Frequently Asked Questions
Consumer Campaign Information:
Funding and Assessments:
What are the goals of the Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds® campaign?
The Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds® campaign is a national promotional campaign funded by manufacturers and importers of paper and paper-based packaging otherwise known as the Paper Checkoff program. The campaign promotes the benefits and value of paper and paper-based packaging in people’s daily lives through emotionally rich stories featuring animated characters to generate awareness of and engagement with consumers around the value of the paper and paper-based packaging products they use every day.
The campaign introduced two characters in 2018 – a paper and a box. Why were these characters brought to life?
When the campaign launched in 2015, the print and TV advertising brought a visually- and emotionally-rich storytelling approach to highlight the importance of paper and packaging in daily life. The widely-viewed “Letters to Dad” TV commercial became the most popular and iconic commercial in the campaign. Following that success, campaign research showed that featuring paper and packaging as the heroes of a story could maximize consumer recall of the message and help increase brand recognition. The characters first appeared in print in January 2018, then digital video, and on February 14, launched across digital television and social media.
What do the characters represent?
Each character embodies core attributes and benefits that consumers appreciate about their use of and choice of paper or packaging. Paper helps us learn, be productive and achieve both big things and small in our daily lives. Packaging routinely delivers goods safely to our doorsteps, stores and businesses, as well as graphics and information about the brands we love. The campaign is designed to increase consumer appreciation for these unsung heroes and increase consumption behavior.
Where will I find the characters?
The Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds® campaign advertises in print magazines, in digital and cable TV, in online ads, and has six established social media channels. Commercials featuring the characters begin airing across digital and cable TV on February 14, 2018. Print ads debuted in January 2018 issues. Social media channels and the website reveal character images and information on February 14, 2018.
Have other checkoff programs used characters?
A handful have used characters as mascots or in designated campaigns. The paper and packaging animated characters are designed to go beyond a single application or mascot use and represent the paper and packaging in our lives as ambassadors of the qualities consumers value. These characters represent the unique value and natural properties of paper and packaging. These characters are meant to be representations of the Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds® brand.
Who is the campaign target audience?
The focus of the campaign is a target group we call, for marketing purposes, “Expressives.” They represent 38M men and women, ages 18-49, who like and count on paper and packaging to help them get things done at work, at home and at school. They consider themselves to be up on the latest trends and are highly motivated to use paper and paper-based packaging. The pendulum swing toward maintaining connections in a digital world influences their behavior. They possess a strong pro-social streak and a desire for genuine social and familial connections and focus on authentic interactions. This audience demonstrates a preference for creating and printing paper documents, reading books and magazines, making purchasing decisions from catalogs and shopping frequently online. They grocery shop and shop online frequently, relying on packaging to deliver their purchases safely. The campaign will nurture this audience’s high engagement with paper and packaging and reinforce the value they already see in these products.
Why a consumer-focused campaign?
The Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds® campaign unites over 50 companies behind one message to do what no one company can accomplish individually - generate awareness for paper and paper-based packaging to help stem the decline in sales of paper and increase the demand for packaging. By communicating the benefits and value of paper and paper-based packaging in people’s daily lives through emotionally rich stories featuring characters that represent the industry, the campaign generates awareness of and engagement with consumers around the value of the paper and paper-based packaging products they use and take for granted every day.
Where can I see the campaign?
The Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds® promotional campaign is seen in TV commercials, on digital video, in magazines, in social media and in media coverage as well as on the campaign website, www.howlifeunfolds.com. Social media platforms for the campaign include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as well as a YouTube channel. The campaign website is www.howlifeunfolds.com.
How will the industry measure its impact?
The campaign measures and reports on improved attitudes and use of the products, share of voice or conversation about the industry and campaign, and reports on the impact of the campaign on tons of paper used (consumed).
What is a Checkoff Program?
Authorized by federal legislation, a Checkoff is designed to maintain and expand markets for an industry’s products. Find more information here.
Tell me about the Paper Checkoff.
The Checkoff will conduct follow-up referendum by January 2021, no later than seven years after the assessments began.
What makes a company eligible to support the program?
Manufacturers and importers annually producing or importing 100,000 short tons or more of paper and paper-based packaging pay into the program. The program covers four types of paper and paper-based packaging—printing, writing and related paper (used to make products for printing, writing and other communication purposes), Kraft packaging paper (used for products like grocery bags and sacks), containerboard (used to make corrugated boxes, shipping containers and related products), and paperboard (used for food and beverage packaging, tubes and other miscellaneous products). Companies annually producing or importing less than 100,000 short tons are exempt from this effort. If a company is a producer and importer, the combined domestic production and imports of paper and paper-based packaging are counted to determine whether the company is exempt from the assessment.
