Counselor® PromoGram®
Volume 664 / November 24, 2009
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Leed's Web Site Hit By Hackers

Counselor Top 40 supplier Leed's (asi/66887) is redirecting customers trying to access its primary Web site after an attack by hackers overloaded the company's servers. Distributors attempting to visit, which is currently disabled, are being asked to contact the company's service department. Calling the move "a precaution," Leed's is offering an alternative URL, available at "These types of Web site attacks are difficult to defend against," said Tom Vogl, Leed's vice president of information services. "We are doing everything we can to keep our site operational and available for customer use."

Leed's officials have not said when the denial of service attack began, but the company first reported problems with its Web site Monday morning. According to a company statement, "Internet hackers have taken control of computers around the world and are using them to request Leed's Web site at the rate of thousands of times per second." Leed's other Web sites, including and are operating, although a statement from Leed's suggests there may be processing delays. Leed's Canada-centered Web site,, which includes French versions of catalogs, has not been impacted.

The attack on Leed's system is not the first high-profile, hacker-related incident in the industry this year. In August, GatewayCDI (asi/202515) suffered a security breach of the online store it ran for Mozilla Firefox, the world's second most popular Web browser provider. The promotional store, which offers T-shirts, mouse pads and mugs, was shut down for a significant period of time, but has since reopened.

Leed's officials have not said how long they believe the company's main Web site will be down.


Enhanced LogoMall Advertising Reports
The monthly reports track competition and important metrics, including the top five products viewed by end-buyers.
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The 2010 Spring Idea Showcase Is Here
The pocket-sized catalog is packed with terrific ideas and great promo items that fit any budget.
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Find, review, and purchase the latest exclusive ASI products...
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California Law Allows More Promotional Giveaways
Retailers in California can now offer a far greater number of promotional products to entice beer purchases, following a change to the state's business code. California's Alcohol Beverage Commission announced the amendment, which permits beer retailers to offer promotional items that have a $3.00 maximum value. Previously, California law allowed a maximum product value of just 25 cents.

"I think this is a big lift not only for our industry but for the beer companies," says Scott Mollahan, president of Orinda, CA-based Insight Resource Group (asi/231569). "I know that most retailers have been asking for discounts and instant rebate coupons instead of displays or promotions which only hurt the margins of the stores and liquor companies. This will now be an avenue to entice the consumer without slashing pricing."

The change, recently signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger, specifies only beer purchases. In the original bill, a $5.00 maximum value limit was proposed, similar to laws regarding distilled spirits like gin, rum and vodka. Several states, including Florida, Illinois and Massachusetts, have no dollar limits for promotional items offered to beer consumers. According to a legislative report, the beer industry supplies 200,000 jobs in California and provides $1.5 billion in state and local taxes.

Before the amendment, California law dramatically limited the value of marketing novelties and promotional items tied to beer purchases for more than 70 years.

Tuesday Morning Radio Show Live On The Air
Every Tuesday morning from 10:30am eastern time to 11:00am, a team of ASI editors debate the most important topics facing the industry. We also, of course, offer our own off-beat look at the market. This morning, we shared advice for how to market your business before the economic recovery gets into full swing and we looked at the best-performing cities for business in 2009. Plus, we even took questions from callers looking for budget-friendly holiday party advice.  

If you missed the show, don't worry. A recording is now available at And, don't forget to join us next Tuesday, December 1, for our next broadcast. Log on to at 10:30am eastern time and give us a call at 215-953-4979.

Also, make sure to join us for the first ever ASI Radiothon, which will take place Tuesday, December 15. Just in time for the holidays, the Tuesday Morning Show crew will be revving up their charitable side and raising money for The G.I. Go Fund (, an organization that helps veterans upon their return to the United States. Stay tuned for more details.

UPS Announces 2010 Shipping Rates
UPS, an ASI affiliate, has announced it will raise its air and ground freight rates by an average of 4.9% in 2010. The company also plans to adjust its fuel surcharge tables, pledging to avoid the dramatic spikes in air freight costs that have reached 35% this year. The 2010 rate changes will go into effect on January 4.

