Counselor® PromoGram®
Volume 767 / November 23, 2010
Click here to read this and past issues online.

Testing Leads To Promotional Glasses Recall
Independent testing commissioned by the Associated Press (AP) has shown elevated levels of lead and cadmium in certain movie and comic book-themed drinking glasses, prompting a federal investigation. The glasses, sold at a Warner Brothers Studio store in Burbank, CA, and imported from China by non-ASI listed vendor Vandor LLC, contained up to 1,000 times the federal limit for lead in children's products. Since the test results were announced, Warner Brothers has pulled the glasses from its shelves and Vandor has agreed to help remove the roughly 72,000 glasses that were already sold from general circulation. The companies made the decision to recall the glasses citing "an abundance of caution."

According to the AP, decorative enamel found on the glasses - which feature images of Superman and Wonder Woman, as well as "Wizard of Oz" characters Dorothy and the Tin Man - contained up to 30% lead. Lesser amounts of the even more toxic metal cadmium were also detected in testing. Experts say adults would not be injured by simply handling the glasses, however children could get sick by rubbing the glasses and then touching their mouths. Warner Brothers and Vandor have maintained the glasses should not be considered children's products, contending the items are intended to be adult collectibles. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has disagreed, however, subjecting the glasses to scrutiny against federal lead and cadmium limits for children's products.

In addition to the superhero-themed glasses, separate testing released by the AP has led the Coca-Cola Co. to voluntarily recall 88,000 glasses that shed cadmium during regular handling. The glasses come in sets of four and are designed to look like cans of Coke, Diet Coke, Coke Zero and Sprite. In a statement, Coca-Cola said the recall was announced "for quality reasons" and not because of a "safety or health threat." The manufacturer of the glasses, Arc International, is the same non-ASI listed company that produced 12 million "Shrek"-themed glasses that were recalled by McDonald's in June because of the presence of cadmium.

Experts say lead and cadmium can be especially dangerous to children and potentially damaging to brains. In addition, cadmium can harm kidneys or even cause cancer, if it accumulates in large amounts over time.


What's the Big Idea?
The 2011 Spring Idea Showcase catalog, with a handy budget index, money-saving coupons and American-made products.
Find out more.

Spend It to Make It
What are suppliers predicting for 2011? And how are they spending their earnings now?
Find out more.

Find, review, and purchase the latest exclusive ASI products...
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ASI welcomes the following Suppliers to the LogoMall Network
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Video Report: News Of The Week
In this episode of Counselor's Industry Update video, we reveal information about a new promotional product recall and we discuss the third quarter financial results for one of the largest distributors in the industry. Plus, will small businesses be getting a paperwork and tax reprieve from Congress? Watch the video to find out.

Click here to see the trends and to watch Counselor PromoGram's Industry Update.

If you have any news you'd like to see covered on Industry Update or in Counselor PromoGram, please send it to

Proforma Reports Q3 Sales Rise
Counselor Top 40 distributor Proforma (asi/300094) has announced third quarter revenues of $84 million, a 15% improvement over last year and a 10% improvement compared to 2008. The Ohio-based company says it also set a quarterly record for orders with more than 110,000. "Our continued success demonstrates the world class support that Proforma offers every one of our distributor members," said Greg Muzzillo, founder of Proforma.

Muzzillo attributes the increased sales, in part, to new marketing and business development programs launched at Proforma in 2010. They include a sales automation program which was introduced in July and has already generated a 60% success rate, according to the company. "When distributors come to us, they immediately have access to our exclusive, comprehensive support to help them achieve the dreams they have for their businesses," Muzzillo said.

Ranked by Counselor as the second largest distributor in the ad specialty industry, Proforma reported 2009 North American ad specialty sales of $234 million. This year, the company has had seven franchises named to the Inc. 5000 list of America's fastest growing companies.

The Joe Show: Corporate Gifts
In this episode of The Joe Show, Counselor Managing Editor Joe Haley shows off some cool items perfect for corporate gift campaigns. Need something to give to that high-level executive you're trying to woo? Have clients looking for innovative corporate gift items for their next promotion? Check out this episode of The Joe Show.  

Click here to see this corporate gifts edition of The Joe Show.

Want more videos? Subscribe now to our YouTube videos.

Senate Moves To Repeal New 1099 Rules
Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) introduced legislation last week intended to repeal a section of the new health care law that would force businesses to severely increase their 1099 tax reporting procedures. One part of the health reform law that was passed earlier this year dictates that beginning in 2012 businesses would have to report (through 1099 forms) to the Internal Revenue Service any payment of more than $600.

Small business groups have protested the measure since it was passed, saying that the paperwork expectations would be too onerous to comply with. Baucus' bill, called the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act, would halt the new requirement. Other bills that have been introduced regarding this measure have either aimed to increase the minimum amount of payment that would trigger the need for submitting a 1099 form to the IRS or repeal it entirely.

"I have heard small businesses loud and clear and I am responding to their concerns," said Baucus, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, in a statement. "Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and they need to focus their efforts on creating good-paying jobs, not filing paperwork."

The Senate is expected to begin debate on the measure next week, and to schedule a vote on it before the end of the year.

ASI Radio Offers 2011 Marketing Ideas
This morning's Tuesday Morning Show on ASI Radio offered the best marketing strategies for listeners to implement next year. Plus, the hosts shared their "Favorite Things," talked about trends in corporate gift giving, and revealed the hottest gifts for the holidays.  

