The PPAI Expo 2010 Wrap Up


Media Contact: 972-258-3063

THE PPAI EXPO 2010: Breaking New Ground, Exploring New Concepts And Expanding Into New Markets

Irving, Texas, (February 5, 2010) Despite the economic woes of the past year, aisles were full and energy was high at The PPAI Expo 2010—the longest-running and largest tradeshow representing the $18.1 billion promotional products industry. Hosted by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), the show celebrated another successful year at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, attracting 10,500 distributor attendees and more than 1,400 exhibiting companies. Additionally, the ratio of distributors to exhibitors boasted a 3 to 1 ratio, the best since 2007. "2009 was a tough year, but many industry professionals came to The Expo revved and ready to set a new tone for 2010, " said Steve Slagle, CAE, president and CEO of PPAI. "I’ve sensed a very positive attitude by members who are geared toward making a full recovery from the loss of the previous year and using the multitude of opportunities that the PPAI Expo offers to take their business to new heights this year. "  

From pointed education sessions that motivate and inspire to brand., a showcase dedicated entirely to opportunities for promotional consultants in the recognition and incentive market, The PPAI Expo—widely recognized as the industry’s premier event to kickoff the selling year—is not just an exhibit show, but a must-attend event from start to finish that offers something valuable for everyone.

New Product Pavilion, Made In The USA And Green Products

More than 7,500 promotional consultants visited the New Product Pavilion (NPP), which exhibited more than 700 new products. Spread over 16,000 square feet, Expo’s NPP is still the largest new product display in the industry. Some of the products displayed this year were a folding red wagon, which could fit up to two children yet fold to fit into the trunk of a car from On The Edge Marketing, and the Electronic Rock Guitar Shirt that enables the wearer to play guitar while wearing the shirt from Thinkgeek.

Located alongside the NPP, PPAI introduced two additional product pavilions, the Made in the USA pavilion, which showcased American-made products and the Green Products pavilion, which highlighted eco-friendly, environmentally safe, organic, recyclable and reusable products. Some of the unique items showcased were the Billboard Duffel, a duffel bag made from recycled billboards from Landes Inc., 365 Ways To Live Green, a book with ideas and tips for greener living from The Book Company and USDA Organic Mint Burst Lip Balm, a mint balm certified by the USDA as organic from Raining Rose, Inc.

Some of the American-made products showcased were custom globes and maps with company imprints from Replogle Globes, Inc., the Driin Cell Phone Holder from Driin Products Inc., and Seed Paper, paper infused with real seeds to be planted after use from Okina Sales/Symphony Handmade Papers.

"PPAI is always thinking of innovative ways to make the Expo more efficient," said Amy Rogosch-Gill of Award & Sign Connection, Ltd. "Adding Green Products to the New Products Pavilion area was brilliant, and I loved how easy it was for me to use Expo PlanIt to find the pavilion’s vendors before and after the show."

PPAI’s brand. And DECORATE

PPAI’s brand., the new incentives product showcase launched at The PPAI Expo 2009, sold out months before the show with 134 total booths, far surpassing last year’s total. The showcase, the only of its kind in the promotional products industry, offered the more than 7,000 attendees who perused the area the chance to explore new sales opportunities in the recognition, engagement and incentive markets. The showcase focused on sales opportunities for promotional consultants in the

recognition, engagement and incentive market and hosted retail-branded product companies such as Bose, Cannon, Movado and Sony, just to name a few.

"PPAI’s brand. was a very positive show for us at Steuben Glass," said Jeffrey Brenner, director of corporate gifts and special commissions for Steuben Glass. "From securing booth space and setting up all the details to the attendance and response we received—we were more than pleased. The show allowed us to test the market to ensure that we had relevance in the incentive and recognition markets and if the response we have already received and the high level meetings confirmed is any indication, then we know we made the right choice to participate."

Introduced this year, PPAI DECORATE: A Promotional Equipment Show was a new component added to the Expo that showcased textile-decorating equipment including screen printing, embroidery and digital design. The show was created to offer sales options to distributors and suppliers who were interested in adding design to their company offerings. It also focused on educating decorator resellers about the promotional products industry. In addition, the show allowed Expo attendees who were already decorators an opportunity to source all their decorating and promotional products needs under one roof.

Professional Development

The PPAI professional development team offered more than 90 education sessions (145 hours), including seminars, paid and free workshops, book club meetings and keynote luncheons each designed to help attendees reach both professional and personal goals. This year, attendees enjoyed sessions covering such subject matter as business management, incentive marketing, sales and service, strategic business issues and industry essentials. Attendees also had the chance at two general sessions.

On Tuesday, education day, attendees gathered to hear Scott McKain, noted author of Collapse of Distinction, deliver an in-depth presentation on how business professionals and organizations alike can avert what he calls "the collapse of distinction." He revealed four cornerstones of distinction, found in his book, and gave attendees tips on how to stand out and move up in a challenging economy. He also examined the characteristics that make some companies visionary and others just more of the same. Using humor, multi-media and personal stories, McKain emphasized the importance of creating a distinction and individuality both professionally and personally.

