Census-Related Ad Specialties Save Taxpayers Millions

Promo products serve as important reminder to mail in forms

TREVOSE, PA – May 27, 2010 – The promotional products industry is playing a major role in advertising the importance of the U.S. census via widely distributed branded items, the Advertising Specialty Institute said today.

As part of a massive awareness campaign, the U.S. government has reported spending $22.7 million on Census-related promotional products, including mugs, T-shirts, hats, water bottles and pencils. In total, 62.5 million promotional items have been given away in the campaign, at an estimated cost of a quarter per product or a nickel per person.

According to a Census official, using promotional items as reminders, instead of sending government representatives door-to-door, could save U.S. taxpayers up to $85 million.

“So far, more than 72% of the nation’s households have mailed back their census forms, which the Census Bureau says already surpasses the total response rate in 2000 of 67%,”said Timothy M. Andrews, president and CEO of the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI). “We’re happy the promotional products industry has played its part in helping this critical survey, which the government relies on to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to tribal, state and local governments each year.”

Overall, the Census Bureau has paid $340 million for advertising, targeting $140 million to television, print and Internet ads. The cost of these “mainstream media” ads is roughly $1 per person. According to an exclusive ASI survey, the average cost-per-impression of an ad specialty item is $0.004.

ASI distributor PromoShop (asi/300446) contracted with a number of U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, Burbank and Glendale, to provide a variety of Census-branded promotional items, including pens, sticky notes, bags, water bottles and magnets.  

“I was most excited to connect with the communities to provide useful and practical products to promote participation and educate households on the importance of being counted,” said PromoShop President Memo Kahan.

ASI distributor Halo/Lee Wayne (asi/356000) worked with the Kansas City Census office on its campaign, “It’s In Our Hands,” which distributed promotional items throughout Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Oklahoma.

The items included patriotic stickers from supplier Gill Studios Inc. (asi/56950), mood pencils from Jo-Bee (asi/63384), bright ID/bag tags from Senator (asi/86390) and Quikey Mfg Co. (asi/80210), rulers from Pilgrim Plastics (asi/78100), and can holders from Cooler Graphics (asi/80345). Many of the items were distributed at schools and county fairs. Census workers were also outfitted with embroidered polo shirts from Akwa (asi/33280).

“I found it rewarding to use my expertise to guide our government to quality, affordable promotional products for their awareness program,” said Halo/Lee Wayne Senior Account Executive Anita Daniels. “So much hinges on the U.S. Census. It gave me a great sense of pride knowing the government was helping me and I was helping some of my fellow American workers.”

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) is the largest 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 asicentral.com and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, the CEO’s blog and the ASI Social Network.

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