Money & Business

Paper and Packaging Board Campaign Touts Paper’s Softer Side

By / Aug 4, 2015

Heartwarming commercials combined with education and research are driving the Paper and Packaging Board’s “How Life Unfolds” campaign. P+PB hopes its efforts show how paper and packaging products connect people in personal, meaningful ways.

A handwritten note to every office worker, email sender, and spreadsheet creator out there: The paper industry plans on making a huge comeback. (Somewhere, former Dunder Mifflin Regional Manager Michael Scott is smiling.)

Though it’s still a $132 million industry, according to data from the Paper and Packaging Board (P+PB), the demand for the product has decreased sharply over the years as consumers get further entrenched in the digital world.

P+PB is striking back and looking to change the conversation by relying on the same U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program that helped milk companies produce their “Got Milk?” commercials. Enter, P+PB’s “How Life Unfolds” campaign, which officially launched last month.

The campaign “communicates the benefits of paper and paper-based packaging through emotionally rich stories that remind us how paper and packaging help us reach our goals and connect in thoughtful and meaningful ways,” P+PB said in an email to Associations Now.

If you’ve been in front of a television in the last few weeks, you’ve likely already seen some of the campaign’s early work. Television spots have been produced that feature paper’s softer side.

In addition to the heartwarming commercials, the “How Life Unfolds” campaign integrates print advertising, a new website that touts the benefits of paper and paper-packaging products, and a revamped social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. And it’s all funded by paper and packaging companies through a USDA checkoff program. [See the yellow box on the left for more information on this program.]

What excites P+PB Executive Director Mary Anne Hansan most, though, is the level of participation among industry members—something she said is crucial to the success of a campaign of this size.

“Previous efforts [to promote paper and packaging] were either underfunded or did not last long enough—or both—to make an impact,” she said. “That’s what is different about a USDA checkoff campaign. Everybody who meets the criteria for payment is paying which results in a much larger budget to generate impact.”

The industry made a seven-year commitment to the effort, which Hansan believes will give them time to necessary to successfully build the brand’s message.

“The campaign is important because our industry has a great story to tell about the benefits of our products and the fact that paper and paper-based packaging comes from a renewable resource,” she said. But none of that would’ve been possible had the industry not committed to the campaign for the long haul.

And P+PB is already seeing its efforts pay off. The campaign has received a fair amount of media coverage, and the commercials are going viral.

“We have been on air just shy of five weeks at press time, and our total YouTube and Facebook views for the ‘Letters to Dad’ spot are more than 870,000,” Hansan said. “Our agency, Cramer-Krasselt, did a wonderful job turning our research into stories and a brand message that touches the heart and motivations behind using paper and packaging.”

Rob Stott

Rob Stott is a contributing editor for Associations Now. More »

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