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Vol 1115, April 24, 2014

NEWS STORIES
Prime Acquires Points of Light Line
As first reported in a Breaking News Alert yesterday, Top 40 supplier Prime Line (asi/79530) has acquired the product line of fellow supplier Points of Light (asi/78825).
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Financial terms of the deal were not released, but it results in Prime immediately taking over the full Points of Light product line.

"We started discussing the opportunity to make a deal in January and just hit it off. Points of Light was a perfect match and fit the right profile for Prime in terms of having innovative, patented items at very competitive prices," Jeff Lederer, president of Prime, told Counselor. "Many of these items are $2 and under, including several items for the health care market. This was another important factor in us wanting to do this deal."

Lederer said that Prime will be working closely with Points of Light management and staff during a period of transition. "The Points of Light team ran a great company," he said. "We will be working very closely with them during the transition trying to figure out the best way to integrate Points of Light into our company as quickly as possible. We want the smoothest transition, so for now, everything will remain the same. Until further notice, distributors should continue sending orders to Points of Light. Eventually, everything will transition to Prime."

Ben Goldstein, former owner and board chairman of Points of Light, said he believes Prime is well positioned to continue the growth of the Points of Light line of products. "I couldn't imagine better partners than Prime Line and the Lederer family to take Points of Light to the next level," he said.

This is Prime's third acquisition since the beginning of 2014. The company also purchased factory direct sourcing lines Source Abroad (asi/88242) and Get it Global in January. Last year, Prime was the 24th-largest supplier on the Counselor Top 40, and the company has continued to grow after reporting an 11% increase in 2013 revenues.

Appeals Court Sets Precedent On CPSIA Database Disclosures
A federal appeals court ruled last week that a manufacturer whose product was linked to the death of an infant can be named publicly and ordered the firm to make details of the case public.
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The decision from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals serves as a reminder to companies, including ad specialty suppliers and distributors, that failure to ensure that product safety standards are met in all instances can result in serious legal, civil and public relations repercussions.

In the ruling, Circuit Judge Henry Floyd wrote that a lower court ruling that allowed the manufacturer – identified only as "Company Doe" – to remain anonymous unconstitutionally prevented the public and press from their right to gain access to civil proceedings. "A corporation very well may desire that the allegations lodged against it in the court of litigation be kept from public view to protect its corporate image, but the First Amendment right of access does not yield to such an interest," Floyd wrote.

Calling allegations against it "materially inaccurate," Company Doe had sued to prevent a report linking its product to an infant's death from appearing on www.SaferProducts.gov, a federal database instituted under the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) that alerts people to potentially unsafe products. Crying foul, three consumer advocacy groups – the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union and Public Citizen – sought to make the records public and reveal Company Doe's identity.

Last week's 4th Circuit ruling unseals the court records, clearing the way for the report to be posted and for the public and press to learn the identity of the manufacturer. "It's the right result," said Scott Michelman, a lawyer for Public Citizen. "It's a big victory both for open access to judicial records and for consumers, in terms of the viability of the CPSC database."

Still, when the unveiling will occur wasn't immediately clear, as it's not yet known if Company Doe will appeal the ruling, a process that could take months or even years.

New York Introduces Bag-Fee Measure
Joining a long line of cities that have introduced measures to restrict single-use plastic bags, the New York City Council recently proposed a bill that would impose a 10-cent fee on all plastic and paper grocery bags.
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New York would join Los Angeles, which in January instituted a ban on single-use plastic bags, as the United States' two largest cities to enact such legislation.

"The bags get stuck in storms drains, they cause flooding and they litter our beaches," said Councilwoman Margaret Chin of Manhattan, one of the co-sponsors of the legislation. "And they cost New York City a lot of money."

