Ten Trends from ASI Chicago



Last week I attended the industry’s biggest show of the summer: ASI Chicago.

With nearly 700 suppliers on the show floor and thousands of products, there was a lot to take in (and a lot to take home in my new metallic tote bag). I was only there a few hours, long enough to walk the show floor but certainly not long enough to stop at each booth.  In my whirlwind trade show experience, I did notice few reoccurring trends.

  • Products used with an App: Everyone loves playing on their smart phones so why not have a custom app to go with your product?  California Tattoos has an awesome variety of temporary tattoos that now includes Holo Tats, temporary tattoos that spring to life with a little help from a free app and your mobile device.  Imagine your logo or mascot dancing around on your client’s screen like a character from Pokémon Go.  Enough said.
  • Vintage Appeal: Pinterest and Etsy are popular right now and are filled with whimsical and vintage-feel products.  Generally that’s not what you picture when you think of the promotional products industry, but I did notice a bit of whimsy at the ASI show this year including custom paper straws from Aardvark Straws. Bonus: They’re eco-friendly!
  • Free Food! Free food always draws a crowd, especially sweets. There was no shortage of delicious samples up for grabs and packaging options perfect for the holidays, which are right around the corner.  The logoed chocolates at the Sweettrio booth were both delicious and direct.  It was the first time I ate something that said “Your Logo Here,” but in this industry, I have a feeling it won’t be the last.
  • Cooling Items: It’s the middle of July in the Midwest so it’s not a surprise that staying cool is top of mind. Promotional products that help beat the heat are great for any outdoor summer event.  High Caliber Line now has O2COOL products.  My favorite was O2Cool Ergo Bottle complete with the Mist and Sip Top.
  • Eco-friendly/Recyclable: I noticed a great variety of Eco-friendly products at the show.  As a coffee lover and Keurig user, I was pleased to find that Mineral Springs Bottled Water now offers custom labeled coffee and tea including recyclable k-cups.
  • Oversize Items: It’s important to stand out at a trade show and there were several oversize items that caught my eye.  The Bobblehead at the Alexander Global Promotions booth was my favorite (possibly because it made me feel like I was in “Honey I Shrunk the Kids”).  It drew me to the booth where I stayed to check out the rest of the custom sports commemoratives and collectibles.  It was also a great photo-op.
  • Multi-Purpose: The more useful the product, the more likely someone is to keep it… so it makes sense in this industry to design products that have multiple uses.  The Aura Box from Origaudio is a Bluetooth speaker, with built-in microphone, LED lamp, thermometer, alarm clock, and desktop notification.  It’s also just really cool.
  • Working Remotely: More and more people work remotely, work from home or travel for work.  Honestly, my first thought about the Iclick Keybook was “It’s so cute!” but the reality is that it’s so functional. It works with any Bluetooth compatible smart phone or tablet and makes it possible to professionally compose emails and notes regardless of what device you are using.  It’s worth mentioning that if you’re going for cute… it comes in rose gold.
  • Neoprene: It’s a material with many uses and it looks good doing it.  There are lots of awesome neoprene items in both retail and the promotional products industry right now, and Numo is always coming up with new ways to use this functional fabric.  My personal favorite was the growler cover.
  • Tech Holders: There were several nifty gadgets meant to help you hold on to or go hands free with a mobile device.  It’s a great place to advertise because let’s face it… we are constantly on our phones.  I really liked the Go Strap.  It was easy to use, could quickly be removed from a device and could be securely mounted to anything, from your treadmill to your stroller.

Did you attend ASI Chicago?  What were some of your favorite products that I missed?  There was so much to see!

For more industry trends and fresh ideas you can always reach out to your HALO Account Executive.  If you are ready to take it a step further and attend a promotional products trade show register for one of HALO’s End User Shows! Upcoming locations and dates:


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Promotional Products | Sterling, IL
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