Domtar papers the country

The company is out to slow the march toward a technology-fuelled paperless world with 'Paper Because,' its largest ad campaign to date.

Though the promise of paperless offices hasn’t yet been fulfilled, paper use has been declining, and that has prompted international pulp and paper company Domtar to launch its largest ever advertising campaign,’Paper Because,’ to convince people that paper is still important.

The print ads will appear in Canada, starting Monday, in the Globe and Mail and industry magazines Graphic Monthly and Applied Arts. Online, the ads will appear on In the US, the focus is on high-end publications such as the New York Times and National Geographic.

Eric Mower and Associates, based in the US, handled the creative and the media on both sides of the border, and Texas-based Squires & Company created the ‘Paper Because’ microsite and YouTube videos that will be posted next week.

The ads will run for the rest of 2010 and into 2011, with no definitive end date.

The point of the campaign, which is ‘significantly larger’ than any previous Domtar campaign, Lewis Fix, VP, brand management and sustainable product development, Domtar, tells MiC, is to defend the reputation of paper, which has been taking a beating.

‘You’ve had this groundswell and people taking potshots at paper and printed media and saying it’s irrelevant, and we look at that and say, ‘hold on, not so fast,” says Fix. ‘After doing research and looking at how people interact with paper, I think that groundswell on one side was really overplayed.’

That groundswell, along with increasing technological options, has led to yearly decreases in paper usage, Fix says.

‘While it’s decreasing and we recognize that, we also think you really shouldn’t overlook the effectiveness of it because of the qualities around it, with people being able to retain information better, or read faster when something’s on paper than when it’s on a screen, those are the things we don’t want people to overlook.’

The target demo for the campaign is key opinion leaders, environmental leaders and business leaders, and also industry workers in printing, graphic design and the office paper sector.

The campaign’s sales pitch is that paper is ‘sustainable, personal and purposeful,’ and the website finishes the ‘paper because’ sentence with such thoughts as
‘it will be remembered longer on paper,’ ‘opening a nice envelope can be surprisingly exciting,’ and ‘it’s easier to learn on paper.’

‘There’s this surge of dialogue around going paperless or substituting paper,’ Fix says, ‘and we’re here to remind people paper’s very effective still, and there’s a lot of emotion wrapped up in its use. People like using paper, and it still remains a functional, valid part of business and your everyday life.’

There is also an environmental defence of Domtar paper as part of the campaign, informing readers that the Rainforest Alliance supports the company’s EarthChoice line of paper and that the company uses Forest Stewardship Council-certified forests.