ASI’s Counselor Magazine Celebrates 65th Anniversary

Award-winning “voice of the promotional products industry” serves readers for over six decades

TREVOSE, PA – April 2, 2019 – Counselor®magazine, the most authoritative trade publication in the $24.7 billion promotional products industry, is celebrating its 65th anniversary with a special print and online commemorative issue that includes a detailed look at how the industry has changed over the years, “People of the Decade” feature, a Q&A with ASI chairman Norman Cohn, historic photos, fun facts and a forecast for the future of the market. 

“I’m so proud to share this issue with the dedicated readers who have made Counselor an important part of their business routine year after year,” said Dave Vagnoni (@VagnoniASI), editor-in-chief of Counselor. “I thank everyone who’s shared their triumphs, challenges and insight in our pages, inspiring us to grow with the times and consistently deliver inspiring content. In return, I promise Counselor will continue to be a trusted guide for selling, a predictor of trends, a forum for opinion and the industry standard for market research for decades to come.”

Counselor is published by the Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI), a membership organization and technology provider that serves a network of 23,500 suppliers, distributors and decorators of logoed promotional products in 55 countries. The magazine began publishing in 1954, over 700 issues ago, back in the day when a new house in the U.S. sold for $10,250 and a gallon of gas cost 21 cents.

The special anniversary issue includes a look at the radical changes the promo industry has undergone over the decades, including:

  • Growth of industry sales, from an estimated $459 million to today’s $24.7 billion
  • Technology advancements, from fax machines to web-based, industry-specific databases like ASI’s ESP® business platform
  • Growth of apparel, from barely a blip to over a third of industry sales
  • Order turnaround, from three to four weeks to, in some cases, 24 hours
  • Huge influx of money from private equity investors, with backing in Top 40 firms like HALO Branded Solutions (asi/356000), alphabroder (asi/34063) and Polyconcept North America.

Fun facts in the issue:

  • The Counselor, as it was previously known, was a nickname for distributor salesmen, who were also known as “jobbers.”
  • The magazine was the brainchild of ASI founder Joe Segel, of QVC fame, to give manufacturers a place to promote their logoed products.
  • Early articles shared selling tips, while columns combatted industry critics, including pundits who suggested promo products were “junk” and shouldn’t be given as business gifts.
  • In the 1950s, it was common to list vacation schedules of industry companies.

The issue includes a letter from Timothy M. Andrews, ASI’s president and chief executive officer (@Tim_Andrews_ASI), who shared his blueprint for success and said, “Thinking back on everything Counselor has accomplished over more than six decades, I kept returning to the magazine’s original mission, which rings just as true today as it did in 1954: To provide a voice for the promotional products industry. Your voice.”

ASI Chairman Norman Cohn, who spent 60 years at the forefront of the industry, shares his insight in a Q&A reflecting on his early days of selling and his forecast for what’s to come. “There’s always going to be somebody that’ll offer a lower price,” Cohn said. “But if you have a relationship with a customer, you can go to them with ideas. Maybe you’ll see something at a trade show that you know can help a customer promote their business. You’re looking out for them. At the core, this remains the best way to build a business in our industry.”

The commemorative issue offers a print and online snapshot of promo products history and its future, including forecasts from 10 of the industry’s most prescient leaders, like Counselor Power 50 newcomer Jana Miller Schmidt, CEO of Harland Clarke (asi/219943), who predicts that “creating the best online purchasing and follow-up experience will keep customers coming back. Industry players will look to acquire companies that either extend their capabilities or give them more scale.”

Over the last decade, Counselor has expanded its coverage to include special editions, like its annual Best Places to Work, Hot List and Power issues. Most recently, Counselor has launched an ever-growing group of award programs to recognize the best companies, merchandise and people the industry has to offer.

In the last 20 years, Counselor has won 68 awards for in-depth reporting, business features, design and photography, more than any other industry publication, including seven prestigious Jesse H. Neal Awards, considered the Pulitzer Prize of the business press.

Counselor magazine reaches a total audience of 30,240 and continues to resonate with marketers, thanks to its proven ability to engage with readers across multiple channels about issues that matter the most to top-level executives and salespeople who rely on Counselor for the latest industry news, business strategies and case studies.

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI®) serves a network of 23,500 suppliers, distributors and decorators in the $24.7 billion promotional products industry. ASI’s flagship product, the technology platform ESP®, manages the industry’s supply and marketing chain. ASI also produces award-winning digital and print content, live events and educational programs that enable companies in 55 countries to be more efficient, productive and profitable. ASI’s Counselor® magazine provides the most authoritative business content in the industry, and the ASI Education Certification Program features 200+ live and online education courses for industry professionals. The company, family owned and operated since 1962, is proud to have been consistently ranked among the “Best Places to Work” in Philadelphia and Bucks County, PA. For more info: