In Memoriam: PPAI Hall Of Famer Joseph Segel

Joseph Segel, founder of ASI as well as the Franklin Mint and the QVC television shopping network, passed away on December 21 in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania. He was 88. Segel was also one of the inaugural inductees into the PPAI Hall Of Fame in 1977.

Always an entrepreneur, Segel sold business cards at 13 and enrolled in the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania when he was 16. He was a 20-year-old teaching Marketing 101 at Wharton when he started ASI. Working his way through college, he encountered the same issues challenging other industry newcomers—what products are available? Since manufacturers were disguised by line names, how does one find out who makes these products? By subscribing to ASI services, such as the Advertising Specialty Register and the Consolidated Catalog, distributors could identify products and sources. Segel is also credited with the launch of The Counselor trade magazine—now Counselor—among his accomplishments with the company.

ASI was one of 22 companies Segel founded in a 50-year career, with business interests ranging from publishing, aviation and software, to hospitality, behavior modification and photography, among others.

Segel sold ASI to the Cohn family, its current owners, in 1962, and remained with the company as an executive for several years. In 1964 he founded Franklin Mint, originally manufacturing sterling silver commemorative coins to mark the passing of General Douglas MacArthur.

It was in 1986, well past his retirement from Franklin Mint, that he founded QVC—it stands for Quality, Value, Convenience—in West Chester, Pennsylvania. With QVC, Segel created a network that, to this day, reflects his original model. On its website, QVC describes its mission as, “We connect with customers via authentic stories, interesting personalities and award-winning customer service. We invite customers to tell their stories and share their feedback. And we do it live, across multiple networks and platforms.” Today, QVC, now owned by Qurate, reaches 380 million households across 15 television networks.

Segel was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Electronic Retailing Association in 2002, listed by the Harvard Business School as one of the “Great Business Leaders of the Twentieth Century” in 2005 and named one of Wharton School’s most influential alumni in 2007. Segel was also among seven inaugural inductees chosen by the PPAI board in 1977 to be the first members of the Association’s Hall of Fame.

In 2012, the PPAI Board of Directors voted to create a Hall of Fame Recognition Program utilizing the Promotional Products Education Foundation's Named Scholarships to honor HOF members for their lifetime contributions to the Association and industry. The PPAI Board will match industry donations up to $2,500 to fulfill the $5,000 commitment needed to create a Named Scholarship through the PPEF. To make a gift to establish a scholarship in Joseph Segel’s name, send a check payable to PPEF mentioning Segel Memorial in the memo line and mail it to PPEF, 3125 Skyway Circle North, Irving, TX 75038. Gifts can also be made online at www.ppef.us. Click on Donate and enter Joseph Segel Memorial in the Comments Section.

Segel’s wife Doris passed away in 2018. He is survived by his sons Marvin and Alan, stepdaughter Sandy Stern, six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

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Comments (1)
Marvin D Baida
January 1, 2020
A great leader for our industry. My Dad was a close friend of his. Great memories of the old days of ASI! Marvin
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