Friday, November 25, 2005

MAS Certification

Master Advertising Specialist (MAS) and Certified Advertising Specialist (CAS) are the promotional products industry's professional designations. Sponsored by our association, Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), they are acquired through a combined result of years active in the industry, completed courses, industry contributions, and a passing score on a comprehensive exam. Individuals with MAS/CAS Certification are seen as industry leaders-those who have attained a higher standard of professionalism, knowledge and experience. There is also a continuing education requirement to maintain the certification every three years.

The MAS/CAS curriculum was designed with input from industry leaders in order to assist individuals in developing the full spectrum of professional skills and knowledge essential to success in the promotional products field. Educational programs are industry-specific, practical and focused upon personal and business success.

Master Advertising Specialist (MAS)
1. A minimum of 5 active years in the promotional products industry
2. Acquiring 170 points (100 points additional to that for CAS certification)
a. Completion of courses within a structured curriculum
b. Contributions to the industry
3. Passing a comprehensive exam to demonstrate industry knowledge

Certified Advertising Specialist (CAS)
1. A minimum of 3 active years in the promotional products industry
2. Acquiring 70 points based on
a. Completed courses within a structured curriculum
b. Contributions to the industry
3. Passing a comprehensive exam to demonstrate industry knowledge

At KelseyPromo, Barbara, Janice and I first earned our CAS and then earned our MAS. While many in our industry have earned their CAS, less than 1% has earned the MAS designation.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Corn Plastic Mugs

For years, plastic and acrylic mugs have been manufactured with petroleum based plastics and polymers. Amid soaring oil prices, disruptive supplies, and increased petroleum demand, our supplier is utilizing an alternative plastic that not only helps relieve U.S. dependence on foreign energy, but is based on a renewable U.S. agricultural product and is environmentally friendly to mother earth... CORN PLASTIC!

We now have plastic mugs made from corn plastic. The mugs come in three different sizes, a 16 oz. mug, a 10.5 oz. mug and a 17 oz. travel mug. They come in three colors - ag green, corn silk white and maise yellow. Companies buy them with their logo and give out to their customers.

The plastic used for these mugs, is made from 100% USA grown corn. It is a heavier mug than normal plastic and will break down in a land fill. Plastic made from oil will not break down at all. You can use these mugs for cold or hot drinks.

Corn-based plastics take just 45 days to biodegrade in a landfill. Normal plastic can take thousands of years to decompose. Corn plastics contain no petroleum, require 20 to 50 percent less fossil fuel to create and are derived from a renewable resource.

Corn plastic became big business in 1997, when
Dow Chemical, the plastics giant, and Cargill, an agricultural company, formed a new company, Cargill Dow, to develop the material. Cargill bought out Dow’s interest in the joint venture in January and renamed the company Natureworks LLC.

Many plastic bags used at grocery stores have been made using this corn plastic for a few years now. They'll break down as good as paper. So the next time the clerk asks 'paper or plastic', you can be environmentally friendly getting either one.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Banner Displays

Sold a neat new scrolling display banner today to a large media company in NYC. They bought four Endless Ads(tm) Scrolling Floor Banners from my web site. These are large banners (36" wide and 6' tall) that scroll two different ads on both sides. The Endless Ads(tm) impressively displays over 13 feet of messages.

The displays are full color graphics and there are two graphics that scroll. They are really cool.

After 33 years of selling, I still get excited about selling something new and this industry gives me that chance every day.

I'm also excited to see what kind of graphics they will send me to imprint on the displays.

These graphics will have to be created as a full color process with a program such as PhotoShop. It will be a very large file and likely will be put on a CD and snail mailed to us.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Vectored Artwork

For the purpose of imprinting your logo or artwork on a promotional product, you will need a computer graphic file with a vector image. Most of the vector files will be CDR (CorelDraw) or AI (Adobe Illustrator) or FH8 (Macromedia FreeHand) or can also be an EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) file. However, a raster image (bitmap) can also be saved as an EPS and cannot be used (see why below). JPEG and GIF images are also bitmap and we cannot use them.

If your logo or artwork is not a vector image, it must be recreated as a vector image by an artist.

There are two kinds of computer graphics - raster (composed of pixels) and vector (composed of paths). Raster images are more commonly called bitmap images. A bitmap image uses a grid of individual pixels where each pixel can be a different color or shade. Bitmaps are composed of pixels. Vector graphics use mathematical relationships between points and the paths connecting them to describe an image. Vector graphics are composed of paths.

The larger you display a bitmap, the more jagged it appears, while a vector image remains smooth at any size. That is why PostScript and TrueType fonts always appear smooth - they are vector-based. The jagged appearance of bitmap images can be partially overcome with the use of "anti-aliasing". Anti-aliasing is the application of subtle transitions in the pixels along the edges of images to minimize the jagged effect. A scalable vector image will always appear smooth.

Bitmap images require higher resolutions and anti-aliasing for a smooth appearance. Vector-based graphics on the other hand are mathematically described and appear smooth at any size or resolution. Bitmaps are best used for photographs and images with subtle shading. Graphics best suited for the vector format are page layout, type, line art or illustrations.

Wherever possible use the vector format for all your type, line art and illustrations and only use bitmaps for photos or images with complex or non-uniform shading. If the graphics application recognizes native vector files such as those created by Adobe Illustrator (a filename with an extension of .AI), CorelDRAW (a filename with an extension of .CDR), or Macromedia FreeHand (a filename with an extension of .FH8 - for version 8), then use them first.

