ASI Chicago 2014: Highlights and Trends from the Show Floor! [VIDEO]

If you’ve been following our blog for a while, then you probably know that every year around this time a lucky few of us get to ditch the office in favor of ASI’s annual trade show. This year was no different, and on July 16 four of us hit the trade show floor at McCormick Place in downtown Chicago.

From new gadgets to updated versions of the classics, booths at ASI Chicago showcased every promotional product you could imagine – and then some! Before we get down to the nitty gritty, check out this video our media team put together of all of the highlights from the show.

Sorry for making you feel bummed you missed out on all that fun! For those of you who couldn’t be there, never fear. I’m here to give you a rundown of all of the new trends in the promo product industry. So without further ado…

2014 Promotional Product Trends

Tech, tech, tech!

You may have noticed in the video that tech was the word on everyone’s tongues this year at the ASI Show. Since technology and gadgets rule the world, it’s only fitting that the promotional products industry is staying on trend and adapting to all of the new opportunities tech presents.

Whether its keeping your phone charged on the go with a custom car charger, blasting some tunes at a party with a Bluetooth speaker, or listening to music at work with headphones, the promo product industry has you covered!

The best part about all of these technological promo items is that EVERYONE can use them! No matter what industry you’re in, your customers are using smartphones and tablets that need charging!

You didn’t ask, but I’m gonna tell you: the second best part about all these gadgets is that they’re available in a wide variety of price points.

Mason Jars

In stark contrast to all of the technology innovations in our industry, old school mason jars are making a comeback. (Thanks, Pinterest!) Mason jars with handles, two-tone mason jars, ceramic mason jars – you name it, there’s a perfect mason jar for your event. Planning your ~*RuStiC FaiRyTaLe*~ dream wedding? Oh man, has the promotional products industry got you covered. Tailgating? School spirit? Craft club? Yep! We’ve got mason jars for everything.

Custom Shapes

We all know that there are a bazillion brands advertising and marketing to try to get a piece of consumers’ attention. With the airwaves more and more crowded with advertising and branding, the promotional products industry is offering complete customization with custom shapes to guarantee your brand has a truly unique marketing campaign.

From custom stress ball shapes to custom fans, mint tins, and sunglasses shapes your brand can create a one-of-a-kind promotion.

We saw all kinds of awesome things at ASI this year. However, one thing was notably missing. Which leads me to…

Tote Bag-gate 2k14

Even though the majority of the ASI Show was a smashing success, there was one tiny snafoo, which I am calling Tote Bag-gate 2k14 to be just as hyperbolic as everyone else who writes on the internet.

Every year at ASI after you register you are handed a convenient custom tote bag for the show. Like so:


2013’s ASI Show Chicago tote bags

2013’s ASI Show Chicago tote bags

Since this is a promotional products convention, these tote bags come in extremely handy for collecting all of the samples and catalogs your little heart desires.

However, when QLP checked in at registration around 10 a.m. there was not a staff member handing out ASI tote bags in sight! After doing a little investigating and trying to hunt down some tote bags, we overheard someone say, “I can’t believe they’re out of tote bags already!”

Upon further investigation, it was confirmed that all of the official ASI tote bags were gone. Yes, you read that correctly. One of the biggest – if not THE biggest – PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS CONFERENCES in the country ran out of tote bags.

Apparently there were more tote bags on deck, though we were not made aware of that.

“We did run out of our first set of tote bags, however we did have additional bags to give out so each attendee had something,” said Catherine Vadino, senior copywriter for the ASI Show. “We had a great turnout at ASI Chicago this year.”

Even though we didn’t get official ASI tote bags, it was really only a minor problem considering we were at a promotional products convention, so it was pretty easy to find a tote bag or 12 on the show floor.

Once we found some tote bags, we were all set to get the scoop on the latest and greatest in the industry.

Overall ASI Chicago was a blast, and we had a great time learning about all of the cool new things the promotional products industry has to offer! See ya next year, ASI!

Were you at ASI Chicago this year? What do you think about the trends in the industry? Did I miss any important trends? DID YOU GET A TOTE BAG?? Sound off in the comments below!

Quality Logo Products

Jenna Markowski

Jenna has a much easier time writing about the media and pop culture than she does writing about herself. She enjoys the simple things in life, like puns and typography. She is an avid fan of pop-punk, Halo 3, Spider-Man and origami, with a slight Taco Bell obsession. Her spirit animal is either a bulldog or a panda bear. You can also connect with Jenna on Google+.


  1. Matt

    I certainly don’t think we’ll see the tech trend die down any time soon. As it becomes more and more necessary to be constantly connected (for better or worse) there are more and more opportunities in the tech categories of promo goodies. Plus flash drives and on-the-go phone chargers look totally sweet with your name and logo on them!

  2. GREG

    Some cool new items! Give me a call to order yours today!