When did the Paper Checkoff start?
The paper and packaging industry voted overwhelmingly in favor of forming a checkoff in a referendum held in November 2013. The USDA Order creating the checkoff was released in 2014. The Checkoff was established by an affirmative referendum of a majority of the companies voting who represent a majority of the volume of the paper and paper-based packaging produced or imported covered by the program.
Who oversees the Paper Checkoff?
The Paper and Packaging Board consists of 12 members elected by the industry and appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture. The Paper and Packaging Board establishes and guides promotions designed to help expand demand for paper and paper-based packaging products. The 12-member governing board is made up of manufacturers and importers of these products. More than 50 companies participate in the Paper Checkoff, an industry-funded promotion program established by the USDA in 2014. The Board has a small office staff of ten, based just outside of Washington, DC in McLean, VA.
Who can serve on the Board?
Eligible manufacturers and importers serve on the regionally representative board. Details can be found in the USDA Order.
Who pays for the program?
The program is financed by an assessment of $0.35 per short ton on U.S. manufacturers and importers of paper and paper-based packaging. (One short ton equals 2,000 pounds). Entities that domestically manufacture or import less than 100,000 short tons per marketing year are exempt from the payment of assessments. Manufacturers and importers producing or importing 100,000 saleable short tons or more of paper and paper-based products annually participate.
How are imports assessed?
Importers are responsible for paying the assessment directly to the Paper and Packaging Board within 30 calendar days after the end of the quarter in which the paper and packaging was imported.
What does success look like?
How does the USDA provide oversight?
The USDA provides financial, administrative and communications oversight for the checkoff program.
Where is the USDA Order and Information?
USDA Research & Promotion (R&P) programs, authorized by Congress, are requested, funded, and driven by industry. The programs establish a framework to pool resources to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets, and conduct important research and promotion activities. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) provides oversight, ensuring fiscal responsibility, program efficiency and fair treatment of participating stakeholders. AMS oversees more than 20 research and promotion boards that empower farmers, ranchers and agricultural businesses. Paper and Packaging Order
What is the Annual Budget?
The program is funded by a mandatory assessment of 35 cents per short ton paid by domestic manufacturers and importers of paper and paper-based packaging. Domestic manufacturers and importers of less than 100,000 short tons of paper and paper-based packaging per year are exempt from paying assessments. Assessment FAQ’s 2019 Operating Budget
How will this impact existing sector-specific programs and messaging?
The promotional program creates an umbrella of marketing messaging benefitting the paper and paper-based packaging industry. The research and promotion program is designed to help strengthen positive public perceptions of the industry’s products and increase their use. Positive results gained from the Checkoff messaging should improve the effectiveness of sector-specific marketing programs and messages. The Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds® campaign is a national promotional campaign funded by more than 50 manufacturers and importers of paper and paper-based packaging allowing companies to unite behind one message and do what no one company can accomplish individually.
Tell me about the promotional campaign.
According to the USDA website, the Checkoff program's purpose is to maintain and expand existing markets and develop new markets for paper and paper-based packaging. In order to do this, P+PB created the integrated, consumer-focused campaign, Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfold®. The campaign launched in July 2015 with advertising on TV, in magazines, on billboards in select markets and online across consumer and retail websites, digital programming. The campaign includes ongoing public relations messaging and social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube. By design the campaign is meant to reconnect the consumer with their love for paper and paper-based packaging. The tone is relentlessly positive to influence consumers’ purchasing decisions. Examples of Check-off messages used by other industries include the “Incredible Edible Egg”, “Got Milk?” and “Beef – It’s what’s for dinner”. These programs have successfully increased visibility for specific products while highlighting their positive attributes.
What is the duration of a Checkoff?
The Checkoff will conduct follow-up referendum by January 2021, no later than seven years after the assessments began.
What is the timeline for the campaign?
The Paper and Packaging Board was formed by the USDA Order in 2014 On July 8, 2015, the Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds® campaign launched nationwide. In January 2018, the campaign launched new and iconic creative concepts featuring characters that represent the industry. These characters are seen across advertising, public relations and the social media landscape representing the sense of accomplishment using paper brings and the sense of safety and protection consumers and businesses enjoy when shipping and packaging goods with sturdy corrugated and paperboard.
How long do checkoffs last?
The P+PB follows a long line of successful, now iconic checkoff programs. Cotton celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016. Beef, founded in 1986, has turned 30 years old. Dairy was founded in 1993. The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service more than 20 research and promotion boards that empower farmers, ranchers and agricultural businesses.