Election Spending Fuels 4.6% 3Q Earnings Spike in Ad Specialty Industry; Sales Hit $5 Billion

Political promotional products help industry post gains for 11th straight quarter

TREVOSE, PA – October 25, 2012 – The Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) today announced third-quarter distributor sales of promotional products rose 4.6%, reaching $5 billion, fueled largely by spending on election-related products.

The industry has posted gains for 11 straight quarters, according to ASI surveys. Nearly half of all distributors in the $18.5 billion promotional products industry sell election-related items like yard signs, flyers, pins, buttons and T-shirts used by campaigns and special interest groups to promote their candidate or cause.

ASI estimates total election-related ad specialty spending in 2012 will hit $870 million. Click here to watch a YouTube video featuring the hottest Barack Obama and Mitt Romney promotional products of the 2012 election season, including the Romney punching puppet and Obama trailer hitch cover.

Total advertising specialty expenditures for the first six months of the year grew 5.3% to $8.5 billion. By contrast, total advertising expenditures – which exclude promotional products – for the same time period grew 1.9% to $67.1 billion, according to Kantar Media, the leading provider of strategic advertising and marketing information.

“This latest ASI sales survey is another indication of continued growth for a recession-proof industry that began a strong rebound more than two years ago on the heels of the worst economic downturn in recent history,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI, the largest media, marketing and education organization serving the promotional products industry. “According to our surveys, the industry as a whole defied the recession and actually grew by 6.2% in 2011 and is on track to end this year nearly as strong.”

The average cost-per-impression of an ad specialty item is half a penny, beating nearly all other forms of advertising. Ad specialties, aka promotional products, are items imprinted with logos or slogans and are often given away to market a company, organization, product, service, achievement or event. A recent ASI study found 84% of respondents remembered the advertisers on promotional products they’d received, demonstrating their high return on investment for marketers and businesses.

ASI derived its election estimate by comparing total promotional product spending to total advertising spending in the U.S. and estimates of the total amount spent on elections this year. Not all of the promotional political products are sold through the distributor channel.

Democrat Barack Obama’s reelection campaign store offers everything from $12 “I Meow for Michelle” cat collars to $90 silver-plated Obama-Biden bangles. Among other items, Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign store features $3 Mitt photo buttons and $60 Romney sweatshirts.

ASI’s sales surveys are prepared by Larry Basinait, executive director of ASI research services. ASI commissioned its exclusive survey to estimate industry sales. Invitations went to ASI distributor members who were the primary contact with their firms, and had been in business at least one year.

For more information, contact Dawn Marie, ASI’s public relations manager, at (215) 953-3119 or [email protected].

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) is the largest media, marketing and education organization serving the promotional products industry, with a network of over 27,000 distributors and suppliers throughout North America.