American Specialty Advertising, Inc. was started by A.J. Talamo in 1984.
A.J. was an educator (BA, History; MEd, Administration and Supervision), coach and athletic administrator for over 15 years. He started selling promotional items part-time in 1981; and decided to leave the education field in 1983 to sell fulltime. He enjoyed the idea of being able to meet people, and offer a multitude of ideas for their promotional needs. It was fun!
After working with a promotional company for about a year, he decided to venture out on his own. He used his education background to “sell” a program for elementary students to a New Orleans car dealer, Lamarque Ford. With the assistance of the Ford dealership, and its advertising agency, A.J. created an Americanism program for kids. He came up with 2 characters, “I. Care”, and “Y. Care”. (“I Care” was the kid who did things the right way; “Y. Care” didn’t “care” about anything). He developed a slide presentation to show in area schools to encourage “I. Care” behavior and to promote why the students should be proud to be an American. He personally presented the slide show to students in the schools. He distributed a pencil, a ruler, a name tag and a car sticker to every student he saw. Each item had the slogan I’M PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN on it. All the items were packaged in a litter bag with the Pledge of Allegiance on one side; and, a message from car company owner, Ronnie Lamarque, encouraging patriotism, and caring by the students, on the other side. Each teacher was given a coffee mug, later a padfolio, with TEACHERS BUILD AMERICAN PRIDE. All the items were funded by Lamarque. Bottom line, A.J. saw over 200,000 students in and around the greater New Orleans area over the 5 year run of the program. Long story short, this was the “anchor” for ASA, Inc. during its formative years. The company grew from there.
ASA, Inc’s philosophy is to give their clients “ideas” that fit their promotional program and their budget. The client is always first with the distributorship. This philosophy has continued throughout our 34 years of business. It will continue as long as the company remains in the promotional advertisement field. It must be working because 90% of our business is repeat and referral. We are PROUD of that.