The Weather is Great... But the Storm is Upon Us!
California is an amazing place. I live just north of Los Angeles, within striking distance of the ocean, the mountains and the desert. Recently, while most of the country was freezing, we had spring-like weather in the 70s. My biker friends around the country were envious of me out riding my motorcycle.
But it's not all great in California.
Once you get past the awesome weather and landscape, we see a very stormy economic picture. Many states are facing similar financial issues that will have to be dealt with. Our new governor has decided he has one answer—ban the use of promotional products.
If you haven't heard, California Governor Jerry Brown has issued a memorandum directing all California state agencies and departments to immediately stop purchasing "free giveaway and gift items—such as key chains, coffee mugs and squeeze toys" as part of his "continuing efforts to cut costs and tackle the state's budget gap."
The problems of our economy go far beyond the money that is spent on promotional products. And what is not being said is how effective these products are in promoting the messages that are important to get out. Increasing the profile of key state programs with the help of promotional marketing in turn increases the programs' revenue and brings in the funds the state needs. And what about the taxes our industry pays and the jobs we create? The ban is short-sighted and unfair to our industry.
Rick Greene, the past president of SAAC (Specialty Advertising Association of California) commented in a FreePromoTips article, entitled Come Together... Right Now, that what's worse than Brown's blatant buffoonery, worse than the insulting phraseology ("pieces of plastic," "tchotchkes," "freebies," "swag"), worse than the actual ban itself (working with any state government is a challenge at best and an exercise in low-bid frustration at worse) is the news coverage of this "story" by station KCRA in Sacramento. Click here for the KCRA TV in Sacramento report that stimulated this ban. This report is very demeaning to our industry.