Friday, September 16, 2005

What I do!

I'm starting this journal to talk about the industry I love and to hopefully inform you the reader what our industry is all about.
My name is Ken Kelsey and my industry is Promotional Products previously known as Advertising Specialties.
I have been working with Promotional Products since 1972 along with my wife of 43 years and our daughter. Our company name is
KelseyPromo. The business has helped us put our two daughters through college and has given my wife Barbara and I the opportunity to travel to many parts of the world.
Promotional Products are useful products with an advertising imprint. Examples are t-shirts, pens,
calendars, tote bags, golf products, awareness bracelets, display products, coffee mugs, glasses, business gifts, jackets, food gifts, polo shirts, key rings, corn plastic mugs, minimaps, and thousands more products that are sold around the world every day.
In upcoming journals, I'll talk about what we need for artwork and cover some of the many unique products in our industry.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Calendars... Ad Billboards

Today we got a large repeat calendar order for an electronics wholesaler in Detroit. They have been buying calendars from us for over 25 years. They send them out to all their customers who then put them on the wall of their office.

Thus we have a billboard on the wall of a customer with the electronics wholesaler's very large ad on it. They also put the logo of one of their vendors on the calendar. The vendor then pays a portion of the cost. This is called co-op advertising.

When companies give out calendars on a regular basis, their customers get use to having them in their office. If it does not come to them in November or December, they'll call and ask 'where is my calendar?'

Calendars and the idea of recording dates and time have challenged and inspired every culture throughout history.

An individual calendar on display is one of the most effective advertising vehicles available today. No other form of advertising commands the valuable wall space within the home or office and covers more advertising fundamentals than advertising calendars.

Calendars come in many shapes and sizes. Everybody needs and uses a calendar many times per day.

First of course, monthly wall calendars, your billboard advertising on the wall of your customers, that they will ask you for. Usually one page per month or one page for two months and has pictures.

Desk calendars, small calendars that are mailable and stand on a desk.

Full year wall calendars, great for sending to large offices. Good for keeping track of employee vacations and days off.

Full year decal calendars, one is a strip of about 1" wide and 10" long, goes on the top of your computer monitor. They're very popular. Can be put into a no. 10 envelope and mailed. Also decal calendars come in many other sizes. All are full year calendars.

Commercial calendars are large, some are monthly, some are three months and some are a full year. They all have big numbers, and usually are used in factory settings. Mosy commercial calendars do not have pictures.

Pocket calendars come in weekly and monthly versions and very different prices. From very inexpensive to leather pocket calendars that cost $25.00 or more.

Today, most everyone in the Western World uses the Gregorian calendar. However, there are still 40 different active calendars worldwide.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

When Mistakes Happen...

Read this on Seth Godin's Blog

Noses cut to spite faces department
Petra Rankin shares this story:
I went for a drive to pick up some business cards from my local printer. When I got there, I was handed four boxes of very shiny business cards, even though I had specifically ordered matte. I had specified matte a number of times because it was very important to me, and he was also charging me a premium price for the matte laminate.
So I told the person who was serving me that they were not matte, and I was told in response “yes they are.” (!)
Given that these cards were so shiny I could almost see my reflection in them, I asked to speak to the manager. He come out and agreed that they were not matte, and also agreed that I had asked him a number of times to print matte cards, but he would not lower the price of the cards. I offered him what I thought the cards were worth given they were a misprint, but he was too proud and said I couldn’t take them!
So he is throwing away 1000 perfectly good (albeit shiny) cards, because he didn’t want to accept a discounted price for a mistake!
I wonder how many other small business people operate their business like this? They would rather have a big loss than accept a small one?
(PS She just wrote me and said the printer called her at home, told her had changed her mind and even offered to drive the cards over if she'd just pay the discounted fee.)
find Petra: Achieving Our Potential (And Beyond).
Posted by Seth Godin on March 31, 2005

My Response to this story...

This kind of situation has happened a few times in my 33+ years selling promotional products (promotional products are useful items [t-shirts, pens, calendars, mugs, portfolios, etc.] with a imprint that are given out to promote something or someone).

Maybe something is wrong with the order... wrong item, wrong item color, wrong imprint color, mispelling of a word, missing some of the copy... mistakes happen and then I have to find a way to take care of the problem.

The easy way out would be to offer the customer a discount and cut my losses, like was done in the story above. But that's exactly the wrong thing to do. The printer should have offered to re-do the cards and make the order right.

In Petra's case, her business cards were on the wrong stock and she really wanted a matte finish "because it was very important to me". She did get a discounted rate, however... do you think that every time she gives a card away, she might look at the card and think, narn (or something else), it's on the wrong paper.

Now then, when she is almost out of cards and is thinking about buying more. She thinks about the mistake the printer made on her previous cards (and remembers the attitude of the employee) maybe just maybe she will think that she had better find a new supplier this time, someone who will listen to her instructions and give her what she is paying for.

We would never let a customer keep an order that has anything wrong with it. Customers who have product they have accepted with some flaw, always remembers... something was wrong!

I know, I have gotten new customers, who have said "my previous distributor made mistakes and I don't trust them anymore".

It's better to lose a little money on one order than to lose a customer forever.