On November 9, 2011, the President signed an Executive Order on “Promoting Efficient Spending” instructing all federal agencies and departments to limit spending associated with travel, technology, printing, vehicles and promotional products.
PPAI was alerted that the Executive Order was imminent a few days before its announcement. PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, immediately petitioned the President, saying: “While it might be tempting to limit the purchase of promotional products in order to yield some short-term savings, in the long term, this limitation may unintentionally diminish the good work of federal agencies. Time and again, promotional products have proven themselves to be the most cost-effective way to reach targeted audiences in a tangible, long-lasting and memorable manner.”
The Order calls for each executive agency to establish a plan for reducing the combined costs associated with travel, employee information technology devices, printing, executive fleet efficiencies and extraneous promotional items by not less than 20 percent below fiscal year 2010 levels in fiscal year 2013 which starts in October 2012.
Specifically, the Executive Order directs these agencies to limit purchases of: “Extraneous Promotional Items. Agencies should limit the purchase of promotional items (e.g., plaques, clothing, and commemorative items), in particular where they are not cost-effective.”
This is a goal for fiscal year 2013 only, which begins on October 1, 2012. The executive agencies, which include the Treasury, Defense and Agriculture departments, and the entities that are part of them, must submit their plans to the Office of Management and Budget by December 24, 2011. Independent agencies, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, are requested to comply. For more information on these agencies, review the government’s listing of Departments online.
“We need to make sure we have members of Congress watching out for us,” says Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI president and CEO. “The government efforts against our industry are not coming through traditional channels. Executive orders are written privately and released—without public input or debate. We must have sentinels on every public policy corner. This is the second time in the past two months that vigilant members have given us critical insights and allowed us to preemptively respond to threats. In both cases, those inside Washington acknowledged that they were surprised we had found out about what they are doing.”
What can you do?
We need you to contact the White House right now and ask President Obama to reconsider this directive. Then, contact your member of Congress and let him or her know that the President’s Executive Order could harm this industry and pose a threat to small businesses throughout the country.
Remind them that, while it might be tempting to limit the purchase of promotional products in order to yield some short-term savings, in the long term, this limitation may unintentionally diminish the good work of Federal agencies. Time and again, promotional products have proven themselves to be the most cost-effective way to reach targeted audiences in a tangible, long-lasting and memorable manner.
Viral, mobile, highly targeted and inexpensive, promotional products are the only advertising medium capable of engaging all five senses. Many legislators don’t yet know that promotional products are the most cost-effective method for smaller businesses to market their products or services. Too few elected officials know how essential promotional products are to the marketing mix and the industry, to the national economy.
Do not put this off—take action today to protect our industry.
You need to communicate with both the President and your members of Congress. Because mail no longer gets through to Congressional offices in a timely fashion, it is essential that you call, e-mail and fax your Representative and be sure to identify yourself as a constituent in the e-mail header:
1. Call the President using this phone script.
2. E-mail the President.
3. Call your members of Congress using this call prompt and script.
4. E-mail your members of Congress.
5. Fax: Visit PPAI’s legislative software online and use the zip code search engine on the site to access your Representative’s website. You will find the fax number there.
No matter what the nature of the conversation, follow up the phone call with written communication by fax or e-mail. Please share copies of your correspondence with PPAI. We would also appreciate any report on the results of your efforts.