Monday, November 24, 2008

Introducing the Custom Plush Toy InstaQuote™ System

The fastest way to get minimum quantities and pricing quotes for custom plush toys

Allentown, PA, November 21, 2008 - Artistic Toy launches InstaQuote™ its on-line pricing tool for salespeople to get information about custom plush toy orders within minutes. Two of the most common questions received in the promotional product industry is "What is the minimum?" and "What is the price?".

When developing a custom made plush toy... See Full Press Release

Click Here to Get an InstaQuote™

The Hands-On Approach to 2009 Sales Growth

--A pilot sales program that partners with promotional products salespeople to sell $100,000 Character Marketing Campaigns --

Allentown, PA, October 27, 2008 - Artistic Toy and The Promotion Coach announce today their plan to help 20 promotional product distributors build character. Jim Socci, President Artistic Toy, and Ted Davies, The Promotion Coach, have teamed up to help salespeople go deeper into clients’ marketing campaigns to discover sales opportunities they could be missing. The goal is to recruit 20 dedicated sales professionals who want to work hands on to implement their co-authored “Character Marketing Sales Playbook™”.

The pilot program will begin on Monday, January 19, 2009. The dynamic duo will use a series of web training sessions to implement the sections in the playbook. Within the program salespeople will receive:

• Guidance on Client Selection
• Assistance developing an award winning prospecting campaign
• Tips for securing appointments
• Presentation Assistance
• Access to case studies and proposal templates
• The Promotion Coach Sales Playbook – First Million Audio CDs

The cost of this pilot program is FREE, but is limited to 20 participants. Applications are being accepted online at through December 19, 2008. The selected participants will be announced on January 12, 2009 at the PPAI Las Vegas Trade Show.

View Press Release in PDF Format.

View recorded Webinar Playback to learn more about Jim and Ted's personal success stories with their Proactive Sales Approach: "Don't Leave $ on the Table."

"I am glad I attended the webinar because plush, especially custom, was not really on my radar as a unique, multi-industry promo item. I see now that there are some great universal possibilities, so thanks!"
Beverly Padratzik (Proforma House, Chicago, IL)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Boost Your Client's 4th Quarter Sales

The current economy is on shaky ground and that ripples down uncertainty with clients you currently advise on promotional product, advertising, and marketing solutions. The last couple of months there was a “Cold Turkey” approach to cutting advertising dollars by many businesses across all industries.

Tama Swan, Associate Editor PPB Magazine, shares a fantastic article about how developing a promotional campaign that involves handing out creative promotional products can keep brands in consumers’ minds even when wallets are closed. The chances of boosting sales immediately are cautiously optimistic; however, retailers are going to need ideas that sizzle to bring the emotion back into this holiday season and more shoppers into the stores. The smart marketers are not getting discouraged though; they are building campaigns to stay connected to shoppers by dispensing free gifts and entertainment in shopping malls. I think I remember my grandmother telling me something about doing something and expecting nothing in return. It is likely that your customer gift giving campaign will NOT create an immediate ROI worth speaking about, unless of course you consider receiving 1 heartfelt thank you an acceptable return. Outside of that, Retailers have the opportunity to handout as many smiles as possible, which is the reason consumers are shopping and they so quickly forgot. Instead of giving them an extra 5% discount at the register this season, remind your shoppers what it’s all about and give them an experience they will not forget. Chances are this memorable shopping experience will generate the most beneficial marketing known to man, “word of mouth.”

In case you did not get a chance to pick up the October PPB article, I have selected the excerpt from her FAST FORWARD article.

Mall Madness
Handing out freebies and samples can keep brands in consumers’ minds even when wallets are closed.

In this tight economy where gas prices are high and funds are low, many families are opting for purchase-less mall excursions. There they can get out of the house and take in some sites, expending little more than the fuel it takes to get there and a couple of bucks for a Cinnabon. Savvy marketers are taking this opportunity to tantalize bored Americans with free gifts and maintain their brand images through tough economic times.

Last summer, when Coca-Cola wanted to promote its sponsorship of the 2008 Beijing Olypmics, the company offered thousands of free, commemorative Coke bottles specially designed by Chinese artists to visitors at Simon Malls. The free gifts came with cards prompting those who received them to visit Coke’s website and download free music associated with each bottle.

The promotion was part of a teen-focused event called Simon dTour Live and featured giveaways by other companies such as Sprint and ABC Family, which gave away network programming-based t-shirts that visitors could customize on-site.