In proposing the legislation, the New York City Council said that New York residents go through 5.2 billion disposable plastic bags annually and it costs the city $10 million to haul used bags to landfills. The legislators said that the 10-cent fee would be designed to encourage consumers to bring reusable bags with them to stores. If passed, the bag fee would apply to supermarkets, retail stores, department stores, and even street vendors selling fruit and general merchandise. Bags from restaurants would be exempt, as would bags for medication at pharmacies.

The bill needs the support of 26 council members to pass, a number that the Council expects it already has the backing of. It would then go to the mayor's desk for his approval. Mayor Bill de Blasio has not said if he will sign off on the measure, but he said he is concerned about the amount of disposable bags in circulation. "Plastic bags are a problem," de Blasio said. "Our goal has to be to reduce the use of plastic bags. There are a lot of different ways to do that."

The Joe Show: Swing Into Spring
In this episode of The Joe Show, Managing Editor Joe Haley shows off a variety of products perfect for an assortment of upcoming promotions. Looking for a unique product that’s sure to get outdoor attention?
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How about a tech item well-suited for sports promos? Or, a couple of spirit products that will certainly fire up any crowd this spring and summer? Watch The Joe Show for new product and promotional ideas.

Click here to watch another new episode of The Joe Show.

Want more videos? Subscribe now to our YouTube videos.


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China’s Canton Fair Displays Product Trends
Phase 2 of China's 115th session of the Canton Fair, held in Guangzhou, opened yesterday and offered a showcase for the latest gift and premium products, many of which are sold into the North American ad specialty industry through the 3,400 suppliers listed with ASI. Often called the "world's workshop," China's exports were $114.1 billion in February of this year alone.

"The Canton Fair, as a vane and barometer of China's foreign trade and international market, is standing at a new starting point and facing new challenges," said Wang Zhiping, the deputy director general and grand secretary general of the event. "How can the Fair seize the opportunity for further development, and make more contribution to the steady growth, structural adjustment and nurturing new competitiveness of China's foreign trade, especially when the global market is recovering and the benefits of domestic reforms are to be released? Without a doubt, the Canton Fair will consistently uphold the idea of reform and innovation, so as to sustain development."

Broken into three phases – Phase 1 was held from April 15-19 and Phase 3 runs from May 1-5 – the show draws over 130,000 attendees from around the world who come to visit nearly 60,000 exhibitor booths. Trends from the show floor include an emphasis on 3D printers, which are now offered in compact and portable sizes with some priced under $500. Also on display from exhibitors is a subtle shift away from plastic-based items and more towards eco-friendly and items constructed from wood and bamboo, as well as more factories touting their safety and social compliance.

With many North American ad specialty suppliers attending this event, which dovetails with the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Show next week, the product choices they make in these two weeks will be the items industry distributors will see in catalogs in the upcoming months.

Follow Counselor PromoGram next week for an on-site report from the Hong Kong Gifts & Premium Show.

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
Proforma
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New ESP WebsiteS Suppliers
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Advertisement: Maglite Promo Direct

Counselor Commentary: Let Youth Be Served
It's a number that economists cringe at, but business owners should find opportunity in – 15%. That's the unemployment rate for Americans between the ages of 19 and 31. This is an awful figure, one that needs to start dropping – and fast – in order for the economy to fully recover. So what can be done? Well, for starters, hiring managers need to quit judging ability based only on a resume and begin searching for high-ceiling potential.

Members of Generation Y are inexperienced according to traditional measures, but savvy in terms of ideas and technology. Every industry – including the ad specialty market – can benefit from a fresh perspective every once in a while. Simply recycling salespeople that have worked at five other industry companies is hardly a formula for shaking things up. Suppliers, distributors and decorators should all be actively recruiting out-of-industry Millennials, especially with so much talent available.

Now, it's true that few young people understand how the ad specialty industry works – which is why effective promotion and education are so important. This week, ASI visited The College of New Jersey to teach business and marketing students about the value of promotional products. The hour-long presentation featured ASI's latest Ad Specialties Impressions Study (www.asicentral.com/study), which shows that promo products provide better ROI than many other forms of advertising.

