It is with great pleasure that I repost an article by PPB’s editor, Tina Filipski. It’s good reading. Enjoy!

AWXII Blog Article - I Love New York T-ShirtGuest blog by Tina Berres Filipski, editor, PPB magazine | Originally published in Advertising Week Social Club, September 15, 2015

With the abundance of ad messages coming at consumers from multiple sources, it’s not surprising that ad avoidance is at an all-time high. This tendency to close an ad or change the channel is a real concern because marketers want their audience to desire engagement with their brands. Best-selling author, entrepreneur and agent of change, Seth Godin, whose blog is one of the most popular in the world, recently wrote that the most valuable forms of marketing are consumed voluntarily.

An Hour with Seth Godin InviteHear more from Seth Godin on how to initiate meaningful conversations with your audiences when PPAI presents “An Hour With Seth Godin” on October 1 at the Hard Rock Café New York.

Click here to reserve tickets.

Advertisers have discovered that the way to the decision-making part of the brain is not only through a prospect’s eyes or ears. Advertising that appeals to people’s sense of smell (a branded pen filled with vanilla-scented ink), taste (a gift box of silky chocolates) and touch (the softness of a Pima cotton logoed t-shirt) is a fresh approach to driving sales and, more importantly, to making the advertising message stick.

Today, we hold more computer power in the palm of our hand than Apollo 11 had when it landed a man on the moon. Technology feeds us a constant stream of news, notes, entertainment, educational content and advertising messages 24/7, on the device of choice, at our desks, in airports, on busses, trains and planes, in bars and restaurants, in our cars, on the street and in our homes. It’s conservatively estimated that the average adult is exposed to no fewer than 200 visual advertising messages a day; that’s 70,000 per year. Amid all the noise, it’s easy to filter ad messages, confuse them or tune them out completely.

It’s not surprising then, that the average adult has an attention span of  eight seconds (the average goldfish can pay attention for nine seconds) so advertisers must create messages and methods of communicating them that are innovative, engaging and memorable.

This is where taking a multi-sensory approach with sound, touch, taste and smell reinforce the visual message to produce a more powerful and memorable experience both for the advertiser and the prospect. Yasushi Kusume, a brand and innovation designer, author, speaker and lecturer says that applying multi-sensory design to all the touch points (moments of contact with a user) allows a product or service to produce a more complete, and ultimately better brand experience.

Appealing to the senses can also positively affect consumers’ memory about the brand. In one example, scientists discovered that adding tea tree oil to wooden pencils helped recipients remember the logo on the pencils. Two weeks later, recipients who received fragrance-free pencils experienced a 73-percent decline in recall but for those who used the scented pencils, there was only an eight-percent decline.

So how do you create a multi-sensory experience? Pairing an online ad with an offer for a tangible promotional product (such as a logoed travel cup offered in an online ad from a state tourism department) is a proven way to keep the ad message top of mind. Liquor distributors have found value in promoting new brands by partnering with bars to serve up their drinks in LED-lit take-home glasses. Real estate agents and homebuilders keep their names in front of new homeowners by gifting them with a logoed key chain embedded with a sound chip. Likewise, take-out restaurants can remain memorable longer if they tuck a sound-activated refrigerator magnet into each order. Car dealers can also keep that new-car smell fresh in a new owner’s mind with a scented car air freshener. Insurance companies and banks can put a smile on clients’ faces by sending them home with a chocolate-scented pen or beribboned gift pack of the real thing.

By creating multi-sensory experiences in pairing the tactile value of promotional products with visual or auditory media, advertisers are also reinforcing name recognition for the brand as research shows that 88 percent of consumers were able to recall the advertiser’s name on a promotional product received in the past 12 months, while only 71 percent could recall a newspaper ad seen the week before.

“If a picture’s worth a thousand words, what’s the worth of the real thing?” asks promotional consultant, author and speaker Jae M. Rang, MAS, in her new book Sensory Media. “I’m going to suggest its image to the power of five—five representing our five senses. Here’s why: When you hold a promotional product you hold the “brand in your hand.” It’s different than seeing a billboard or watching a commercial. A promotional product is an interactive, multi-sensory communication tool that can create or recreate a brand experience. Each time you pick up that pen, wear that t-shirt, drink from that water bottle, or write on that sticky note, you’re reminded of where it came from and are, in some way, interacting with the brand imprinted on the product.”

