by Donna M. Airoldi | November 09, 2010

The Advertising Specialty Institute released an update to a 2008 study this week at its ASI Power Summit indicating that specialty advertising remains one of the most cost-effective mediums, beating out network prime-time TV, radio, and print advertising on a per-impression basis.

The 2010 Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study was conducted during July and August of 2010 and included 406 in-person interviews with businesspeople in eight major cities across the globe and 3,332 online surveys asking people questions about the promotional products they had received.

The updated survey includes new demographic information on politics, ethnicity, gender, and age; a report on global markets; and insights into an expanded array of products, such as automotive accessories and food.

A few key findings:

Cost per impression: In the United States, the cost per impression (CPI) of a promotional product remained virtually the same from 2008 to 2010, at $0.005, compared to CPIs of $0.018 for network prime-time TV, $0.029 for newspapers, $0.045 for national magazines, and $0.058 for spot radio.  Cable prime-time TV and syndicated daytime TV ads had an equal rate of $0.005.

Product ownership and usage: Writing instruments remain the highest ranking of all promotional products for both ownership and usage categories across all countries included in the survey—United States (46 and 18.2 percent, respectively), Canada (44 and 18.2 percent), Great Britain (63 and 18 percent), and Australia (74 and 17.6 percent). In the United States, shirts (38 percent) are second in terms of ownership, but they’re the second to least used, at 3.1 times per month compared to other products.

Product contacts and impressions: Bags have the highest number of contacts per month in the United States, at 187, and individually top out for impressions as well, at more than 1,078. As a group, garments (shirts, caps, jackets) garner the most impressions, at 1,084.

Gender preferences: Males are more likely than females to own shirts and caps, while females are more likely to have bags, writing instruments, calendars, and health and safety products.

Ethnic preferences: African Americans have more promotional products on average (11.3 percent) than any other group.

Identifying the advertiser: Eighty-three percent in the United States say they can identify the advertiser on a promotional item they own.

Influencing user opinions: Forty-one percent of U.S. respondents say their opinion of the advertiser is more favorable after receiving a promotional product.

“Our 2010 study once again proves the undeniable power of promotional products,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of Trevose, PA-based ASI. “It’s important to note that the pass-along rate has actually increased 11 percentage points from just two years ago—which speaks directly to the global recycling trend. Not only do ad specialties make impressions on everyone who sees them, but also messaging is reinforced every time the item is used. No other form of media can allow the advertiser to so closely tie a benefit to the recipient.”

While these statistics show marketers continue to get a more favorable return on investment from advertising specialties than most other media, 11 percent fewer recipients display recognition rewards in 2010 than they did in 2008, and the average number of months kept went down from 5.9 to 5.4 for U.S. participants.

The main reason a promotion item is retained is for its usefulness.

For a copy of the study, click here. For more information, contact Larry Basinait, executive director of research services for ASI, at (800) 546-1416 or lbasinait@asicentral.com.