As PPAI’s 2022 Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.) efforts kicked off on Wednesday, a key component of industry volunteers’ messaging in virtual meetings with Senators, U.S. House of Representatives members and their staffs was to instill something that the entire promo marketplace already knows: Promotional products work.

Underpinning all legislative requests and comments in this week’s meeting was a reminder about the size of the industry—estimated at roughly $22 billion annually and employing nearly 500,000 Americans—as well as the powerful, cost-effective tools that physical products are in marketing.
In The Meetings

A Wednesday morning session with staffers from the office of Sen. Tommy Tuberville of Alabama began with the familiar process of explaining what constitutes a promotional product. When the example of myriad political campaign merchandise was given—from buttons, to yard signs, to hats—the staffers quickly understood and realized the ubiquity and value of industry products.

  • Industry volunteers cited the power of branded items not just in advertising and employee engagement, but also in positive social and charitable campaigns, sharing examples of promo that supported children undergoing chemotherapy or encouraged safe sleep for infants.

  • “To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I can say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I don’t think many [legislators] realize the vastness that is our industry, so it’s great to be a voice to partake in educating others on this wonderful group of hardworking Americans,” says Misty Friedrichs, CAS, a national sales manager at 3M Promotional Markets and first time L.E.A.D. volunteer advocate.

Talking Points

Among the points expressed in meetings with congressional members and their staffers was the fact that more than 98% of industry companies are small businesses. Other messages shared in meetings across the Hill, including statistics cited from PPAI studies, were:

  • Promotional products are a communication medium like newspapers ads, TV commercials and word-of-mouth advertising. Viral, mobile, highly targeted and inexpensive promotional products are the only advertising medium capable of engaging all five senses.

  • The promotional products industry is a competitive marketplace with thousands of suppliers and distributors competing for the business of purchasers of promotional products.
  • Promotional products also have a unique appeal to human behavior and memory. Adding a message to a tangible product turns an ordinary message into a marketing experience the audience can see, touch, hear, smell and even taste.


Volunteers requested Washington to keep the unique needs and interests of the promotional products industry in mind when considering legislation that impacts the success of our industry, for example trade policy that unintentionally raises costs for small businesses and consumers.

  • Volunteers also requested support for Pat Toomey’s amendment to H.R. 4521, the COMPETES Act of 2022, which creates an exclusion process for the section 301 tariffs.
  • Also requested was support of the Ocean Shipping Reform Act (H.R. 4996), and update bill that would help ensure timely access to products.

Lend Your Voice

PPAI has made it easy to support industry colleagues by calling or emailing members of Congress in support of the same issues addressed during L.E.A.D.’s virtual meetings. To participate:

  • Click here to send editable, pre-written emails or call members of Congress.
  • Forward PPAI emails to colleagues and team members and encourage them to participate as well.