In a Promo magazine article about the tour, Cathi Weiner, senior vice president of business development for Simon Brand Ventures, said “Consumers come to malls expecting entertainment. They are primed to shop and primed for messaging.” Before recommending this type of promotion to your client, take note of these facts:

• Most mall events occur in big, open spaces, such as the center court, to maximize exposure. It usually takes several months to plan these activities, but it’s possible to shorten the timeline to four to six weeks.

• The price depends on the size and scope of your event—such as whether you’re appearing at one mall or two dozen. One-day rental fees for mall space can range from a few thousand dollars to $10,000. The time of year can affect the price as well, as weekends and holidays are more expensive.

• Remember that hosting a mall event will require extra staffing, advertising and third-party event handlers. You may also want to purchase security, pre-promotional signage and décor.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Press Release: Artistic Toy Stimulates Economic Recovery

--Budget Friendly Assortments of Stuffed Plush Toys Stimulate Corporate PR Campaigns--

Allentown, PA, September 29, 2008 - Artistic Toy announces today their plan to stimulate public relation campaigns of Companies by offering high quality assorted stuffed plush toys at deep discounts. The campaign is geared towards corporations that want to support charity organizations by providing smiles to as many children and adults as possible. Making a toy donation to your church, school, and other Non-Profit Organization this holiday season could generate more return on your marketing dollar than you might expect. Well run community organizations are always eager to accept donations and promote Sponsors in the press and to all their members. The term "Goodwill Marketing" or "Cause Promotion" are not new strategies for many corporations; however, more difficult to justify the investment or ROI in this woeful economy. Many companies adopt a philosophy to give when times are good and pull back when times are tough. Intuitively that is a tough philosophy to argue against; however, the community needs you more NOW than before. Ted Davies, Jr. a 28 year veteran to Promotional Products Sales and Marketing reports the Fact: 77% of U.S. consumers want companies to commit to a specific cause for a long time, instead of running short promos with several causes. That's up from 66% since 1993 as published in an article in Promo Magazine.

"Staying committed to a single cause year after year sends a strong message to your community and your customers", says Jim Socci, President of Artistic Toy. A humble gift giving campaign provides transparency and visibility that consumers can trust in while they pick up the pieces from home foreclosures, corporate corruption, and understand what this government bailout means to their family.

If the gift giving gesture is done in sincerity with a modest assortment of stuffed plush toys to those in need, you may also see an increase in new customers or better yet retention of existing customers.

Visit for random assortments of stuffed plush toys available by the box ranging in size from 3"to 20".

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Build a Powerful School Fundraiser Program

Discount cards, candles, chocolate bars, cookie dough, entertainment books, magazines, and scratch cards. Been there, done that. And gaining profit from these goods means initially buying more products at cheaper bulk-prices and trying to sell them all for greater return. Wouldn’t it be better if the product was unique and generated more return on its own?

Fundraising Step One: the mascot.
Schools are identified by their mascot, such as the Buckeyes or the Scarlet Knights. Almost every school has a mascot that is displayed on sports jerseys, school banners, school apparel, and might even be a “live” costume mascot. What about using them for fundraisers too?
Plush toy mascots could not only generate profit for the school’s organization but also generate school spirit. Chocolate bars and discount coupons have no association to the school – customers may forget about that candy bar that was so quickly consumed, the useless wrapper that was thrown away, and the cause for which those few dollars were spent. Plush toy mascots are directly connected to the school, especially when accompanied with t-shirts that display the school’s logo or event that is being fundraised. So customers are getting a product that promotes the school’s activities as well as the school itself.
Consider a school whose mascot is the bulldog. Say the distributer buys 100 plush bulldogs, which will cost the distributor about $5 each. That equals $500 as the initial cost for this fundraiser. To generate profit, they might sell these bulldogs for $10. That’s 10x100 = $1000, which means $500 profit. For even more profit, the school could either sell more or increase the customer purchase price. Or they could read on…

