More than 200 owners attended event for industry education, supplier show and peer-to-peer networking.

NEENAH, WISCONSIN (October 17, 2008) – Adventures In Advertising finished the summer and kicked off the second selling season with its 13th Annual Convention held at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, Tennessee. Using the theme “The Stage Is Set For You,” the two-and-one-half day event featured education workshops, business updates, fashion show, awards dinner, supplier tradeshow and hilarious entertainment from comedian Buzz Sutherland—all with the southern flair appropriate for the Music City setting.

AIA Annual Convention attendees were treated to a gourmet dinner prior to the awards ceremony.

More than 200 AIA owners and 150 supplier representatives attended the convention, nearly a 10-percent increase over 2007 numbers. “We surpassed attendance from all previous years we’ve had this event,” said Rebecca Kollmann, MAS, AIA director of marketing. “This is significant due to how the challenging U.S. economy is affecting our industry and the overall business environment.”

Education is the key to not only surviving but also thriving in the current sea of change. This year’s convention featured 21 hours of educational training in 14 workshops with topics ranging from online store solutions and 21st century apparel decorating techniques to small business management and adding incremental revenue with print solutions.

“In today’s market, knowledge is more important than ever,” said Nancy E. Hales, owner of AIA/The Hales Agency, at the conclusion of the event. “Knowledge impacts every component of what we do on a daily basis, from being competitive and developing effective marketing campaigns to understanding supplier lines and keeping up with technology. Success comes down to our knowledge and then applying what we know.  We should never stop learning.”

Education wasn’t limited to the classroom. Owners had five hours to spend with 150 supplier representatives during the exclusive Supplier Show to learn about the latest product introductions, case histories and sales techniques.

Brice Dick of AIA/BrandAid, LLC and Debbie Bartlett of AIA/Black Bear Promotions strut down the catwalk durning the AIA Fashion Show at the Annual Convention.

One of the most popular aspects of the convention was the fashion show, which featured more than 180 products from 35 suppliers. The hour-long production was set to country music favorites such as Alan Jackson & Jimmy Buffett’s “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” and Keith Urban’s “Days Go By,” and the models were none other than AIA owners, staff and supplier representatives.

Recognition is also a significant facet of the Annual Convention. This year, 52 owners were honored in seven award categories from hitting the multi-million dollar sales mark to billing the largest dollar volume during the last calendar year. Additionally, 14 suppliers were recognized for being the best in their respective categories, and two staff members were honored for outstanding service to the owners. (award details to be released under separate cover)

Kollmann summarized the event by saying, “Combining the power of networking, education and one-to-one supplier/distributor interaction by a group of tremendous professionals is the most important outcome of the Annual Convention. As a corporate staff person, it’s energizing for me to see the very positive buzz being created for the rest of 2008 and into 2009.”

About AIA:

Neenah, Wisconsin-based Adventures in Advertising offers a promotional consulting franchise opportunity for entrepreneurs who want to grow an independent business while being backed by extensive support resources. Founded in 1981, the company began offering franchises in 1994. Today, its network has grown to more than 300 franchised and affiliated promotional consultants that help corporations and businesses develop marketing and advertising programs, select promotional products from top brands and build integrated marketing solutions.

Since 2002, AIA and its owners have been awarded 17 PPAI Pyramid Awards, 11 of which were Gold Pyramids for the outstanding use of promotional products in employee incentives, tradeshows and exhibitions, self-promotion, goodwill, not-for-profit and business-to-business programs. Additionally, AIA is ranked No. 11 on Counselor magazine’s 2008 Top 40 Distributors.

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Media Contact:
Lisa Horn, CAS

Company Contact:
Rebecca Kollmann, MAS