With the goal of providing corporate customers a statistical cost analysis of the value of promotional merchandise in their brand marketing intiatives, the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI), the largest media and marketing organization serving the ad specialties industry, sent a research team to 12 cities from July through September, 2012, to poll nearly 5,000 consumers about the branded products they had received. In New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Seattle, Dallas, Philadelphia, London, Paris, Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal respondents were asked questions about how many promotional products they had received, how they used them, why they kept them, and their impressions of the advertisers that gave them the items.
In this first of a three part series of articles that will summarize the high points of that study, I will focus on the most popular products by category. Since products are the carriers for the brand logo, it’s important to know which items are most likely to be used by the targeted audience.
In the United States, the following results were reported for the most popular products by category, and their appeal by gender and age.
- Writing Instruments – 50% (most popular with women and older adults, 55+)
- Shirts – 43% (most popular with men and younger adults, 21-34)
- Bags – 29% (most popular with women and older adults, 55+)
- Calendars – 21% (men & women are nearly equal on calendars, age 45+)
- Desk/Office Accessories – 17% (most popular with women and younger adults, 21-34)
- Caps/Headwear – 16% (most popular with men, age 45+)
- Drinkware – 14% (most popular with women and gen-x consumers, age 35+)
- USB/Flash Drives – 9% (most popular with men and younger adults, 21-34)
- Health & Safety – 8% (most popular with middle age women, age 45-54)
- Outerwear – 5% (most popular with younger men, age 21-44)
Knowing which products are popular in a particular demographic is important, but the study also concludes that these products are kept by the recipient for an average of 6 months, with awards being held the longest at 7.6 months and writing instruments the shortest at 5.1 months. Knowing that each promotional product will be around much longer than any other form of advertising makes a strong case for the importance of branded merchandise in any corporate marketing initiative.
The next 2 articles will summarize the study’s findings on the recipients’ view of advertisers and the cost effectiveness of ad specialties. Once all data has been presented, it should give corporate marketing teams a solid place to begin meaningful conversations with their promotional product providers about their 2013 campaigns and the logo products that will be selected to represent the brand.