Unlike all other forms of advertising, promotional products recipients actually say “thank-you” to the giver and then keep and use the product for up to two years on average. No other media can claim that.

In a world where consumers are flooded with ad messages, and the staying power of the impression can be as fleeting as an Instagram post, promotional products offer a tangible, memorable and refreshingly innovative way to promote a brand.


Tina Berres Filipski, editor, PPB magazineTina Berres Filipski is editor of PPB (Promotional Products Business) magazine, the flagship publication of Promotional Products Association International, the trade association serving more than 11,000 manufacturers, decorators and promotional agencies in the U.S. and around the world. Before joining PPAI in 1995, she produced publications for the meetings/hospitality and home furnishings industries, as well as a consumer magazine for upscale Dallas-Ft. Worth homeowners.


People Love Promotional Products

The Influence Of Promotional Products On Consumer Behavior

Effectiveness Of Promotional Products As An Ad Medium

Invitation to “An Hour With Seth Godin”

"An Hour With Seth Godin" | Advertising Week AWXII | Hard Rock Cafe New York | October 1, 10 am

“An Hour With Seth Godin” | Advertising Week AWXII | Hard Rock Cafe New York | October 1, 10 am

I am pleased to announce that PPAI is presenting a thought leadership session during Advertising Week (AWXII) featuring a conversation with Seth Godin. “An Hour With Seth Godin” will take place at the Hard Rock Café New York at 1501 Broadway, on October 1, 2015, 10 am.

Seth is a best-selling author, entrepreneur and agent of change. His blog (@ThisIsSethsBlog) is one of the most popular in the world. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and, most of all, changing everything.

What to do When it's Your TurnI hope you are able to join me for this one-on-one discussion with Seth about his new book, What to do When it’s Your Turn, avoiding the race to the bottom, the importance of community-building and a whole lot more. We will discuss a broad spectrum of topics designed to inspire, inform and initiate meaningful conversations among marketing and communications leaders throughout the promotional products industry and beyond.

Advertising Week AWXIITickets are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are interested in attending, please send me an email to reserve your seat. The first 100 attendees will receive Seth’s new book and a book signing will immediately follow.

Advertising Week is a long-standing partner in PPAI’s mission to reach buyers in an influential and highly targeted way.  This week-long gathering of the advertising industry’s best and brightest brand marketers, creative visionaries and media leaders and influencers is an ideal setting for us to initiate thoughtful conversations, inform meaningful decisions and inspire consideration and buying of promotional products advertising. This is just one more positive and powerful way the Association engages in buyer outreach to drive the industry’s business forward and position it with strength now and in the future.

We are pleased to partner with Advertising Week to bring this conversation with Seth Godin to you.

I hope to see you there,


P.S. I am also very excited to report that Seth is the featured keynote for The PPAI Expo 2016, January 10-14, in Las Vegas.

Government Relations Update

A guest blog by Seth Barnett, PPAI Government Relations Manager

State of the States

Earlier this month, PPAI Government Relations Manager Seth Barnett attended the National Conference of State Legislators in Seattle, where he connected with state-level leaders from across the nation. More than 5,500 state politicians, legislative staff members, and non-profit and trade association leaders met to discuss the most pressing issues faced by the states. This year’s theme focused on states learning to work effectively despite any standstills at the federal level. Many of the speakers looked to empower state officials to become more hands-on in their legislative approach. Presenters and leaders issued a call for renewed advocacy at the business level. Many businesses neglect connecting with state officials, though as political efforts progress, the need for this connection is always present.

The previous legislative conference focused on dwindling American approval of the U.S. Congress, and ways state legislators can avoid the same situation. This year the idea was given new emphasis as legislators and staff were challenged to better understand their constituents. This personal level of connection is often overlooked at the state level but there is a growing need for businesses to be understood by those who represent them in the state houses. Much of the content surrounded some of the work that is being done at the non-profit and association advocacy level.

States remain focused on creating and maintaining opportunities for small business. They are also beginning to better understand growing areas of concern for many businesses including social compliance and economic opportunity.