"Today I learned that people keep a large quantity of the promotional products that they get, and the return on investment is better in comparison to TV advertising," said Anthony Paun, a finance major at the school, after the session. Another student, who wants to launch an apparel company, asked how he could use promotional products to market his fledgling brand. Many other students showed interest in industry internships, suddenly realizing a career in promo products now sounds a lot more enticing than working at that insurance company that sent someone to present a session the week before.

This kind of collegiate outreach is a good first step, but ultimately more industry firms need to think and hire differently. Sure, it's a risk to bring in a young rep who has no clue what EQP means. But the view from here is it's even riskier to stay the course. Remember, there's a lot of talent in that 15%. It's time to take advantage of it.

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IC Group Acquires White Rhino
Salt Lake City, UT-based IC Group (asi/170276) announced this week that it has acquired Brea, CA, distributor firm White Rhino Promotional Solutions (asi/359704). Financial terms of the deal were not released, but as part of the transaction White Rhino founder Glenn Green will remain with IC Group as a regional sales manager. 

Dave Jackson, president of IC Group-Marketing, said that the deal will improve IC Group's presence in the Southern California region. "The merger of White Rhino and IC Group represents a strategic effort to strengthen our position in the Southern California market," Jackson said. "We welcome Glenn Green and his team into our company and anticipate additional expansion in this market under his leadership."

White Rhino, founded 32 years ago, will now combine with IC Group's Southern California office and both will now come together in an office in Fullerton, CA. "The reasons I joined IC Group are twofold," Green said. "First, their capabilities in print are vast and second, the management is positive and supportive. I'm looking forward to the task of building our presence in southern California."

IC Group, which was founded in 1982, is a large print and marketing services provider in the West, with offices in Salt Lake City, UT, and Fullerton, CA. The company also has an expanding promotional products division in addition to its print services.

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Vote Now For The Industry's Best-Designed Products
The results are in: Counselor magazine has selected the finalists for its 2014 Product Design Awards. Here's where you come in. Please click here to vote for the products that YOU think are the best designed, considering both aesthetic appeal and functionality. You can select up to three products in each of the 14 featured categories. It only takes a few minutes, and your input is very important to us.

The winners will appear online (www.CounselorMag.com) and in the August issue of Counselor. Thanks very much for your help. Click here now to vote. The ballot will be open through Friday, April 25.

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ASI RadioPodcast: Find & Retain The Best Clients
On this week's Tuesday Morning Show, the hosts gave callers advice on how they can identify the best clients to call on. Should distributors accept orders from all companies, or do they need to be more discriminating about who they do business with? What are the best markets to call on today? What kind of business analysis is necessary to ensure you're working with profitable customers?

Click here to listen to the call-in segment. If you missed any part of the radio show, a recording is now available at www.asicentral.com/radio. And, remember to join us on Tuesday, April 29, for our next broadcast. Log on at 10:30 a.m. ET to listen to the show and hear your voice on the air.

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Last Call: 2014 Best Places To Work Nominations
For the seventh year in a row, Counselor is setting out to identify the industry companies that employees simply love to work for. These are the distributors and suppliers that have a loyal work force and that provide a work environment which employees want to go to every morning.

Counselor will be unveiling its annual Best Places To Work list later this year at the second annual Best Places to Work Conference in July – it will undoubtedly include an elite list of industry companies. Do you want your company to be considered? Getting involved is easy – and it's completely free to participate. The only necessary qualification is that a company has at least 10 employees.

To nominate your company, or any others in the market that you think deserve to be recognized, simply click here. Also, there's no risk to participating. Only the honorees – those companies with the best scores from the survey – will be published in Counselor.

So, don't delay. Click here to register your company to be considered for one of the most exclusive lists in the ad specialty market: Counselor's Best Places To Work.