For 2009, UPS hiked rates 5.9%, the largest jump in eight years. Slowed by the recession, UPS's domestic business has dropped off considerably, while the company has faced higher costs for labor, health care and pensions. In October, UPS reported its third quarter profits fell 43% to $549 million as revenue decreased 15% to $11.2 billion. "I'm encouraged by the signs of economic recovery that are becoming apparent, although we still have a long way to go," said Scott Davis, UPS chairman and CEO. "We are managing operations well, while controlling costs and maintaining excellent service."

While UPS intends to increase rates, its chief rival, FedEx, is taking similar steps. As part of its annual hike, FedEx will increase its air shipping rates by 3.9% in 2010. FedEx has not announced its rates for ground shipments or SmartPost packages.

The Joe Show: New Products
Looking for the hot-off-the-presses items available in the market? In this episode of The Joe Show, Counselor Managing Editor Joe Haley shows off some new products for 2010 that suppliers have sent to him recently. Check out the video, and wow your clients with some unique new offerings.

Click here to see this new-products edition of The Joe Show.

Russell Settles Conflict With Anti-Sweatshop Groups
Russell Athletic, parent company of Russell Artwear (asi/84257), has agreed to rehire 1,200 workers in Honduras who lost their jobs when Russell closed their factory last January, shortly after the workers had unionized. The action caused the United Students Against Sweatshops organization to boycott Russell and the group called on all universities to do the same.

Over the past year, nearly 100 colleges and universities – including Harvard, Georgetown, Michigan, North Carolina and Stanford – heeded the call and either severed or suspended their licensing agreements with Russell. Now, some say they'll reconsider their relationship with the apparel maker after it agreed to reopen the factory in Honduras. "It's a very important breakthrough," said Mel Tenen, who oversees licensing agreements for the University of Miami, the first school to break off ties with Russell. "It's not often that a major licensee will take such a drastic step to correct the injustices that affected its workers. This paves the way for us to seriously consider reopening our agreement with Russell."

In its agreement with the Workers Rights Consortium, Russell said it would reinstate the fired workers and would open a new plant in Honduras as a unionized factory. The company also agreed to halt any efforts to fight unionization at its seven existing factories in Honduras.

Counselor Unveils 2009 Power 50 List
At a ceremony earlier this month during the ASI Power Summit, Counselor released its annual Power 50 ranking. Along with 14 newcomers to the list this year, the number-one spot is represented by the biggest news story of the year: BIC's acquisition of Norwood Promotional Products. Sharing the top spot on the 2009 Power 50 are Nicolas Paillot, the CEO of BIC APP (the newly formed BIC division that consists of BIC Graphic USA (asi/40480) and Norwood Promotional Products) and Paul Lage, president of Norwood. Combined, the organization will now represent the largest supplier firm in the ad specialty market.

The remainder of the top five on this year's Power 50 consists of: SanMar's (asi/84863) Marty Lott, Greg Muzzillo and Vera Muzzillo of Proforma (asi/300094), Marc Simon of Halo/Lee Wayne (asi/356000), and Gene Geiger and Jo-an Lantz of Geiger (asi/202900).

To check out the whole 2009 Power 50 list, go to

INew Course Available on ASI Education's OnlineLearning Center 
Be sure to register at for some exciting new courses available exclusively to ASI members. Brought to you by ASI Education, Online Learning is the newest and most convenient way for distributors to get educated. Here are some of the courses from our New Distributor Success Track available now:

Wearables Crash Course.
In this course, you'll learn about the top five best-selling wearable categories, along with decorating and selling tips. Then, we'll give you an overview of the most popular decorating options. Plus, you'll learn about some of the hot new buzzwords in wearables, such as performance fabrics and eco-friendly fabrics. And, we'll advise you on how to find the right decorator and digitizer. Finally, suppliers are eager to help you show your clients how their logo will look on apparel, so that's where samples can be key to getting that sale. By the end of this course, you'll be on your way to selling even more wearables, which make up 30% of the $20 billion in annual ad specialty sales.

