California Bans State Agencies from Buying Promotional Products
You know the expression 'penny-wise and pound foolish'? That's California Governor Jerry Brown. Governor Brown this week banned state agencies from purchasing promotional products — a move that figures to save the state in the neighborhood of 7 to 8 million dollars over the next 3 years.
For those unfamiliar with the term, a promotional product is a useful everyday item that carries an ad message — be it an imprinted pen, a t-shirt or something a bit more elaborate like a computer flash drive with a logo printed on the casing.
FULL DISCLOSURE ALERT: I am a 20-year veteran of the promotional product industry, so don't blame me for being a bit biased. But whether you're pro-promotional product or not, Brown's decision is more than a bit shortsighted.
California is facing a $25 billion budget deficit and Brown, now serving his 3rd non-consecutive term as governor, has to do something about it. He's proposing just under $13 billion in state spending cuts along with substantial tax hikes.
A portion of those spending cuts is coming from the marketing budgets of various state agencies in the form of a ban on buying promotional items.
Brown, who referred to these products as "doodads and plastic gewgaws" during a press conference last week, says California has spent far too much money on promotional products. "We don't need that stuff," Brown said. "Not a cent of taxpayer money should be spent on flashlights, ashtrays or other unnecessary items, most of which likely end up in landfills."
Well Jerry, let's take a step back for a second look at WHY state agencies would buy promotional products in the first place. These agencies operate many programs that benefit (and are paid for by) California taxpayers. One of the challenges these agencies face is making people aware that these programs even exist. That's where promotional products make a ton of sense.Continued on the next page