It is important to remember that work is being done at the state level on behalf of the promotional products industry. PPAI has continued to meet state outreach goals through its L.E.A.D. Local events, which introduce industry leaders to state officials to discuss the power of the industry.

It is up to the industry, not just the Association, to ensure that state advocacy continues. PPAI has several resources that can be used at the state level including the Industry Legislative Agenda and industry position statements. These items are available at PPAI encourages industry members to take action by following the link below to send a letter about the value of our industry to your state officials.

The Cost-Effective Advertising Tool In Your State

L.E.A.D. Local California

This week PPAI joined four industry leaders in Sacramento, California for the fourth L.E.A.D. Local event. Prior L.E.A.D. Local events have been held in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas.

PPAI staff Anne Stone, Director of Public Affairs and Seth Barnett, Government Relations Manager, joined Harris Cohen, MAS and Neil Levitt of Southern California and Jon Henrickson and Stacy Weiss of Northern California to conduct nearly 20 key legislative meetings. The group discussed the value of the promotional products industry to the California economy and the effectiveness of the medium. Their message was amplified by the statewide virtual fly in effort that gave those in the industry not in attendance the opportunity to have their voice heard by state officials.

This event was successful thanks to PPAI’s collaboration with the Specialty Advertising Association of California and the Promotional Marketing Association of Northern California to create a wider reach and a more significant industry impact. PPAI will continue to collaborate with all regional associations in order to deliver this event year over year.

The Looming Debt Limit, Again

In July the Treasury Department notified lawmakers that they only have until the end of October to raise the debt limit or face another crippling government shutdown. While Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has insisted that they cannot target a specific date on which the debt limit will be reached, he has said with certainty that it will be before the end of the first session. In March the Treasury Department took measures to ensure that the government would not meet the fast-approaching limit. However, this early movement created less opportunity for financial adjustment as the new limit nears.

Congress has started to develop a plan to avoid a government shutdown. This would help avoid a repeat of the 2013, when a shutdown lasted for 16 days. Lawmakers will face many financial debates upon their return to the Hill in September. They are still looking for a long-term plan for highway spending, and they will need to address tax provisions and debate the Export-Import Bank charter.

While there remains some debate over the actual date of the approaching debt limit, Congress must work to create an effective plan to avoid overspending as part of their first priorities after the August recess concludes.

To learn more about PPAI’s legislative efforts, visit

Do Your Due Diligence Before Accepting That Next Order–No Matter How Good It Looks

Earlier today I had an email exchange with an alleged scammer (“Matt”) who wanted to buy 7,500 flash drives and various other electronic products. He had no idea that PPAI doesn’t make or sell promotional products. He said he got my name from “a promotional list.’ Having heard of a few recent scams, I decided to play along.

PPB -- May Issue, pp. 21-24

PPB — May Issue, pp. 21-24

During my exchange, I did a little research and found the business to be non-existent, the shipping address to be an abandoned house in another city (thank you Google Maps) and no chance of verifying a credit card prior to accepting the order. Needless to say, when the interrogation continued, Matt quietly backed out of the deal.

Let this be a reminder that in business (as in life) there are people who will prey on those less informed (or maybe a bit too motivated to close a deal). With more and more business being conducted online, it is increasingly important that you pay attention and do whatever due diligence is necessary to make sure the people you are doing business with are who they say they are.

I have attached a link to a recent column in PPB that talks about this type of scam and others, and how you can better protect yourself from becoming the next victim.

PPB Column: “Are You The Next Victim?

Be careful out there.


Have you met The Party Animal?

‘Product Persona’ co-op advertising campaign gives voice and personality to promotional products and is designed to inspire and engage buyers.

‘Product Persona’ co-op advertising campaign gives voice and personality to promotional products and is designed to inspire and engage buyers.

Have you met The Party Animal? He and his friends are ready to celebrate with you during Promotional Products Work! Week, May 18-22.

Download him and his friends today, and Party On!

The #PPWWeek campaign creates opportunities for the promotional products industry to open doors, build relationships, serve communities, advocate for the industry, speak up in the halls of government, show customer appreciation, and generates millions of impressions through outreach and earned media exposure—and now advertising.

