During the past year, I’ve spoken with members nationwide, often giving a State of the Industry presentation with PPAI’s President and CEO Paul Bellantone. Paul always defers to me to present my favorite slide, which outlines how much customers hate advertising. The slide notes that consumers react to most ads in the following ways:

  • 68% avoid online video ads
  • 66% don’t watch TV commercials
  • 57% ignore digital ads
  • 38% block mobile ads
  • 50% discard direct mail
  • 48% skip print ads
  • 46% delete e-mail marketing
  • 46% don’t listen to radio commercials

We don’t need statistics to tell us this is true—we all know it intuitively from our own behavior. We buy the commercial-free Hulu, subscribe to Netflix or use our DVR to avoid commercials whenever possible. We install ad blockers on our computers, toss direct mail into the trash unopened, subscribe to Spotify and Pandora to avoid radio ads and delete e-mails unopened whenever possible.

Yet, when it comes to promotional products, consumers will stand in line to receive our “advertisements.” Consumers proudly display our advertisements on their desks, walls, cell phones and many other places, including on their own bodies. People do not seek to avoid promotional products—they seek to receive them. 

And it only gets better. Promotional products appeal to all generations—even Millennials and digital natives. When done right, people prefer a promotional product over identical, unimprinted items. I know this firsthand because my 16-year-old son, Evan, recently swiped my favorite jacket, which has a large imprint of Geiger 1878 on the front. When I could not find my jacket, I learned that he had been wearing it to school. I told him I would buy him a blank version of the same jacket, so he didn’t have the logo on it. He told me no, he liked the way the logo looks.

Choosing the right products for the right use with the logo displayed in a way that’s attractive to the recipient is a critical part of being a trained promotional products professional. When it is done right, our medium is unstoppable for all generations. Great brands deserve great promotions and we are in the business of delivering these great promotions. 

My favorite statement on the value of promotional products compared to other advertising media comes from a former fellow PPAI board member, Larry Cohen, CAS, of Axis Promotions. Larry and I were on the workgroup discussing PPAI’s Get In Touch campaign when he stated, “You can’t fast-forward a t-shirt.” Well said, Larry! 

If you aren’t using the PPAI Get In Touch materials to promote your business, you are missing a significant member benefit. PPAI has created professional ads that you can customize and use with your own information as well as powerful statistics (including those noted above) that you can use in multiple ways. As you plan your own promotions for this year, take advantage of the tools available for you at www.ppai.org/advocacy/get-in-touch-campaign.

It has been a great experience to represent this powerful industry as PPAI’s chair over the past year. As my term comes to a close after The PPAI Expo 2019, I’ll turn my attention back towards my primary business responsibilities at Geiger, but I want to leave you with one more thought. In addition to educating your clients about how powerful and effective our medium is, I also want to emphasize the importance of embracing online sales to complement offline sales. The world is changing, and our buyers’ habits are changing as well. Don’t be left behind.