Promotional Giveaways Better than Traditional Media Ads

January 20, 2009

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Brand Metrics | Promotions, Coupons & Co-op

Advertising specialties – also known as promotional products – that are imprinted with corporate logos or messages, are more cost effective per ad impression than magazine, TV and radio ads, according to a research study conducted by the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI).

The study revealed that the average cost of an advertising specialty item is $0.004, making it less expensive per impression than nearly any other media. These findings are based on comparative data from Nielsen Media that shows the CPI for a national magazine ad is $0.033; a newspaper ad is $0.0129; a prime time TV ad is $0.019; a cable TV ad is $0.007; a syndicated TV ad is $0.006; and a spot radio ad is $0.005.

Moreover, an overwhelming majority (84%) of respondents say they remember the advertiser on a product they receive, and 42% have a more favorable impression of an advertiser after receiving an advertising specialty, ASI said.

Additional survey findings:

  • Nearly one quarter, or 24%, indicate that they are more likely to do business with an advertiser on items they receive.
  • Most respondents (62%) have done business with the advertiser on a product after receiving it.
  • Writing instruments are the most commonly-owned advertising specialty, with 54% of respondents owning them, followed by shirts, caps and bags.


  • The majority (81%) of promotional products were kept because they were considered useful.


  • More than three-quarters of respondents have had their items for about seven months.
  • Among wearables, bags were reported to be used most frequently, with respondents indicating that they use their bags on average nine times per month.
  • ?Among promotional items, bags deliver the most impressions, with 1,038 impressions per month on average.


According to ASI, these statistics conclude that marketers get a more favorable return on investment from advertising specialties than almost any other popular media, with a very low cost-per-impression, high recall among those who receive ad specialty items, and increased intent among recipients to make purchases from the advertiser.

“During a time when we’re facing turbulent economic conditions, this research advises marketers and business owners to invest in advertising specialties now more than ever,”? said Timothy M. Andrews, president and CEO of the Advertising Specialty Institute. “Advertising specialties provide measurable results for a very reasonable investment.”

Advertising specialties, are most often used as an incentive, a gift or as part of an advertising campaign. The industry comprises a 13% share of the advertising marketplace, with $19.6 billion in sales for 2007.

About the study: The Advertising Specialties Impressions Study (pdf) was completed by a team of interviewers who surveyed travelers in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Respondents were asked if they had received any advertising specialties in the last 12 months. The majority of respondents were businesspeople over age 21.

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