Nate KucsmaNate Kucsma is the Director of Research for Advertising Specialty Institute. Nate authored this post for Staples Promotional Products diving into the research conducted by ASI®.

What is the ASI Impressions Study?

The ASI® Ad Impressions Study was first launched in 2006 by ASI’s research team to provide powerful data that shows how branded merchandise plays a key role in business branding needs. Each year our reports have shown that advertising specialties are one of the most high-impact, cost-effective advertising mediums around.

How do you measure the impact and cost-effectiveness of promotional products?

We have taken the standard definition of an impression and how these are measured to develop a similar equation for ad specialties. The number of impressions a product makes is derived from multiplying how long a recipient has the product to how many people he comes into contact with each month while using it.

What is new and exciting about this year’s branded merchandise Impressions Study?

This is the 6th year that this particular study has been done, but this year things are a bit different. ASI conducted the first-ever coast-to-coast study of consumers’ usage and opinions of promotional products. Using our methodology, we reached out and received responses from over 120,000 United States consumers who are 18 years old and over. For the first time, we are now able to look at the most influential products by state, for all 50 states, and determine if there are differences in preferences by urban density, gender and age. Additionally, we are also able to determine where and to whom it would be most advantageous for end-buyers to spend a bit more on green or made-in-the-USA products.

The report is divided into four main sections. These are Product SpotlightsInfluence and Impact of Promotional Products, Consumer Behavior, and Impressions.

While each section has their own interesting findings, below are just some of the ones we found to be the most interesting:


  • More than five products boast ownership over 50% in the United States. T-shirts, bags, drinkware, outerwear and writing instruments all meet this threshold.10.2
  • Logoed mobile power banks are reported to be owned by about one-quarter of consumers. This percentage is great, especially considering how new these items are in the industry.
  • The cost per impression (CPI) of promotional products can be as low as 1/10 of one cent. The final CPI is dependent on the net cost of the item, but year after year we find this to be lower than nearly any other medium.
  • Gender differences in product ownership are present. As an example, women own more logoed bags than men, while men are more likely to own logoed headwear.
  • Differences also exist by age for product ownership. Those under the age of 24 are most likely to own a logoed USB drive, while those over 55 are most likely to own calendars.
  • There are even differences by region or state. Thirteen different products were selected by residents of each state when asked their most influential promotional product.
  • The potential influence of green products and made-in-the-USA products varies dramatically by region. The U.S. Is not homogeneous in their views of the importance of these, so distributors can now make targeted recommendations to their clients based on their location and the client’s objectives.
  • Promotional products can evoke a wide range of emotions among consumers who receive them. While not all products generate a positive response, the vast amount are, and this, combined with the recall of the advertiser, makes them an especially attractive means of advertising.

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Here from the users directly about their favorite promo products.

We hope that this insight will inspire you to review the 2016 edition of the ASI® Advertising Impressions study.