World’s Largest Industry Trade Show Brings New Trends and Insights to Promotional Products Industry
IRVING, Texas –
January 16, 2019  

This week, Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) opened The PPAI Expo, the world’s largest and longest running promotion products industry trade show with more than 11,000 distributors from nearly 4,000 companies and 30 countries in attendance. Promotional products industry professionals from around the world are in Las Vegas to experience this year’s most sought after promotional products, including 155 first time exhibitors. In addition to visiting the more than 1220 exhibitors occupying one million square feet of the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, the 20,000-plus attendees have access to over 130 educational sessions and networking events. The show runs from January 13-17, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

“The PPAI Expo is truly an opportunity to build a sense of community for our members and to see firsthand the positive momentum our industry continues to achieve year over year,” said Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI president and CEO. “Promotional products are the only medium that allow us to connect with consumers on a tangible level. As our industry continues to create new and impactful touchpoints with audiences, The PPAI Expo is a time for distributors and suppliers to unite for one goal of elevating the extraordinary.”

The PPAI Expo features a variety of new experiences for exhibitors and attendees in 2019 including the 1st-Time Exhibitor Pavilion housing the newest entries of products, suppliers and partners; an additional day of education sessions to provide next-level professional development opportunities; and hands-on learning labs with experience-oriented education.

Association Review and Accomplishments 
On January 16, Paul Bellantone, CAE, president and CEO of PPAI, hosted a keynote luncheon and association update alongside Dale Denham, MAS+, PPAI chair of the board and Brittany David, MAS incoming chair of the PPAI board. The town hall-style meeting covered current issues and opportunities for the promotional products industry, the Association and its more than 15,700-member companies.

During his presentation, Bellantone reported on PPAI’s continued organizational growth, noting an increase of members from 15,000 in January 2018 to 15,725 in January 2019—including an additional 500 members from the new relationship between PPAI, SAGE and Promotional Products Professionals of Canada.

Thought Leadership 
The PPAI Expo welcomed Hall of Fame international keynote speaker, author, comedian and world-class guitarist Mike Rayburn to host the Keynote Luncheon on Jan. 14. During the inspiration event sponsored by United States Postal Service, Rayburn drew from his success as an entrepreneur, world-class guitarist and hilarious comedy to teach the three simple, powerful tools which took him from playing empty bars to headlining Carnegie Hall—which work for anyone and everyone.

Additionally, the show featured two power keynotes on sales and marketing sponsored by RiteLine LLC and lead by Connie Podesta and Scott Stratten. As an award-winning author, Podesta is an expert on the psychology of sales, leadership, change, life balance and getting your act together, which helped to inspire industry professionals to do what it takes to increase sales, attract and retain more customers, build longer-lasting relationships, strengthen leadership skills and become more profitable, happier and successful. Named a top five social media power influencer by Forbes, Stratten has transformed how corporations do business. During his presentation, Stratten shared his radical insights on how to engage better with customers through social and viral marketing and blended real-world strategies with memorable stories to help attendees rethink the way they market and sell, for the better.

Finally, a session sponsored by Next Level Apparel called “Stop Talking Yourself Out of Being Great” was hosted by David Goggins. While the odds were stacked against him early in life, Goggins became a Navy SEAL, the most elite unit in the American military, and is the only member of the U.S. Armed Forces to complete SEAL training (including two Hell Weeks), the U.S. Army Ranger School (where he graduated as Enlisted Honor Man) and Air Force tactical air controller training. A few years later he became one of the greatest endurance athletes in the world. Joined by members of PPAI, David hosted a crash course in personal accountability and how to go beyond motivation to achieve your personal best.

Awards Ceremonies
The 61st PPAI Pyramid Awards Celebration sponsored by St Regis Group recognized the best promotions and products in the promotional products industry. Including 65 Gold, 79 Silver, 11 Supplier Star and 8 Supplier Award of Merit winners on January 15, 2019.  During the Chairman’s Leadership dinner held on January 14 the industry’s luminaries, dignitaries and leaders gathered to celebrate the achievements of two industry legends, Gene Geiger, MAS+, of Geiger and Chuck Pecher of Skinner and Kennedy Co., as they were inducted into the PPAI Hall of Fame. Tribute was also paid to this year's winner of the Distinguished Service Award, Michele Jennrich, MAS, and the H. Ted Olson Humanitarian Award winner Daryll Griffin, MAS.

Trade Show Experiences
The 2019 trade show featured several elevated experiences to drive excitement and engagement on the show floor. The EXPO Live Get In Touch!® interactive stage returned to provide streaming live product demonstrations and interviews with notable Expo speakers, exhibitors and industry leaders. Popup experiences were also activated throughout the event to drive attendee traffic to new areas of the show floor. Finally, a Beer Garden sponsored by Pioneer Balloon provided a fun environment on the trade show floor that welcomed more networking opportunities among industry professionals. 

Next year’s PPAI Expo will return to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center from January 12-16, 2020.

About PPAI
Founded in 1903, the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI; ppai.org) is the world’s largest and oldest not-for-profit association serving more than 15,700 corporate members of the $23.3 billion promotional products industry, which is comprised of more than 40,500 businesses and a workforce of more than 500,000 professionals. PPAI represents the industry in Washington, D.C. and advocates on its behalf. PPAI operates The PPAI Expo, the industry’s largest trade show; provides the leading promotional products safety and compliance program; offers a prestigious professional development and certification program; and publishes industry trade journals and periodicals. The multibillion-dollar industry includes wearables, writing instruments, calendars, drinkware and many other items, usually imprinted with a company’s name, logo or message. For more information, visit PPAI.org and follow us on Twitter @PPAI_HQ, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest.


Kim R. Todora, PPAI

Editor’s Note: Tracked, untracked, interviews, b-roll and photos available upon request.