MEDIA RELEASE: New Study Says Promo Products Beat Prime-Time TV

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Logoed ad specialties cheaper per impression than prime-time TV, radio and print

“Promo products are used by virtually every business in America, for good reason – they work. Just check your own office. How many do you have?”

The Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) today released a landmark study that proves the undeniable power of promotional products, which beat out prime-time TV, radio and print advertising as the most cost-effective advertising medium available.

The most significant findings of the Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study show marketers get a more favorable return on investment from logoed products than almost any other popular media, with a very low cost per impression (CPI), high recall among those who receive ad specialty items, and increased intent among recipients to buy from the advertiser.

Promotional products, or advertising specialties, are items like pens, T-shirts, caps, coffee mugs and high-tech electronics imprinted with a logo or slogan to promote everything from a new store opening or hot new product to a Super Bowl win or even the U.S. census.

“Promo products are used by virtually every business in America, for good reason – they work. Just check your own office. How many do you have?” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of ASI. “Using logoed items, which cost just a half a penny per impression, even smaller companies can deliver the kind of high-impact punch enjoyed by multi-million-dollar companies.”

Among key findings, study results show:

  •     Cost per Impression. In the U.S., the CPI of a promotional product stayed virtually the same from 2008 to 2010, at $0.005.
  •     Promo Product Capital. Among seven major metro markets, more people in Los Angeles own promotion products, at an average of 12.7 items.
  •     Gender Preferences. Males are more likely than females to own promotional shirts and caps, while females are more likely to have bags, writing instruments, calendars and health and safety products.
  •     Ethnic Preferences. African Americans have more promo products on average (11.3) than any other group.
  •     Positive Reinforcement. Seventy-five percent of independent voters prefer consumer-branded products; nearly 1.5 times more than Democrats or Republicans.
  •     Identifying the Advertiser. Eighty-three percent in the U.S. say they can identify the advertiser on a promotional item they own.
  •     Global Reach. Nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents from Great Britain have received and kept a promotional pen in the last 12 months. In the U.S., writing instruments are used the most often, an average of 18.2 times per month.
  •     Popular Products. The most commonly owned promo products among U.S. respondents are writing instruments (46%), followed by shirts (38%) and calendars (24%).

It’s important to note that the pass-along rate has actually increased 11 points from just two years ago – which speaks directly to the global recycling trend. 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.

For a downloadable pdf of the study, a video and graphics, click here.

The 2.0 study, a follow-up to the definitive 2008 survey, includes new demographic information on politics, ethnicity, gender and age, since knowing the likely recipient of products is paramount for an advertiser. This year, the comprehensive report also adds global markets and includes more products, such as automotive accessories and food.

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. To complete its research, ASI conducted a total of 3,332 online and in-person surveys, including interviews with businesspeople in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, London, Toronto and Montreal metro areas.

At $0.005, the average CPI of an advertising specialty item is less than nearly any other media. According to data obtained by ASI*, the CPI for a national magazine ad is $0.045; for a newspaper ad, $0.029; for a prime-time TV ad, $0.018; for a cable prime-time TV ad, $0.005; for a syndicated daytime TV ad, $0.005; and for a spot radio ad, $0.058.

About ASI
The Advertising Specialty Institute 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 23,000 ASI distributor firms. Distributor firms use ASI print and electronic resources, which contain nearly every product in the industry from more than 3,200 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 at and on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and the CEO’s blog.

  • Numbers derived by ASI from data provided by The Nielsen Company, Outdoor Advertising Association of America, Columbus Dispatch and


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