Obama Signs “Anti-Trinkets and Trash” Bill

On November 9, President Obama signed what might be called the “Anti-Trinkets and Trash Bill” as part of a bill to cut government wasteful spending. Wow. Regardless of your political leanings, this one hits home at our industry. No one can argue that the governments wastes billions of dollars but when you single out promotional products including items like printed T-Shirts – that is like a stab to the heart.

Here is an excerpt from the WhiteHouse.gov website:
WASHINGTON, DC – This morning, President Obama will sign an Executive Order that will cut waste and promote more efficient spending across the federal government.  With this Order, the President is directing agencies to reduce spending on travel; limit the number of information technology devices (e.g. cell phones, smartphones, tablets, laptops) that can be issued to individual employees; stop unnecessarily printing documents that can be posted online; shrink the executive fleet of the federal government; and stop using taxpayer dollars to buy swag — the plaques, clothing, and other unnecessary promotional items that agencies purchase. Overall spending in the areas covered by the Executive Order will be reduced by 20 percent, saving billions.

Of course there was a huge outcry from the Advertising Specialty Institute.

Read their Industry Response here on Tim Andrews Blog.

Also, there is a great response titled Obama Attacks Fed Promo Product Spend with action items at Tim’s Blog here.

Here is an excerpt:
We’re calling on everyone to reach out to their senators and congressmen – they need to hear from each of us, collectively and individually. I am sending a letter directly to President Obama. Below are talking points you might consider in a letter to the editor of your local paper and to your senator or your representative.

  • The promo products industry helps create jobs. The industry employs nearly 500,000 people throughout North America and includes thousands of small and women- and minority-owned businesses.
  • Promotional products, which cost just half a penny per impression, beat out prime-time TV, radio and print advertising as the most cost-effective advertising medium available, meaning even smaller companies can pack the advertising punch of multimillion-dollar companies. ASI studies show 83% of ad specialty recipients in the U.S. say they can identify the advertiser on a promotional item they own.
  • As more companies shift to lower-cost advertising like promo products, it’s helping the industry bounce back. A recent ASI Q3 industry survey found sales rose for the 7th straight quarter.
  • Promo products save taxpayers money. The U.S. government used promotional items as reminders to mail back the U.S. census – instead of sending government representatives door-to-door – a move that may have saved taxpayers up to $85 million. The ensuing response rate surpassed that of the 2000 census.
  • Obama himself knows promo products work – he relied heavily on them to get elected in 2008, and his reelection website today offers everything from logoed T-shirts to leather bracelets, bumper stickers, buttons and beyond.

We will follow this story as it unfolds.

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