Course Track: New Distributor Success
* Nailing Down the Basics
* Marketing Your New Business
* Steps to Selling Success
* Creative Case Studies
* Avoid These First-Year Pitfalls
* Managing Your Business

Coming Soon: 
* Building Profitable Client Relationships

ASICentral: What's Wrong With This Email?
Think you know proper business email etiquette? Prove it by editing this poorly written message! You could get your name in next week's newsletter.

Got questions, comments or any type of feedback regarding anything ASICentral, don't hesitate to contact us at Also, follow ASICentral at Twitter Facebook YouTube.

In The News
The Vernon Company (asi/351700) has announced that Elizabeth and Kent Mills, of Hospital Promotional Products Inc., have joined the company as account executives in its Eastern region. The Mills will maintain the corporate identity of Hospital Promotional Products while representing Vernon.

People On The Move
Coggins Promotional Advertising Inc. (asi/164063) has hired Tracey Haney, who will work out of the company's new Charlotte, NC, office.


The free registration deadline for ASI members for The ASI Show Orlando (January 3-5, 2010) the industry's first event of the year, is Monday, December 7. Featuring top suppliers (including BIC Graphic, Leeds, Norwood, Hit Promotional Products and SanMar – just to name a few), best-in-class education and around-the-clock networking — such as ASI's 2010 Fashion Show, Women's Networking Reception, Counselor Distributor Choice Awards and the Gala Celebration at Universal StudiosThe ASI Show Orlando is THE place to kick off the start of the new sales season.

Plus, due to popular demand, additional seating has just been added to the Keynote by General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) on January 5 at 8 a.m. Come see a true American hero and one of the most admired men on the world stage.

Register today at for The ASI Show Orlando. ASI distributor and decorator members enjoy free admission and can receive up to $100 toward a hotel room.

The ASI Show brings its innovation and fun to the Lone Star State February 1-3, 2010 with The ASI Dallas Show! Featuring record attendance in 2009, ASI Dallas delivers 600 leading suppliers, thousands of new items, more than 55 free education sessions and daily networking — including the acclaimed Ultimate Texas Bash featuring the best barbeque in Texas.

On Wednesday, February 3, all Show-goers are invited to attend an interactive Keynote by Dale Denham, entitled Build Your Brand & Your Business with Social Networking, from 8 a.m.-9:15 a.m. Whether you are a social media expert or someone who doesn't know a tweet from DIGG, you'll leave with straightforward, actionable opportunities to increase your sales.

Register today at for The ASI Dallas Show. ASI distributor and decorator members enjoy free admission and can receive up to $100 toward a hotel room.

The location of the ASI San Diego Gala Celebration has just been announced! The ASI Show will be taking over the ever popular Stingaree Nightclub — one of the nation's hottest dance spots. Set in an historic warehouse, Stingaree's state-of-the-art facility features three floors, including a Rooftop Oasis (the perfect surrounding for networking). ASI members can order discounted tickets to this night of fun that will include a dinner buffet, open bar and great dancing.

Timed in the first quarter, The ASI Show San Diego (February 24-26) is the perfect place to find new products, catalogs and pricing for the start of 2010. Featuring leading suppliers, such as BIC Graphic, Prime, Hit Promotional Products, Bodek and Rhodes and Sweda, cutting-edge education and non-stop networking, ASI San Diego will be a sales-building event like no other — including a FREE Keynote by motivational guru Tony Robbins on February 26 at 8 a.m.

Join the excitement and register for ASI San Diego at ASI distributor and decorator members enjoy free admission and can receive up to $100 toward a hotel room.

Follow The ASI Show on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook today!

The following are the dates and locations for The ASI Show in 2010:
Orlando: January 3-5
Dallas: February 1-3
San Diego: February 24-26
New York: May 4-6
Chicago: July 13-15
Holiday & Incentives Expo, Las Vegas: September 14-16