Fundraising Step Two: extra effort = extra return.
Want to put in a little more oomph into the fundraising process? The results will prove to be well worth the extra effort.
I want to introduce a new idea for those same plush toys… the Interactive Plush Toy: Add a tag on each of the toys and you now have a mascot plush toy, a t-shirt with the school’s logo, and a tag that is redeemable for discounts at participating local businesses.
Extra effort: Organizers of the fundraiser will need to recruit some local businesses to be a part of their fundraising event. The tags on the mascots will be redeemable at one of the participating local businesses. The prize could be a free slice of pizza or 50% entrée at a new restaurant – whatever the businesses have agreed to offer.
Extra return: The customer is getting a toy and a discount offer at a local business. The event’s fundraising profit increases. The involved businesses are getting increased traffic at the cost of, say, just a few slices. Everyone profits!
Of course, with this new added feature, the mascots can be sold at a higher price.
The bulldogs will still cost $10 for the school ($500 initial website cost) if the school buys 100 toys. However, now sell the little mascots for $25, which adds up to 25x100 = $2500. That means $1500 profit. You just increased the return of your fundraiser! Now, why not go a little further?

Fundraising Step Three: 100% no cost to you.
Get a business to fully sponsor your fundraiser. Their logo can go on the t-shirt: “Sponsored by…” The local business will pay the initial costs of the mascots and on-line redemption program. In the case of the bulldogs, that’s $500 + $500 for website. All the t-shirts will have an advertisement of the business, and a portion of the tags (whatever percentage the business approves) will be redeemable at that location.
The cost for you is $0. The profit for you is 20x100= $2,000. The profit for the promoted business is increased traffic via the tags and increased awareness via the t-shirt ad space. Sounds like a win-win situation.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

More than 14 inch Golf Head Covers - $9.99(R)!

Do you want more than a great product at a great price?

Click HERE to see our 14 inch Golf Head Cover Special!

Maybe you want to hit a long ball to be a top performer this year? Use Character Marketing to go for the green with precision and you can become a Top Performer in 2008.

You have less than 100 selling days left this year. It’s a tough call…you can wait for customers to call you with a big order or you can attack the fairways with a plan to get one customer worth $10,000 to $50,000 of new business this year. In today’s sales environment the “grip-it and rip-it” approach of finding new business typically never finds you on the fairway. Consider attending one of Artistic Toy’s FREE webinars on ways to build new business with precision shots that are guaranteed to get you noticed.

Click HERE to see list of upcoming webinars.

Join us to discuss topics like creative prospecting kits, character marketing campaigns, and new interactive toys that can produce immediate measurable results for your customers.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Kirby Bear Special - Why Am I Green?

GREEN has different meanings to different people. Some people think if you are GREEN you must be inexperienced. Other people think that if you are GREEN you are made of recycled materials.

I’ve been promoting businesses for over 15 years and I am made out of ALL NEW MATERIALS for your Safety. I am bulk packed and do not use any foam packing peanuts when I travel. It is through my experience that I have been able to conclude that I am a GREEN product because people will not throw me away. Similar to my other plush toy character friends, I don’t run out of ink, I’m not easily broken, and I always find a great home for generations of enjoyment. Some of my cousins are now collectibles and others have executive offices around the world.

So if you are thinking of ways to make your advertising GREEN, think about me and remember what my old friend Kermit the Frog said, “It’s not easy being Green.


P.S. I’m interested to know if you think I’m GREEN worthy or not. Anyone who posts a comment on the blog and votes on the poll will receive a FREE – 24” version of me with an imprinted t-shirt with their next order.

Click Here to Leave a Comment

Monday, April 28, 2008

How to Sell a $50,000 Plush Toy Program

On April 22, 2008, Artistic Toy hosted a FREE webinar on “How to Sell a $50,000 Plush Toy Program". This webinar introduced the concept of Character Marketing and how stuffed plush toys can be used in your marketing campaign.

"If a picture is worth a thousand words, a character toy is worth millions to your brand."

The response to the webinar was overwhelming with 184 attendees pre-registered and 96 in attendance. I know many of you could not make it. Please follow the link below to get the recorded playback.

If you’re not sure if you have time to listen to the webcast, please consider what others have said:

“Good job...I found the time spent will be worth it."

“Thanks for the webinar. I'm interested in the questions to help establish clear objectives with clients.”

“Thanks for such an informative and enjoyable event today."

“It was very informative and I hope to work with you on several large companies.”

“It was a pleasure attending the Web Conference.”

88% of attendees stated that they would like help mapping current customer’s to the character marketing applications discussed in the webinar.

94% of the attendees stated they were interested in learning more about our new Interactive Toy solutions that guarantee measurable results.

If you are looking for the responses to the FAQ’s Click Here.

If you want to Replay the Full Webinar Click Here.