The new ‘Product Persona’ co-op advertising campaign gives voice and personality to promotional products and is designed to inspire and engage buyers while forging connections with promotional products consultants. The campaign’s ads star popular promotional products and will increase awareness, educate buyers and drive business.

Promotional Products Work! Week - May 18-22, 2015Launched by PPAI in 2013, #PPWWeek is an international week-long event aimed at raising awareness of the benefits of promotional products advertising and marketing. This year the theme is Focus On The Buyer—advertisers, marketers and media buyers.

Product Persona campaign’s ads star popular promotional products and will increase awareness, educate buyers.

Product Persona campaign’s ads star popular promotional products and will increase awareness, educate buyers.

Click to download the tips, tools and co-op ad package:

For more information or questions email

We’ve made it easier than ever.

Join us for the celebration.


The Budget and American Opportunity

A guest blog by Seth Barnett, PPAI Government Relations Manager

This month the House and Senate began debating the many variations of the FY 2016 budget proposals. Though there are billions of dollars in variants and hundreds of proposed changes to balance the budget, the commonality in these is a strategic approach to ensuring economic growth, middle class opportunity and a reduced deficit. Members of Congress are pushing for the first balanced budget since the Clinton administration and have said they believe that, for the first time in many years, an agreed-upon plan is likely. The Congressional Budget Office, the Office of Management and Budget, and the President agree that in order for any of the proposals to have validity, it will have to ensure bipartisan support with special attention to deficit reduction. It is now up to the new Congress to create compromise that ensures economic stability.

In 2014 the U.S. GDP grew more than it had since 2010, helping the economy to somewhat resemble the prosperous late 1990s. In addition, the world economy is doing better as a whole, contributing to American opportunity. Due to the higher-than-projected year by the European Central Bank, Europe has increased its estimated economic growth from 1% to 1.5%. This small adjustment could mean than in just a few years Europe will be back to its own pre-2008 economic levels. Europe’s powerhouses–Germany, the United Kingdom and France–remain economically more stable than over half of the EU. Still, the U.S. economy thrives when Europe does as we are their largest export partner and third largest import partner. In order to keep this relationship constant, the U.S. will need a long-term growth plan for economic success.

The most significant threat to economic opportunity at this point comes down to the critical budget proposals. On May 15 last year, the U.S. reached its debt ceiling but avoided an immediate shutdown. Thanks to some clever accounting by the Treasury Department, the U.S. will not run out of money until sometime around October 1. If this limit is reached without a balanced budget or without a continuing resolution we could experience another government shutdown. When the government closed for 16 days in 2013, it is estimated that the U.S. lost .3% of its estimated growth. Another blow like that could set our GDP back even further.

The House- led Rules Committee has struggled to come to the table with a cooperative budget plan. Earlier last week they announced that there would be two unique votes on the current budget proposals. One budget proposal would have defense levels at a specific point while the other would slightly modify those levels. The House and Senate passed budget resolutions last week just before recessing for the two week holiday. The deficit is the most significant difference between the President’s budget proposal and the plans passed in Congress. The President’s plan would maintain current debt levels over a period of ten years before then beginning to drop off whereas the Congressional plan would slightly reduce deficit over the same time period. The interesting component of the budget plans is that they each allow for a similar reduction over FY 2016.

Congress will continue to strive for a balanced budget with all sides winning. However, it will be up to steady compromise to ensure the budget is agreed upon in time and without economic causality.

To read more from PPAI LAW, see this month’s GR Today.

PPAI Responds to The Oklahoman’s Report on State Spending on Promotional Products

Oklahoma Take Action: Tell your officials and representatives that you support responsible spending and the effective use of promotional products to promote essential government programs – and urge them to do the same.

Write your representatives now.

The Oklahoman MastheadA few days ago, The Oklahoman editorial board published the article, “In attacking Oklahoma state budget hole, every little bit of savings helps,” on wasteful government spending on promotional products.

PPAI answered the report with a response supporting responsible spending and the effective use of promotional products to promote essential government programs. Thus, allowing readers to consider the facts for themselves.

I encourage you to write your representatives to share how extensive industry research demonstrates that promotional products deliver the highest rate of reach, recall and response making them one of the most effective advertising and marketing media for all advertisers, including federal, state and local governments.

Thank you for your support.