Who Is Anji Corley, And Why Does She Love Promotional Products?
Anji Corley has always been a lover of promotional products, but after two rounds hosting the Promotional Products Work Expo, she’s looking at promo in a whole new way.
“You might just think it’s a simple product, but it’s not. There’s more to it than just a logo on something,” she says. “It’s very specific, intentional and thought-provoking. The community that it builds – I never really thought about it that way. To think of them as memories, they are specific to me, my community, that event or what I am doing that day.”
Corley has what’s called a “slash career.” She’s an award-winning host, radio and TV personality, global brand ambassador and a travel and fashion expert. She was the cohost of national ABC series Vacation Creation, traveling around the world to give deserving people vacations of a lifetime. She also hosted Oh Baby! with Anji Corley on ABC, talking about baby animals in an educational format for families.
“Every day, I am excited for what’s in store. Even if I have nothing going on, I am always planting seeds and meeting people,” she says. “I love that my range is broad: brand ambassador/actress/artist/creative and party starter. It just depends on what day, what time and what Anji is doing.”
As a fashion expert, Corley knows how to represent products. She is a full-time show host and brand ambassador on the Home Shopping Network for Naturalizer/SOUL, Rhonda Shear, Beats by Dre, Serena Williams’ line and many others. She lets her personality lead her, connecting with everyone she meets.
“One thing I learned a long time ago was that I can’t be anyone but me,” Corley says. “Sometimes, my energy might be too much. But at the end of a shoot, before they yell, ‘This is the martini shot,’ which means it’s the last shot of the day, you’d love to have my energy on staff. It’s infectious, and it brings people together.”
- “There’s more to it than just a logo on something. It’s very specific, intentional and thought-provoking.”
- “These products are items that other people don’t have access to, so I feel special.”
Corley’s first job in radio was promotions director of a radio station in Pittsburgh. She says, “I used to adore when TV networks, news shows or a movie premiere would give us merch. I made no money, but I had 50,000 – and still do – T-shirts and pens. Some of my favorite items are a Martin TV show jacket, a Nickelodeon denim jacket and New York Undercover merch. These are now classics, and I’ve still kept them. I have some things that don’t even work anymore that I love. I was a lover of promotional products since college.”
Today, she loves promo even more. “I still pick up things off the table or when they give away free items. It’s really evolved over the last decade. Now, I see products and I am like, ‘Wow, this is cool.’ I don’t know how distributors or suppliers come up with these ideas. They give me something I never knew I needed, then they brand it to the point where I never want to get rid of it.”
Corley says promo is truly unique. “These products are items that other people don’t have access to, so I feel special.” As a promotions director, Corley ordered promo like T-shirts, mugs and reusable bags. She’d also do movie premieres, giving away sweatshirts or fanny packs. “I’ve seen all kinds of fun times,” she says. “From dice to coloring books, I had a desk, and I was surrounded by promotional boxes. That was my life.”
She says, “For anyone watching the PPW Expo, I hope you know we are dedicated to informing you. We hope to open your eyes to the possibilities of promo. Anytime someone can make you wonder, that’s my job. We also want to make you the industry insider and keep you informed about the direction of the industry. We want to get you excited for what’s next.”
Check out three of Anji’s favorite promo products:
“I got this speaker at the 20th anniversary of The PPAI Expo 2023 in Las Vegas. It was my first Expo, and it was also a milestone for the organization, so that was special. Although I come from radio and broadcast, I don’t have a waterproof speaker. It was just what I needed. It was the best size. Going overseas, guess what I’m taking? My speaker! My phone only gets so loud, and I love music. I’d rather listen to music than watch TV. It’s personalized with my name, too. I have such a unique name that I am a huge fan of personalization, and it represents a memory. It is just a win-win.”
“I received this from a company that I did work with, traveling around the world. For them to know how special it was to record those experiences and adventures was really nice. They had my name embossed on it, and it said, ‘Your journey awaits.’”
Etched Cocktail Glass
“I also went to a grand opening of a virtual production studio in Las Vegas called VU. When you went to the open bar, not only do you get a fabulous cocktail, but the glass is also etched with the logo. But inside the glass, the ice cube even had the company’s logo on it. I was like, ‘How?’ The thought to create ice cubes with a logo and the glass – I was blown away. Something so simple made such an impact.”