"Scott McKain was one of the best speakers I've seen in quite some time," said John Andersen, sales manager for Admore Inc. "It set the tone for the show. I cannot wait to dive into the book."

The following day, attendees gathered for the much-anticipated general session entitled, "James Carville Looks at American Politics," presented by noted political strategist, James Carville. The session provided a platform for Carville to share his thoughts on current events and the new administration, as well as a no-holds-barred approach to crafting winning business strategies, particularly important in light of PPAI’s current efforts in advocacy and public affairs. Carville also participated in a Q&A session, in which PPAI immediate past-chair, Sherri Lennarson, MAS, facilitated questions from the audience regarding opportunities to influence legislation and to protect the industry from harsh regulatory laws. The session was also unique in that it incorporated social media, allowing both those who were in attendance and those who were unable to attend to join in live using popular social media outlet, Twitter. Using the hashtag, #ppaiexpo2010, individuals posted tweets about the session, as well as the show itself that were displayed on the screen during the session.

"It was a great session and I’m sorry for anyone who missed it," said Margie Price, MAS, president of Premiums Plus, Inc. "Carville was engaging and shared some stories that no matter your political affiliation were highly entertaining. Thanks to him I now have a much better picture of how things work in Washington."


Nine PPAI Pyramid Awards and 16 PPAI Pyramid Nominee Awards were presented to promotional consultants to recognize effective use of promotional products in business and institutional marketing programs. The competition features campaigns using promotional products that relate to the advertising client, its product and the overall theme of the marketing program.

Five PPAI Web Awardssm 10 PPAI Web Nominee Awards recognized winning websites based on technical efforts, load time, ease of navigation and the site’s usefulness as a business tool for the promotional products industry.

10 PPAI Supplier Star Awardssm and 20 PPAI Supplier Star Nominee Awards honored industry suppliers for overall service excellence in areas such as prompt response to distributor inquiries, adherence to shipping dates, quality of products and sales aids, adequacy and attractiveness of packaging, and the quality and accuracy of imprinting. The supplier in each sales volume

category receiving the most distributor votes is named the PPAI Supplier Star for that category. Awards of Merit are presented to the runner-ups.

20 PPAI Suppliers Achievement Awardssm & 40 PPAI Suppliers Achievement Nominee Awards recognized craftsmanship, creativity, graphic arts and manufacturing excellence.

Additionally, Wingfield "Wing" Hughes, MAS, and Kurt Reckziegel were inducted into the PPAI Hall of Fame, which honors exceptional contributions to and long-term involvement with PPAI and the industry. The Distinguished Service Award was awarded to Mike Burns, CAS, and Christopher Duffy, MAS, for their exceptional volunteer service and leadership.

Kids In Need Foundation

PPAI invited all show exhibitors to donate unwanted products from their booths when the show closed on Friday, January 15. Volunteers and staff from the Kids In Need Foundation, a charitable organization that provides free school supplies nationally to students in need, covered the show floor to collect leftover products and samples.

Last year’s event at The PPAI Expo 2009 was the first of its kind and resulted in donations from 33 companies valued at more than $18,000. The on-site harvest this year garnered products worth more than $68,000 from 67 companies, all of which will benefit students in Las Vegas’ Clark County School District.

The Kids In Need Foundation collects promotional products and incentives for distribution among low-income schools throughout the U.S. At its Teacher Resource Centers, educators can "shop" for items to use in the classroom. Products of every kind are usable, including pens, markers, t-shirts, desk and office products, electronics, toys and business accessories. PPAI has supported Kids In Need since 2007 through item donations, monetary gifts and promotional assistance.

"This was our first time to donate," said Dean Salit, national sales manager for Dard. "We gave lots and lots of stuff, from water bottles to calculators to flashlights. It’s all stuff that would be good for teachers and students. Also, some of our products just don’t travel well, so why not donate them?" he says. Lesley Walton, Kids In Need manager of gift-in-kind, said the product harvest was her first with the group and she was impressed with the response. "I felt like it went fantastic. The vendors were very responsive," says Walton. "I couldn’t believe how well it went."

Networking At The PPAI Expo 2010

ONE, the show’s annual closing night party, brought together two bands, Zoo Station and the Molly Ringwalds, for an unforgettable night at the House of Blues in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Zoo Station, a noted U2 tribute band from Dublin, Ireland, covered legendary U2 hits such as Elevation and Sunday Bloody Sunday, while the Molly Ringwalds, an ’80s cover band complete with big hair and bigger make-up, performed memorable tunes by AC/DC, Bon Jovi and Blondie.

"Both the Molly Ringwalds and Zoo Station were great entertainment," said Matthew Bross of Group Transportation Services. "Thanks to PPAI, a lot of suppliers and distributors had some much needed fun after a long week."

In addition to ONE, PPAI hosted two other networking events, Wine Tasting at China Grill and A Night At rumjungle, sponsored by Promo35. The wine tasting event, which took place just prior to ONE, offered participants the opportunity to taste wines from around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, France, Italy and Germany. The event at rumjungle took place on Wednesday evening and was a jam-packed, club-like event with more than 700 in attendance.

For more information about Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) or to learn more about the proven power of promotional products (including research and case studies), visit the PPAI website at  or contact PPAI at 972-258-3040 or



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