If you want the Slide Presentation Click Here.

Please post a comment on this blog or email to get started using stuffed plush toys in character marketing campaigns.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Upon Request – ASI Social Network: Artistic Toy Credit Policy and Procedure

Based on the 28 comments to Josiah’s (ASI/285446) Deposit and Payment In Full… topic posted on the ASI Social Network Forum it is good to see that most distributors are collecting deposits or payment in full before accepting orders from customers. I was excited to get requests from Anita Patterson and Donna Weaver to see Artistic Toy’s credit policy. I hope distributors find this policy helpful and let me know if you have suggestions or comments.

Standard Language on Quotes to Customers:



CARDHOLDER NAME: __________________________ CUSTOMER SIGNATURE: _______________________

CARD NO: _____________________________________ EXP DATE _____


Customer message sent along with Sales Order Confirmation:

We received your purchase order acknowledgement. Attached is a Sales Order Confirmation, please call us if you have any questions.

The following information is critical to ensure efficient processing of your order:

1. No product proofs will be started until 50% deposit is collected.
2. No Credit Terms are extended to customers with less than 3 orders.
3. Invoice balance is due on date of shipment.
4. Customers with credit terms who do not pay within terms will lose term privileges.
5. Customers who pay by credit card at end of term will be assessed additional 2% credit card processing fee.
6. Order cancellation is subject to minimum 25% of total order.

Best Regards,

Accounts Receivable

Notes and Explanation for Policy Requirements:

After a customer has 3 orders and approved credit application, then we extended Net 15 day terms. Why not Net 30 day? We have found that customers have different interpretations for Net 30, meaning payments generally arrive closer to 45 days. To avoid confusion our terms are Net 15 with a 15 day grace period. On day 31, customer will receive a 10 Day Free Demand Letter from the collection agency and lose future term privileges.

This policy is not perfect, but it does eliminate a lot of stress with collections and cash flow. In situations when the orders ship to customers outside the United States or have a value in excess of our own financing abilities we require a Letter of Credit or payment in full before shipment.

Key Implementation Tip:

We have found that these policies and procedures to be most effective when communicated with customers upfront before a quote is prepared. This eliminates any confusion and gets the money issue out of the way in the beginning. Sometimes it’s better to tell a prospective customer, “While we would like to do business with you, we might not be the right fit for you.” If the customer and vendor are going to disagree it is better to agree to disagree early in the process. We all have choices on who we want to do business with and I continue to maintain that “The Customer is always right, just not always right for me.”

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Artistic Toy Launches Interactive ToyTag™ at ASB Winter Conference

It’s almost Spring and the creative minds at Artistic Toy have come out of hibernation. On March 1, 2008 we introduced our Interactive ToyTag™ to 600 distributor and exhibitor sales people at the American Solutions for Business Winter Conference in Minneapolis, MN. The response was overwhelming with show guests lining up 6 deep waiting to register to see which of the $80,000 worth of prizes they had won.

You may have heard of the popular brand of stuffed toys called Webkinz™. Well the product development teams at Artistic Toy and Ego-ID have taken the concept of web based toys in a different direction. A key problem identified by many marketing and financial professionals is that it is difficult to measure return on investment or return on objective when utilizing traditional promotional products.

That is why Artistic Toy and Ego-ID have partnered together to deliver a new application for Ego-ID’s successful brand of Dog Tags™ and developed the Interactive ToyTag™ by Artistic Toy. The tags are applied to Artistic Toy’s products. The tags have unique variable data printed codes on them redeemable for prizes on-line. The adorable soft cuddly toy is your initial prize given to a suspect for spending 1 minute collecting a few pieces of contact information. Then instantly they have become a winner of another fantastic prize. This prize however is not an ordinary prize; it is a NO RISK OFFER that separates the suspects from the prospects. The primary purpose of the prize is to provide a call to action for your visitor to see if they would like to move to the next step in building a business relationship with your company or its partners. Typically, this is something that cannot be achieved with an ordinary promotional product give-away.

If you think this is something you would like to present to a customer please send us an email to and we will send you marketing material and detail information about how to sell and present the Interactive ToyTag™ in your next marketing campaign. If you saw the ToyTag™ product at the American Solutions for Business Winter Conference and have any feedback please post a comment.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Artistic Toy Exhibits at the Promota International Show for the Second Year in a Row

Several distributors asked me why we decided to get into the UK market. That is a good question and it took me some time to sort through my business plan to find the real reason why Artistic Toy is in the UK. “We want to be different!” Artistic Toy is a different kind of Company with the ability to build its character anywhere in the world. Our product offerings and value proposition is different than what is currently available in the UK market.