  3. Doc

    It definitely seems like the tech products are trending these days. It’s interesting to see multiple vendors take their cut at the “Beats by Dre” speakers and create a cost effective alternative. As always, Kurt and Joe took it to a whole new level. Great video. Thanks again, guys!

  4. Leo Avila

    Amazing! Tech is selling like hot cakes. Its amazing after seeing these videos year after year there is always a new trend. Last year it was all about full color printing now its tech. I wonder if next year it will be Hover boards? If so I can wait for next year!

  5. Kat D.

    The promo products industry is definitely a fun industry to be involved in; Looks like everyone had a blast!

  6. Angie

    I have been to this show myself a few times and I always enjoyed walking around and looking at all the promotional items. I thought I saw a customized pizza one time. The individual supplier booths are a hit and miss . . . some suppliers go all out and really do a great job of showcasing their products, and some acted like they could care less about being their or showcasing their product.

  7. Jen

    Another great article, Jenna! You guys look like you had so much fun (ahem, I’m jealous).

    I’m so glad to see tech on the rise, as we’re definitely getting more and more questions about these products. The price points can sometimes come with sticker shock, but the important part of buying tech promo items is the quality and SAFETY of them. Our vendors are highly reputable in the industry and spend countless hours (and dollars) putting together the right materials at the right cost. A fancy USB drive may be a few dollars more per item, but your customers will use them forever (and your company name will be right there in their face forever, too!).

  8. Bret Bonnet

    I miss the one and only ALEX!

  9. David

    Looks like a ton of fun was had this year’s convention. It never ceases to amaze me how much cool stuff there is for people to put their logo/name/information on. It’s also crazy how affordable really nice tech items have gotten. From home and car chargers to cases and padfolios for your tablets. Lots of good stuff out there.

  10. Mike Wenger

    You guys KILLED it on the floor. Sounds like technology is a totally dying aspect of the promotional product world; thank GOODNESS for the mason jars. 🙂 Thoroughly enjoyed your commentary on the headphones, and the shout out to our fellow west coast QLP’r. Nice work media & content!

  11. AG

    Sucks that ASI ran out of Tote Bags 🙁 Would of been pretty cool to see. Other than that, technology is trending all over the place so it doesn’t surprise me that it was such a huge hit in the promotional product field. Everyone does business digitally in some shape or form so we do always need to charge up our devices!! Looks like a fun event!! Good post. 🙂

  12. Jenkins

    I nearly died watching this video. The headphones bit (referencing the overpriced beats) nearly got me.

    As a tech guy myself I must say I am not surprised that tech is selling like mad! It’s the “wave of the future” everyone wants technology! Even it is is pointless to have! It’s that ‘new gadget’ feel!

  13. Kelly Bird

    Kurt, you can make me bread or row me home any day! I love you! XO

    • Kurt

      Right Back at You Lady Bird <3

  14. Erin

    Lots of great tech items – the power banks are one of my favorites and have been great sellers so far. Kurt & Joe – you cracked me up in the video!! Great work giving us the rundown on the hot new items at ASI this year!

  15. Jon

    Looks like it was a fun ASI show this year – as always, wish I could have been there 🙂

    If you would have asked me the focus of this show based on my orders I would have said any Tech stuff, Cups that look like Solo Cups, and Mason Jars. Looks like I was 2 for 3.

    As always, it looks like companies are putting a logo on anything that will allow for it – which is what I tell my customers I can do. If you ever are looking for something you don’t see on our site (like the slap bracelet can koozie) just let me know and I will be glad to hunt it down and see if we can help you get your logo on a bunch of them.

  16. Chuck

    You hit the nail right on the head. You cannot go wrong with a tech item. It can be used and a handout at the trade shows, which will definitely make you stand out from your competition or you can use them as employee or premier customer gifts, it’s what everybody wants! Check out item# Q52677, its a personal fav of mine!

  17. Peemo

    Mason Jars are EVERYWHERE!

    Three different neighbors showed up to my house Friday night with these things.

    None were logoed though, so my opportunity was there.

    Alas, not a sale was made. But, many mason jars were refilled with deliciousness throughout the night. So, mission accomplished?

  18. Erik Steinbrecher

    We obviously need to send you two to the ASI show in Las Vegas. I mean, what could go wrong?! It’s no surprise that tech related items are the rage right now. Cell phones and tablets make the world go round right now. If you want to grab the attention of your customer, give them something that will work with the product they use throughout the day. Now we’re talking serious R.O.I. Good stuff, gentlemen. It looks like you had a blast.

  19. alan

    I think Kurt needed to talk even louder…throughout the entire duration of the video.

  20. keith

    Fantastic job guys! Always a pleasure to watch your videos. We are definitely in the day and age were tech items are the way to go. They are great giveaways and will get you noticed!

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