Another Ignorant Hit to our Industry!
Once more our industry has suffered a hit, in part because of the lack of understanding about its true value. In a move with 50 times more impact than the promotional products purchasing ban in California by Governor Jerry Brown, President Barack Obama again puts promotional products under attack.
President Obama has recently issued an executive order cutting spending by 20% on "extraneous promotional items." The order states that "agencies should limit the promotional items ... in particular where they are not cost-effective."
Prior to the order being issued, Washington news source The Hill reported: "President Obama is set to unveil an executive order on Wednesday aimed at cutting wasteful spending on excess travel, printing, cell phones and government 'swag.' The 'swag' under fire includes plaques, clothing, mugs and other agency-identified items distributed to employees."
"Swag" was used prominently in the recent Government Census. Shirts, pens, padfolios, bags and other branded items were used as incentives. In the previous Census, our company produced T-shirts. The sales process went something like this: "How many T-shirts can we buy with $5,000.00? We have a government credit card."
We can all probably agree that government spending needs to be cut. But sadly, once again, the value of our industry is being devalued. What we sell is referred to as "swag." No other marketing or advertising medium is subject to such a derogatory term. Yet we continue to hear it and in some cases, use it ourselves.
It's interesting to note that politicians have used promotional products in successful election campaigns and will continue to use them. For instance, for the 2012 election, President Obama has a web store featuring many promotional products, from a $15.00 "Barack's Best Friend" dog leash to $40.00 Grill Spatulas. The Mitt Romney web store has $15.00 "Believe In America" water bottles and $50.00 hoodie sweatshirts. This shows that they see the value of how promotional products delivers their brand message.