UMAPP President Responds to Minnesota Eyewitness News Report
Sue Kennedy, president of the Upper Midwest Association of Promotional Professionals (UMAPP) board of directors and regional sales manager for Crown Products, Mobile, Ala., contacted Promo Marketing to provide further details about yesterday's KSTP 5 Eyewitness News article. Regarding KSTP's reporting on Minnesota state agencies spending money on promotional products, Kennedy said, "I am sorely disappointed."
"UMAPP became aware of the story after seeing a rather salacious trailer on Friday early morning," she explained. "I contacted the station stating my concern over parts of the trailer, such as questioning if promotional products are 'worthless junk' and telling viewers the promotional products used were 'stuff you'd never buy.'"
"I respectfully asked that they pull the story until our industry's side could be included," she said. After being told that a distributor was interviewed for the story, she received no further information from the station.
The news report, which questioned whether the state should spend tax dollars on promotional products, did not provide any examples of promotions used by the state departments. "Were they BPA-free baby bottles provided to low income women? Were they high visibility shirts provided to Adopt-a-Highway volunteers to keep them safe? We don't know," Kennedy said. "Moreover, to have been fair, I would have expected to see comparative numbers showing the amount spent [by state departments] on other forms of advertising media like billboards, radio, TV and print advertising."
"Along with this, KTSP should have disclosed whether Hubbard Broadcasting also received state funds to purchase advertising from their radio and TV stations. Without that disclosure, they basically throw one aspect of marketing under the proverbial bus and could stand to reap the benefits if marketing dollars are shifted to a form of advertising they provide," she added.
As the Eyewitness News report noted, of the 12 state agencies interviewed, several said they would "cut spending entirely," while the remaining departments said that promotional advertising spending will be reviewed. According to Kennedy, up to 536 Minnesota-based businesses, and their employees, could be impacted by agency budget changes.
"Unfortunately because of the approach to this story as a scandalous waste of tax dollars, each state department has been judged without testimony or trial," Kennedy said. "Simply the comment that two departments will spend less next year and that the rest are all reviewing the use of promotional products shows that the damage to our industry has been done."
"Hopefully, the drama alone will not encourage other businesses to avoid the inclusion of promotional products in their overall marketing/awareness campaigns," she added.
Related story: Minnesota News Report Attacks Promotional Products Industry
Kyle A. Richardson is the editorial director of Promo Marketing. He joined the company in 2006 brings more than a decade of publishing, marketing and media experience to the magazine. If you see him, buy him a drink.