When you work with Artistic Toy, it is a partnership relationship from the start. Our goal is to be remarkable because our fear is that if we are not helping you develop new, different, and creative marketing applications for your Customers, Artistic Toy and its Distributors will be invisible in any market.

When you partner with Artistic Toy you can expect remarkable things like:

1. InstAQuote™
2. ArtisticAlerts™
3. Above and Beyond Guarantee
4. Inspected by Helen™
5. The Perfect Match System
6. Over 10,000 Different Toys and 750,000 Toys in Stock
7. Safety First
8. Create Your Own in 24 hours

Please email this subject line “I’m interested in The A-Team of Distributors” to learn more about this amazing partnership opportunity. Also, join us in developing the hottest product to be launched to the UK market next year. Remember to cast your vote in the blog poll.



Saturday, January 26, 2008

PPAI Expo - Were You A Big Winner?

Wow.... What an awesome show! It is always difficult to measure the return on investment from trade shows but when you gather over 961 prospect names in 2.5 days we certainly increase our chances. Almost 200 prospects provided us specific information related to customer projects. Thank you for taking the time to exchange ideas and discuss opportunities. We are obsessed with reaching out to everyone. We have spent the last week carefully reviewing each scan and business card to make sure we have accurate contact information.

I suspect some distributors are frustrated with the amount of time it takes to get requested information from suppliers. I also suspect some distributors are frustrated with the over abundance of communications and information received from suppliers. Is there achievable balance here? Do you have any suggestions, techniques, or comments? If you have a tip or opinion please post a comment to this blog or participate in our "DISTRIBUTOR FRUSTRATION" pole.

The BIG Winners in Vegas are:

1. Nancy Gordon - Creative Specialty Promotions, Inc. - Paramus, NJ

2. Susan Raymond - Shamrock Specialities - Whitehouse, OH

3. Glenn Aultman - Allstar Corporate Promotions - San Antonio, TX

Each of the above people will have their choice of either $400 Cash, an iPhone, or 100 pcs of our 9" Peter Bear w/imprinted t-shirt. Winners need to post their selection on the Blog and we will contact you to schedule delivery.

We appreciate your interest in our Company and want everyone to leave Las Vegas feeling like a winner and with tangible concepts and products that will help them this year. To that end we are offering a promotion to all of our 961 participants. Please order a FREE "Best Selling Pack" and select some of our Valentines Day, St. Patrick's Day or Easter hot products listed below. Please also view the thousands of other items we have in stock for this holiday season. If you decide to take advantage of this offer please reference promotion code "PPAIX08"

3" I Love You Heart or 8" Bear w/ Heart

3" Rabbit w/ Wings or 8" Rabbit

5" Shamrock or 8" Leprechaun Bear

Good Luck this selling season and we look forward to working with you soon.


Jim Socci

Monday, January 7, 2008

ASI Orlando - iPhone Winner

Thank you for visiting us in Orlando at the ASI Show. I hope this was a good start to your 2008 selling season. The response rate to the iPhone promotion was tremendous. More importantly the exchange of ideas, conversation, and relationships built with customers exceeded my expectations. I have done over 20 tradeshows in the last 2 years and this was by far the best. We gathered over 340 distributor salespeople's names.

Unfortunately, we could only pick one winner for the iPhone because I only saved $400 when I switched to GEICO.

The Grand Prize Winner of the Apple iPhone was:

Tony O'Donnell - Imagemark ASI / 230137

Last night I decided there had to be something more I could do for everyone that stopped at the booth, so I decided to add 2 additional categories.

The 2nd Prize Winner - Free Self Promo Toy Pack (S2142) - Martha Lohman - M M Grinann & Company ASI /214646

The 3rd Prize Winner - Free Custom Toy Sample - Matt Browning - Surge Promotions - ASI /238600

In the spirit of creating of win-win atmosphere at Artistic Toy, I want to thank everyone who stopped by our booth and invite you to become a registered member of our website. In exchange for joining our preferred network of distributors you can order our BEST SELLING TOYS PACK (S2138). Please enter promotion code ASIORL08 to redeem this item for free.

Good luck this year and I look forward to working with you!