March 25, 2023

Campaign Spotlight: Are These Ads Worth the Paper They’re Not Printed On?

The switch in subject matter began last week, when the Domtar Corporation and its agency, the Charlotte, N.C., office of Eric Mower Associates, added four video clips-cum-commercials to the campaign, which carries the theme “Paper because.” The humorous videos are billed as entries in a series of “Really, Really Short Films” that started with the introduction of the campaign, which is aimed at so-called thought leaders in fields like business and education, in September 2010.

The first batch of videos, as well as the second, released in December 2011, offered viewers wacky vignettes that occurred at a workplace where a crusade to go “paperless” was carried to extremes. For instance, in one video, titled “Black Market,” an office worker begs her colleague for “more of that stuff you got me last week,” which turns out to be 20 sheets of paper.

The new videos, by contrast, are meant to demonstrate the importance of paper outside office settings. Two take place in homes and two in restaurants. The plots seem familiar at first, but then take twists meant to underscore why paper still has value.

The videos are in addition to other elements of the “Paper because” campaign, which include, of course, print advertisements. Those ads make “Paper because” points like “print is an art form,” “learning something new deserves all your attention,” “all this social media might be making us less social” and “a lot of places worth going to don’t get a signal, and hopefully never will.”

Estimates are that spending for the campaign by Domtar, which is based in Montreal and has its operations center in Fort Mill, S.C., has totaled more than $10 million.

The campaign is indicative of how marketers and agencies handle important questions about campaigns that run for a while with the same theme. How long should the ads run as they are? When is the time to make changes?

One problem is that the ads may continue past the point that consumers grow tired of them, diminishing their effectiveness. But the ads could also be changed before consumers have really noticed them or had time to absorb the pitch being made because the people involved in developing and producing them have had their fill.

“When you work on a project, sometimes you’re tired of it before it goes out,” says Kathy Wholley, director for advertising and communications at Domtar, who is based in Fort Mill.

It is important to remember that “this campaign is still reaching people for the first time,” she adds, noting messages on Twitter that say something like this: “‘Look what I just found. This video is hilarious.’ ”

Still, taking a fresh look at a continuing campaign makes sense, Ms. Wholley says, as in this instance, when a thought emerged about how “there are times and places” outside the office world “where paper is appropriate and useful.”

“We could continue to put out the silly” videos about the perils and pitfalls of the paperless office, she adds, “but we thought we made our point on that.”

“We’re pleased the campaign has been able to be updated,” she says. “It still feels relevant.”

In one of the four new videos, “Anniversary,” a couple is seated at a table in a restaurant. “Happy anniversary,” the wife tells the husband. “I brought you something.” She hands him a card.

“Oh, honey, you’re so thoughtful,” the husband says. “It’s perfect. Thank you.” He then changes the subject: “You ready to order? I’m starving.”

The wife, puzzled, asks, “Honey? You didn’t get me a card?” He replies, “Of course I did. You didn’t get it? I sent you an e-card.” The wife responds, “An e-card?”

At that point, the scene fades to black. The sounds effects in the dark suggest the wife is leaving the table, and the restaurant.

The husband’s plaintive voice is heard, “Honey? Where are you going? Did you check your spam filter? Did you?”

Another commercial, “Waiter,” also takes place in a restaurant. Men and women are ordering meals, but the waiter has no pad, pen or pencil. “Shouldn’t you be writing those down?” one of his customers asks.

Article source: