New ASI Study: Promo Products Deliver Bigger, Better Bang for Buck

Rank among the most influential, enduring and cost-effective ad mediums available; Commanding advertiser recall among 87% of all recipients

TREVOSE, PA – November 13, 2012 – The Advertising Specialty Institute® (ASI) today released results from a global survey proving promotional products give consumers a more favorable impression of advertisers in every international city surveyed and deliver commanding advertiser recall among 87% of all recipients – up four percentage points over 2010.

In addition, ASI’s Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study V.3 shows promotional products consistently rank among the most influential, enduring and cost-effective ad mediums available. A cost analysis of promotional products versus other advertising media, the study proves the investment in logoed items is modest, more targeted and more achievable for smaller businesses than other forms of advertising.

With a cost per impression* at about half a penny, promo products offer the best value when compared to local TV or radio, at a fraction of the production cost, the study shows.

The V.3 study, a follow-up to the definitive 2008 and 2010 surveys, includes demographic information broken down by political affiliation, ethnicity, gender, age and income, since knowing the likely recipient of products is paramount for an advertiser. This year, the comprehensive report includes more global markets and additional products, such as USBs.

For the study, conducted from July through September of 2012, ASI’s research team hit the streets and interviewed consumers in 12 North American and European cities. Results show promotional products are consistently popular and persistent, with most people owning about 10 items they generally keep for nearly six months, a far longer time period than any other form of advertising.

The study, launched by ASI’s research team to give its members powerful data to convince clients of the cost-effectiveness of promotional products, was released Monday at the 2012 ASI Power Summit in Naples, Florida.

“ASI’s global study once again proves the lasting value of promotional products and their power to persuade consumers from New York to LA, London, Paris and beyond,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI. “Distributors and suppliers now have potent proof to show customers, prospects and end-buyers how ad specialties can increase sales and brand exposure. There is no better tool available to convince end-buyers to spend more of their marketing dollars on promotional products.”

Highlights from the Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study V.3 include:

  • Cost Per Impression. In the U.S., the cost per impression of a promotional product is 0.6 cents, compared to prime-time TV and national magazines at 1.8 cents each and 0.7 cents for newspapers.
  • Worldwide Wow. Over one-half (52%) of the time, products give consumers a more favorable impression of the advertiser, a trend seen in every country surveyed.
  • Generating New Business. One-third of U.S. consumers say they are more likely to do business with an advertiser after getting their logoed product.
  • Latino Market Magnet. At 54%, Latino consumers own the most promotional T-shirts.
  • Mais Oui. Parisians are far more likely to own promotional USB drives than consumers in other cities, with 27% owning them, versus 9% of U.S. consumers.
  • Safe, Healthy Cities. In Dallas and Montreal, 11% of consumers own promotional health and safety items, versus the U.S. average of 8%.
  • Top 3 Products. Writing instruments (50%), shirts (43%) and bags (29%) were the most popular products by category in the U.S.
  • Superior Pass-Along Value. Sixty-six percent of U.S. respondents give away unwanted items to someone else, up 15 percentage points from 2008.
  • Bags are Big. In the U.S., 29% of consumers who own promo products own a promotional bag, with Asian consumers owning the most of any racial demographic.
  • Voters Speak. More Independents (48%) than Republicans (44%) and Democrats (39%) have a logoed shirt at home.
  • Golden Oldie. As consumers age, they’re more likely to own a promotional calendar.
  • In the Office. Women are more likely to own a promo desk accessory in their offices than men, by a margin of 20% to 14%.
  • Cap-Tastic. White men are the most likely demographic group to own branded caps, versus 15% of African Americans and 12% of women.
  • Cheers. Gen-Xers and older own more promotional drinkware than those under 35. Of 12 cities surveyed, Philadelphians love logoed mugs and glasses the most, with 21% of Philly consumers owning promotional drinkware.
  • You Wear it Well. Higher wage earners are more likely to own a promotional jacket.

“Other advertising mediums interrupt or even annoy consumers, but ad specialties actually provide something useful, like a pen to write with, a shirt to wear or a calendar to pick a date,” said Andrews. “Not only do ad specialties make impressions on everyone who sees them, but messaging is reinforced every time the item is used. No other form of media can allow the advertiser to so closely tie a benefit to the recipient.”

“With this study, distributors can offer clients compelling evidence that the best way to stamp a brand or message on the minds of consumers is through promotional products,” said Andrews. “As we’ve proven, recipients clearly remember the advertisers on logoed items. Armed with this data, distributors can target an audience and confidently recommend the best, most effective products and ideas to their clients.”

For a downloadable PDF of the study, graphics and a video, click here. To Tweet about ASI’s ad impressions study, use this link:

ASI’s research studies are the most influential in the industry’s history, continuously cited throughout the B-to-B industry and across the advertising and marketing spectrum.

For this study, in addition to on-site interviews in New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Seattle, Dallas, Philadelphia, London, Paris, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, an online panel survey was conducted among recipients in the same geographic areas to augment the sample from the man-on-the-street interviews, for a total of 4,468 completed surveys.

Promotional products are defined as items that include pens, T-shirts, mugs, calendars, or any items that have a logo or message from an advertiser on them. They are usually given away for free to consumers in hopes of positively influencing their purchasing preferences or their attitudes toward the advertiser.

For more information, contact Larry Basinait, executive director of research for ASI, at (800) 546-1416 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. ASI leads the industry in technology solutions, providing cloud-based e-commerce, enterprise resource planning software (ERP) and customer relationship management software (CRM). ESP Web™ is the industry’s leading tool for sourcing hundreds of thousands of products. A family-owned business since 1962, ASI also provides online research, marketing, advertising opportunities, trade shows, education, award-winning magazines, newsletters, custom websites and catalogs to help members sell, market and promote their brands. Visit ASI at and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and the CEO’s blog.

* Numbers derived by ASI from data provided by The Nielsen Company and ComScore Ad Metrix.