If you missed the show, a recording is now available at And, don't forget to join us for our next broadcast on Tuesday, November 30, when former First Lady Laura Bush will call into the show live. Log on at 10:30 a.m. ET to listen to the show and hear our interview with this special guest.

Stitches Partners With Rhode Island School Of Design
Counselor sister publication Stitches has announced a partnership with the textile department of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) to launch an embroidery program at the art and design college. The embroidery program will become part of the RISD textile department, which offers a broad-based education in understanding and working with fabrics, fibers and patterns, as well as designing work intended for industrial production and/or the creation of fine-arts pieces. 

"For several years, we've wanted to enhance our students' understanding of the creative and technical possibilities that embroidery has to offer," said Anais Missakian, department head/professor of textiles at RISD. "Until now, students have experimented with sewing machines and hand techniques to create embroidered and embellished effects. With the support of ASI, Stitches and Hirsch International, we were able to purchase new equipment and software. The RISD textile department students and faculty are enthusiastic about experimenting and exploring embroidery techniques to their full potential as another form of expression."

Hirsch International of Tyrone, GA, supplied RISD with a Tajima electronic industrial embroidery machine and digitizing software at a substantial discount. The new equipment complements RISD's advanced equipment in the weaving, knitting and print areas and increases students' creative potential by introducing a new area into the curriculum. Madeira USA of Laconia, NH, is providing a six-month supply of embroidery thread and a discount on backing, bobbins and other supplies. This fall, RISD trained its staff, technicians and select graduate students on the new equipment in anticipation of embroidery design courses being offered for the first time this summer. A full, six-week course curriculum will be offered in Winter 2011.

The partnership between Stitches and RISD is multifaceted and ongoing. Each month, Stitches magazine and website will include a column featuring work from RISD students, along with blog posts on their classroom experiences. The magazine is also developing internship and career advancement programs for RISD students in partnership with ASI suppliers and decorators in the Philadelphia, New York and Providence, RI, areas.

Distributor Wins Halloween Contest
Counselor recently held its first-ever online competition to honor the best company Halloween Party in the industry. We asked companies to submit their stories, photos and videos to our Best Places to Work Facebook page ( describing why their office Halloween party was the wackiest, most entertaining and most creative this year.

After sifting through a wealth of entries – and one of the greatest collections of costume pics you'll ever see – we've chosen a winner: distributor firm CustomInk (asi/173408) takes home our top prize (and $100 gift card) as the host of the wackiest and most fun Halloween Party. In addition to a costume party throughout the day on Halloween, the McLean, VA-based company held a pumpkin carving and painting contest.

And the distributor firm's employees really rose to the creativity occasion – one department came dressed as the cast of Glee and another department got their GTL on and came as the members of Jersey Shore. The company's top costume prize, though, went to the two staffers who came to work that day as the Salahi couple – yes, those famous White House party crashers. "The costumes get more creative each year," says Allyson Ayers, communications coordinator for CustomInk. "I'm pretty sure some people start planning their costume for next year on November 1st."

Click here to see all the pics from CustomInk's Halloween party.

And, to check out all the creative videos and costume images from the various companies that entered the Halloween contest, go to

New ASI Education Online Course Available
Start working toward achieving your BASI (Bachelor of Advertising Specialty Information) or MASI (Master of Advertising Specialty Information) by taking self-paced, on-demand courses at ASI Education's Online Learning Center. In our newest course, "Eco-Friendly Apparel Facts and Strategies," you'll learn about a variety of eco-truths, key strategies for working with suppliers and customers, and how to sell different eco-categories.

Click here to take the course.

In The News
Bullet (asi/42424) has added the plastic Sizzle Tumbler and the collapsible Fiore Vase to its line of low-priced products.

WorkflowOne (asi/333647) announced that it has expanded the facilities at its Columbus, OH, plant by over 100,000 square feet and has been operating it since September 2010.

People On The Move
Gemline (asi/56070) has promoted Steve Hettrich to vice president of sales for the Eastern region and DeShaun Diggs to director of sales for the Western region.

Hub Pen Company (asi/61966) has hired Scott Schaefer of SS Enterprises Inc. to represent the company in upstate New York and Western Pennsylvania.


From the industry's top suppliers and best-in-class education to an unprecedented list of keynotes and special events, you'll find it all at The ASI Show.  
Plus, ASI distributor/decorator members enjoy FREE admission, FREE education, FREE networking and even a FREE hotel room.
Look for these hot events at the 2011 ASI Shows:

  • ASI Chicago (July 19-21): The largest show of the summer and biggest event in the Midwest will feature an exciting Keynote by local celebrity and football coach Mike Ditka (sponsored by BamBams, asi/38228), a sneak peek at new fourth-quarter items during the acclaimed Supplier Secrets Keynote and a new Gala at Chicago hot-spot the Enclave Nightclub.

Register today for the 2011 ASI Shows at or call 877-ASI-SHOW with questions.

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The following are the dates and locations for The ASI Show in 2011:
Orlando, January 23-25, 2011
Dallas, February 16-18, 2011
New York, March 22-24, 2011
San Diego, May 18-20, 2011
Chicago, July 19-21, 2011

Plus, don't miss the ASI Advantages Roadshow, the industry's #1 traveling show. Visit for the complete schedule and go to for information on all ASI Shows.

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