialty industry, with a membership of 33,000 distributor firms (sellers) and 3,500+ supplier firms (manufacturers). Supplier firms market their imprintable products to distributors with our electronic research tools, catalogs, magazines, Web sites and trade shows. Distributors use many of the same vehicles to find suppliers' products and make presentations to end-buyers (promotions and advertising buyers).
Promotions and advertising buyers who aren't yet working with a distributor can locate one, at www.PromoMart.com.
In 1950, a grad student, named Joe Segel, was working his way through school selling promotional products. At the time, the industry had no central resource for finding products and the suppliers who made them. Segel researched and published his own directory, calling it the Advertising Specialty Register®. ("Ad specialty" is another term for promotional product.) He named his company the Advertising Specialty Institute.
Segel sold ASI in 1962 to Maurice Cohn, at the time the owner of the largest advertising specialty supplier. While Segel went on to found other companies, like the Franklin Mint and QVC, Cohn sold his supplier interests and dedicated himself to improving and expanding ASI. The Cohn family, now headed by Maurice's son, Norman, still owns the company, which has grown to 450 employees. For over 50 years, ASI has continuously led the industry in research, publications and developing marketing tools.
Meet the ASI Team
Robin Smith, Account Executive, Distributor Services
"Working at ASI you get continuous training which makes you feel confident in your position. That confidence comes through when we speak to our clients. Everyone at ASI is helpful and friendly which makes coming to work a pleasure."
Eugene Jones, Collections Specialist
"What I wanted from ASI most of all was a chance, an opportunity to demonstrate I could not only take on additional responsibilities, but thrive on them. ASI gave me that chance.
Starting out as a customer service rep, I eventually climbed the ladder to senior rep, then supervisor, proving at every turn I could succeed. Instead of being held back, ASI encouraged me to take advantage of opportunity … which is all I could ask for."
Angelica Arteta, Lead, Registration Team
"Since the day I started, I knew ASI was a great place to work. Not only are the benefits wonderful, but the people are very helpful and the company appreciates their employees. ASI provides the tools you need to further your career, and they really support growth and development.
Coming to work every day is a breeze and I can honestly say that I have made some terrific friends here!"
Venus Antoine, Product Support Analyst
"After 12 years I am still excited to come to work every day! Thanks to the educational training ASI offers their staff, I am constantly learning so that I may provide the best customer service possible for our clients. ASI's investment in employee education is something I've always appreciated.
The benefits are also wonderful. Finding a company that provides not only a good benefits package along with great perks is not easy. ASI is a great place to work!"
Rob Sholette, Manager, Warehouse Services
"Having spent my entire career at ASI, I really don't think I could have chosen a better place to call home. Starting out as a part-time employee in high school, I made my way up the ranks and now, 30 years later, I am the Manager of Warehouse Services.
Through good times and bad, ASI management has always been very supportive of me. It's very rare these days to be able to say you've worked for the same company throughout your whole career, but I have and am very proud of that fact."
Scott Norward, Product Support Analyst
"Not long ago I moved into a completely new department and ASI made sure the transition was a smooth one. They were very helpful in making sure that I had all the resources and skills necessary so that I could effectively train our clients in ESP and with their LogoMall Web sites.
The knowledgeable, friendly staff invested a lot of time in me so that I could educate others, proof that ASI really cares about their employees."
Mary Adams, Member Services, Project Manager
"Throughout the 31 years that I have been employed at ASI, I have witnessed many changes. One thing that remains the same is the constant goal to move forward, not only in technology, but with our products, productivity and customer service.
I enjoy coming to work and being surrounded by the wonderful and talented people that work at ASI. To put it simply, ASI is a great place to work!"
Christine Hess, Account Executive
"I felt the warmth of the ASI family the day I interviewed as I walked a long hallway lined with portraits of smiling people who have been at the company for over 15 years. Now as an employee, I am greeted every day with smiles from my colleagues!
The job support and resources ASI provides allows me to be the best I can be professionally, and the benefits and convenient on-site amenities allows me to care for myself and family. "
Joe Haley, Managing Editor
"As a journalist, ASI has given me the opportunity to hone my craft in a creative work environment. But, the work goes beyond simply putting out magazines. Traveling to meet the people in the industry that we write about puts us in the center of the action, giving us a better understanding of what makes it tick. The company also provides a comprehensive benefits package and other amenities that help make the overall work experience a pleasant one."
Liz Kennedy, Manager, Technical Product Support
"Coming to work every day is a pleasure! ASI has given me the opportunity to travel to great cities, meet wonderful people and expand my knowledge of the Internet.
As for the benefits, you just can't beat them! Great health care at affordable prices, a full-service cafe, dry cleaning service and many entertaining social events. I could go on but there's just too many to list!"
Vince Bucolo, Chief Operating Officer
"The secret of ASI's success is understanding the needs of its members, fulfilling those needs with quality products at a fair price and, most importantly, caring for its employees. I started my career at ASI over 30 years ago and have observed first hand the professional growth of the organization and its ability to adapt to the changing needs of its workforce. ASI provides a dynamic and challenging business environment with unlimited potential for those wanting to be part of a leading organization in the growing advertising specialty industry."
Lorianne Harris, Account Executive
"The combination of an awesome work environment and lots of sincere smiles gives ASI a real family feel. You can sense the positive energy when you enter the building!
ASI celebrates not only their customers, but their employees as well. The benefits are excellent and the company really acknowledges staff accomplishments. My colleagues are amazing, talented people and that has made all the difference. ASI truly is a great place to work."
Tom Gao, Senior Web Administrator
"ASI applies cutting-edge technologies over a wide spectrum of Web and Enterprise applications. Having the opportunity to develop and support these critical applications is challenging and exciting, and to implement the most time-efficient and cost-effective innovations is a never-ending process.
ASI provides an excellent platform to develop careers and to stay motivated on the forefront of the IT industry. At ASI, both team collaboration and individual contributions are rewarded."
Jake Krolick, Creative Director
"From the day I set foot in ASI it was apparent that this is a wonderful place to work. The company offers an extremely warm and inviting environment with emphasis on a family business feel. However, under-the-hood ASI is anything but a small 'mom and pop' operation. The company strives to be at the top of the advertising specialties world and leads the industry in every facet of the business. The company embraces new media and technology, offering a wonderful platform from which employees can learn, grow, and prosper freely. ASI also provides a strong benefit package along with other perks and amenities, making it a positive and thriving work place."
Brian White, Account Executive
"One of the first things I noticed about ASI was the friendliness of the staff. They made me feel comfortable and really went the extra mile to help me learn about this industry.
I have never been part of a company that offers as many professional and personal development resources as ASI. The way the company invests in its employees is the top reason ASI is such a great place to work."