The show floor at PROMOTIONS EAST, the industry’s premier East Coast event, opened this morning at the Atlantic City Convention Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey. With more than 500 exhibiting companies in 650 booths and pre-registration numbers comparable with last year’s final tally, show organizers are anticipating a big turnout and a successful show for both attendees and exhibitors.
“Our goal is 3,200 distributors; last year we had a total of 3,102 distributors attend the show,” says Jonathan Riegel, MAS, executive director of Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York (SAAGNY), which owns and produces the three-day event. Riegel says pre-registration numbers are on track to reach this year’s goal.
On Monday, PROMOTIONS EAST University drew more than 650 people who attended their choice of 18 education sessions on topics from sales to marketing to creativity. The highlight of the day was an afternoon keynote panel, “Rock Stars of the Promotional Products Industry,” which brought six of the industry’s leaders together to discuss key industry issues including the economy, competition, social media and technology. A packed room listened as facilitator Joel Schaffer, MAS, Soundline, led the discussion with panelists Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI; Tim Andrews, ASI; Jonathan Isaacson, Gemline; Jo-an Lantz, MAS, Geiger; Anne McKeough, Staples Promotional Products; and Ira Neaman, Vantage Apparel.
The day concluded with a SAGE-sponsored welcome party held at Caesars’ DUSK Nightclub.
In addition to top-notch education, show organizers have added an incentive this year that’s sure to get the attention of every distributor on-site. At 2:15 pm on the last day of the show, Wednesday, one lucky distributor’s name will be drawn to win a two-year lease on a Cadillac SRX Crossover. The drawing will be held in booth #1721. “Every distributor who attends the show gets one entry,” explains Riegel, “and distributor members of the regional associations get a second entry—and you have to be present to win.”
On Wednesday morning an early 5K run/walk will get attendees’ blood pumping. The Howard Alan Blum 5K for 5K Run/Walk will raise funds to benefit the SAAGNY Foundation, which sponsors a camping experience for children with cancer. The run/walk begins on the boardwalk at Bally’s at 6:30 am. The $25 entry fee can be paid in advance at show registration and on-site, says Rhonda Blum, Motivators, Inc., and a SAAGNY board member who organized the run in memory of her brother who passed away from cancer as a teen.
Another new element this year is a program aimed at educating high school marketing students about promotional products and careers in the promotional products industry. Thirty high school marketing students and two teachers from Seneca High School in southern New Jersey will visit the show on Tuesday as part of their marketing final exam. They will be treated to a 30-minute industry overview by PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, tour the show floor in small groups and then attend the fashion show and luncheon at noon. The initiative is a way SAAGNY hopes to make students aware of the industry as a potential career opportunity.
“One of the things we’ve focused on this year is our own industry advocacy,” says Alan Baker, MAS, SAAGNY president. Riegel adds, “We also want this next generation of marketing professionals to know that promotional products are a powerful part of the advertising mix. This is a great opportunity—something we can expand on next year and beyond.”
SAAGNY partners with five other regional associations to produce PROMOTIONS EAST, the largest industry show in the Northeast: Mid-Atlantic Promotional Products Association (MAPPA), Three Rivers Advertising Specialty Association (TRASA), New England Promotional Products Association (NEPPA), Chesapeake Promotional Products Association (CPPA) and Philadelphia Area Promotional Products Association (PAPPA).
“We couldn’t do the show without the five regionals who help us throughout the year and provide a lot of volunteers for our education sessions, the fashion show, greeters,” adds Riegel. “It’s critical to the success of the show.”
“I want to thank anyone who has volunteered their time to the show this year,” adds Baker. “I thank our board members and those who are attending the show and supporting us.”
Look for a complete report about PROMOTIONS EAST in next week’s PPB Newslink.