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In The News
Quinn Flags (asi/80228), which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, announced that it has completed the addition of a second factory building. The company also announced that it has increased its staff by 50% over the past 12 months to expand in-house design and production as well as improve customer service and introduce a new rush service program.

Gemline (asi/56070) announced that it has launched a redesigned website at www.gemline.com. The new site, which is optimized for mobile viewing, features improved navigation, larger product images, and cleaner page layouts.

Norwood by BIC Graphic (asi/74400) announced that it has added several new items to its collection of camouflage products. New items in the line include a cooler, Koozie, first aid kit, flashlight, and travel mug. For more information, visit www.norwood.com.

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People On The Move
Artistic Toy (asi/37122) has welcomed Jim Burrow to its sales team. Burrow had served on the company's advisory board for the past two years, and will now also sell for Artistic Toy in the Oklahoma and Texas markets.

BDA (asi/137616) announced that it hired Jared Collinge as its chief financial officer. Prior to BDA, Collinge worked in executive roles at Dell, Honeywell, and General Motors.

InnerWorkings (asi/168860) announced that it has named Daniel Friedberg to the company's Board of Directors, effective as of April 21. Friedberg is president and CEO of Sagard Capital Partners Management Corporation and vice president and officer of Power Corporation of Canada.

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT
Product Spotlight: Proforma

Introducing a new and better way to get your business going and growing.

Proforma's revolutionary Results First program will get you the results you want before making any financial commitments to join Proforma.

Only Proforma has the resources to offer a program like Results First. Only Proforma has $4 million per year in sales and marketing support, $430 million in purchasing power and a 150 person support team to truly deliver the results you want.

Click here to learn how Proforma's Results First program can grow your business—even before you join.

Proforma (asi/300094)

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ASI NEWS
ASI® Named Top Workplace
Employees vote ASI a great place to work for 5th year in a row, and company also named "Best Employer for New Graduates."
Find out more.

ASI New York Scores 
The high-energy event attracted distributors from as far as Switzerland and Trinidad and Tobago, and featured a packed keynote by a Shark Tank judge.
Find out more.

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THE ASI SHOW

THE #1 REASON TO ATTEND A TRADE SHOW IS NEW PRODUCTS
Promotions Southwest has thousands!
Timed perfectly for the kick off to the fourth quarter, Promotions Southwest, August 11 at the Irving Convention Center, gives you the chance to find what you need (or didn't know you needed!) to offer unique solutions to your clients end-of-year projects.

  • See suppliers who weren't at SAGE, like Enduraline, Lanco, Pepco Poms and Staton
  • Discuss your sales goals with 200 top companies, including The Identity Group, Hit Promotional Products and SanMar
  • See new products for the fourth quarter and end-of-year celebrations like back to school, Halloween, Thanksgiving and the winter holidays
  • Benefit from a productive one-day schedule — minimal time  away from the office with a huge payback
  • "Learn How to Sell $100,000 in 30 Days" during a Keynote by industry expert Don Sanders.
It's all in the timing. Find the right products to sell at the right time of the year and you'll get the sale! Register for FREE at www.promotionssouthwest.com
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Follow The ASI Show on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook today!

The following are the dates and locations for The ASI Show in 2014 and 2015:
Chicago, July 15-17, 2014
Orlando, January 4-6, 2015
Dallas, February 3-5, 2015
Long Beach, March 24-26, 2015
New York, May 6-7, 2015

Plus, don't miss the ASI Advantages Roadshow, the industry's #1 traveling show. Visit www.advantagesroadshow.com for the complete schedule and go to www.asishow.com for information on all ASI Shows.

NEWS QUICK LINKS
China’s Canton Fair Displays Product Trends | Counselor Commentary: Let Youth Be Served | IC Group Acquires White Rhino | Vote Now For The Industry's Best-Designed Products | Podcast: Find & Retain The Best Clients | Last Call: 2014 Best Places To Work Nominations | In The News | People On The Move
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