ASI Orlando Attendance Soars 38% to New Record

Keynoter Michael J. Fox inspires captivated crowd

TREVOSE, PAJanuary 25, 2011The ASI Show Orlando posted record-breaking attendance of more than 6,110 distributors, up 38% from last year and up 5% from the prior record, with enthusiastic suppliers indicating the event was one of the busiest industry shows in recent memory.

In addition to exhibitions, participants found inspiration – mixed with emotion and comedy – from today’s keynote by Back to the Future star and Parkinson’s activist Michael J. Fox.

A standing-room-only crowd of more than 1,700 distributors, suppliers and decorators cheered as Fox discussed ways he overcame the challenge of his Parkinson’s diagnosis by recognizing opportunities and becoming an activist. His keynote was based on his best-selling memoir, Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist.

“The Michael J. Fox keynote was fantastic,” said Renee Smith, from Extreme Marketing Group (asi/191157). “Michael was very uplifting and had a wonderful spirit. It moved me to tears.”  

The keynote was co-sponsored by Evans Mfg. (asi/52840) and Showdown Displays (asi/87188).

The ASI Show Orlando was held at the Orange County Convention Center Sunday, January 23, through Tuesday, January 25. The industry’s largest event on the East Coast featured nearly 800 suppliers and more than 60 education sessions, sponsored by Fields Manufacturing (asi/54100). The show featured seven dynamic new speakers and 95% of ASI’s 2011 sessions are brand new.

The ASI Show Orlando opened Sunday with record-breaking Education Day attendance of more than 2,000. The first graduates of the Advertising Specialty Institute Certification Program received their certificates in a pinning ceremony Monday. To date, 3,327 industry professionals have registered for classes needed to obtain an ASI certificate. In Orlando, industry professionals could earn 75 points toward their Master of Advertising Specialty Information (MASI) and Bachelor of Advertising Specialty Information (BASI) certificates.

Timothy M. Andrews, president of The ASI Show and president and chief executive officer of ASI, on Monday announced the ad specialty industry began its recovery in earnest in 2010, increasing by 9.1% over 2009 to $17 billion, according to exclusive Counselor magazine research.

“We’re charging into 2011 with a brand-new show season pumped up by big attendance numbers and a re-energized industry,” said Andrews. “The enthusiasm for the new sales year by both suppliers and distributors is amazing.”

Andrews attributed the dramatic increase in ASI Orlando attendance to a number of factors, principally dates that are later in January than its historic dates, and also the beginning of a recovery in business conditions.

“ASI Orlando has developed into the leading East Coast show in January, drawing from distributors across the country,” Andrews said.  “The number of suppliers exhibiting this year is up nearly 10%, which reflects their recognition of the power of ASI Shows across the board.”

In 2012, ASI Orlando will be held January 16 through January 18.

In Orlando, Andrews hosted the first in a series of Town Hall meetings. The open Q&A forum was designed to gather input from participants on myriad issues affecting the ad specialty industry.

After exhibits closed on Monday night, distributors and suppliers participated in the much-anticipated ASI Peppermint Twist-Off to attempt to earn a spot in the Guinness World Records. Although official numbers will not be known for two weeks, all in attendance had a blast as they twisted to the legendary Joey Dee and the Starliters playing their hit “The Peppermint Twist.”

The ASI Fashion Show, featuring the latest in casual wear debuting for 2011, followed with rave reviews from distributors, who were able to see new promotional fashions.

More than 1,700 people attended a networking Gala Celebration at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. Nancy Millett, from Louisville Slugger (asi/60835), said, “Harry Potter is just great.” Les Kania, from Imprinted Specialty Products, said: “This night is just wonderful. This is the way to go to an amusement park. The bars are open, the lines are short and the food is good. It’s a terrific evening.” 

During Sunday’s annual Counselor Distributor Choice Awards, ASI announced Hit Promotional Products (asi/61125) had been named “Supplier of the Year” during a ceremony honoring the most-valued ASI suppliers in 54 product categories. For the list of winners and finalists, and to view photos from the ceremony, click here.

The two exhibition days provided suppliers with bustling, steady traffic, numerous networking opportunities and exposure to quality distributors.

“ASI Orlando has been a great show,” said Jason Grindall, from Graphco Line (asi/57956). “Booth traffic has been really good. We saw more distributors here at ASI Orlando during the first day alone than we did during the entire PPAI show. We are leaving with quality leads and have spent time with many wonderful people.”

“We are absolutely delighted to be at ASI Orlando,” said Mary Ellen Nichols, from supplier Bodek & Rhodes (asi/40788). “Not only is there an incredible volume of distributors coming through, we are seeing quality attendees.”

Distributors say ASI started off a new show season with a bang.

“We love having our meeting at ASI Orlando,” said David Regan, from The Vernon Group (asi/351700). “It’s a great way to start the year and 2011 is going to be a good year. Having all these suppliers in one place is terrific. Our people are really pumped up.”

Nancy Lay, from Indoff Inc. (asi/231011), said, “We’ve enjoyed ASI Orlando immensely. I‘m leaving with tons of great, new ideas. Seeing so many items up close has been terrific. Now, I need to go home and sell, sell, sell.”

Click here for full video coverage of ASI Show Orlando.

Click here for fashion show photos.

Register today for the ASI Show in Dallas, Wednesday, February 16-Friday, February 18, and the ASI Show in New York, Tuesday, March 22-Wednesday, March 24, at To learn more about exhibiting or sponsorship opportunities, contact Karen DiTomasso, vice president of sales, at [email protected].

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) is the largest education, media and marketing organization serving the advertising specialty industry, with a membership of over 26,000 distributor firms (sellers) and supplier firms (manufacturers) of advertising specialties.  Supplier firms use ASI print and electronic resources to market products to over 22,000 ASI distributor firms.  Distributor firms use ASI print and electronic resources, which contain nearly every product in the industry from more than 3,500 reputable suppliers, to locate supplier firms and to market services to buyers.  ASI provides catalogs, information directories, newsletters, magazines, websites and databases, and offers e-commerce, marketing and selling tools.  Visit ASI online at and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, the CEO’s blog and the ASI Social Network.

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