As a relatively new member of the Quality Logo Products content team, this was my first year attending the Advertising Specialty Institute show in Chicago, or ASI. I had a blast with my co-workers and supervisor and learned so much about promotional products, which was pretty easy since there were over 700 vendors there showcasing the best items in the industry.
I had no idea what to expect and I had only heard of the legendary swag we’d get to take home, but the show didn’t disappoint. So, what do you pass out to attract potential customers at a promotional products trade show? Haven’t we seen it all? You’d think so, but there were several products that blew me away and stood out among all of the personalized pens, candies, tote bags, stress balls, lanyards, and koozies at the booths (to name a select few).
In case you don’t keep track of the weather here in Northern Illinois, allow me to share with you that on Wednesday, July 20, Chicago experienced almost record-breaking heat and humidity (if you were outside though, you’d swear we surpassed the record by a landslide). Because of that fact, the fans you see to the right were my favorite of the day. Convention halls are not known for their stellar air-conditioning units, even in the best of weather. If you’re a soon-to-be exhibitor at a trade show, I highly recommend these durable Plastic Fans with your company’s name and information on them. A small breeze was a godsend, and as a newbie trade show visitor I had no idea of the conditions. I was glad someone else knew ahead of time and came prepared.
The best pens of the day were these Mr. Suave Pens. I have one in my cup holder on my desk and I smile every time I click his head to write with. They’re just one of those promotional products that are so different from the standard click pens I come across on a daily basis. I’d also like to add that as a pen snob (I hate pens that don’t write smoothly or the ink isn’t dark enough to actually read in fluorescent lights), they’re great! The cushion also makes it easy to write for a longer amount of time without your hand cramping up. Instead of debating cap or click, you should be asking yourself; cap, click or clever?
The top prize for my favorite stress reliever was hands down this little guy. I love Bubba as much as every other QLP employee, but c’mon! It’s Bubba in a superhero costume! I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t squeal out loud when I saw him. He also now has a spot on my desk (one day I’ll have to take a picture of my desk and post it in a blog), and he’s a great conversation starter from passersby. Anyone can pass out round stress balls, but why not send a superhero to do the job of promoting your brand? (I’d also like to clarify that he’s wearing a yellow belt, his shirt is not just too small).
The ASI Chicago show was a great experience and one that I hope to be a part of again. The biggest thing I pulled away from this show’s giveaways is that sometimes simple and unique products, occasionally mixed with a dash of hero power, will make a larger impression than expensive and flashy giveaways.
Here are some close-ups of the promotional products we took home with us on our ASI adventure:
Which promotional products are your favorites? Do you have any questions about the ASI Show or about the industry in general?