Illinois Campaign for Political Reform: Promotional Products a "Complete Waste of Money"
Promotional products are a waste of money—so says Chicago-based ABC affiliate WLS-TV, anyway. The news outlet last week investigated U.S. government promotional product spending, pointing out that the Obama administration has spent nearly $2 million on items from one Chicago-area distributor alone, despite promises to scale back "wasteful spending."
"It's a complete waste of money," the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform's Susan Garrett told WLS-TV. "It has absolutely no value, it's a take-home item, it's something you might give your kids or your neighbors or put in a grab bag but these are hard-earned dollars that are being spent on these frivolous items, not fair to taxpayers."
The numbers, of course, suggest otherwise. PPAI president and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, quickly issued a response to the report, pointing to a host of findings that show how effective promotional products are as a marketing tool. He also highlighted the industry's significant impact on the U.S. economy.
"The promotional products industry plays an important role in the U.S. economy—collectively more than 33,000 U.S. promotional products businesses provide nearly 500,000 small business-based (93 percent) jobs and $19-plus billion annually," wrote Bellantone in a letter to WLS-TV. "Although promotional products play an important role in making the public and other audiences aware of important initiatives and are essential elements in successful marketing programs, all too often the industry comes under scrutiny when budgets are tight and cuts must be made."
WLS-TV updated its original report with a link to Bellantone's response, but has not issued a formal follow-up to the story.