FAQs

 

Consumer Campaign Information:

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 goal of the campaign is to help slow the decline in the use of paper and increase demand for paper-based packaging. The campaign was created by the Paper and Packaging Board which runs the USDA-sanctioned promotional program established in 2014 and authorized through January 2021.

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Who is the campaign target audience?

The focus of the campaign is a target group we call “Expressives.” They represent 38 MM 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.   This cross-section of the population is concerned with balancing family, work, and “me” time. They are influential, educated, and have a penchant for trying to do the right thing. The pendulum swing toward maintaining connections in a digital world influences Expressives’ behavior. They consider themselves to be up on the latest trends and are highly motivated to use paper and paper-based packaging because of the emotional benefits it brings them including a sense of achievement and accomplishment as well as a feeling of being unique and individual. They possess a strong pro-social streak and a desire for genuine social and familial connections and focus on authentic interaction. While their desire for connectedness can also be expressed in terms of links to or valuing the past, whether family photos, books their parents read to them and other keepsakes, they might refer to themselves as old school but not old fashioned. Expressives demonstrate 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. The campaign will nurture this audience’s high engagement with paper and packaging and reinforce the value they already see in these products.

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Why a consumer-focused campaign?

The Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds™ campaign unites almost 60 companies behind one message to and do what no one company can accomplish individually, generating awareness for paper and paper-based packaging in order 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, 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

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Where can I see the campaign?

The Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds ™ promotional campaign launched across the nation in July 2015 with TV ads, in magazines, on outdoor boards, on websites, in social media and through the press as well as with a 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.

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How will the industry measure its impact?

A preliminary assessment shows that a $25 million per year campaign would only need to lift sales of the four covered categories (printing and writing papers, Kraft, containerboard, paperboard) by approximately one-quarter of one percent relative to baseline to generate a return of investment of 20 percent.

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Checkoff Information:

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.

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Tell me about the Paper Checkoff.

Checkoff programs have successfully provided return on investment for a wide array of industries. For each dollar invested in the program, the pork industry estimates a rate of return for every dollar invested of $4.79, while the beef industry reports $11.20, the soybean industry $6.75, and the watermelon industry slightly more than $10. The Paper and Packaging Board’s campaign, Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds™, launched in the market in 2015, communicating the personally relevant benefits of our industry’s products. The campaign generates appreciation for paper and packaging’s value and relevance in connecting us to each other and helping make our daily routines both possible and meaningful. In the case of the paper industry, this consumer-focused campaign to change consumer behavior and educate purchasing decision makers, like other checkoff programs, provides a promotional umbrella of marketing messages designed to help improve overall industry perceptions. As with other checkoff programs, this promotional effort aims to contribute to an increase in the sale of paper-based packaging and a slow in the decline in demand for printing and writing paper.

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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.

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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 Check-off 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.

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Board Administration:

Who oversees the Paper Checkoff?

The Paper and Packaging Board was formed by the USDA Paper and Paper-Based Packaging Promotion, Research and Information Order (Order) to stem the decline of the use of paper and increase the demand for paper-based packaging. The Order provides for this promotional program, voted on and funded by the industry itself, to create a consumer campaign along the same lines as other checkoff programs. The Paper and Packaging Board elected board of 12 members establishes and guides promotions designed to expand demand for paper and paper-based packaging products. The 12-member governing board is made up of manufacturers and importers of these products. Almost 60 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 eight, based just outside of Washington, DC in McLean, VA.

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Who can serve on the Board?

Eligible manufacturers and importers serve on the regionally representative board. Details can be found in the USDA Order.

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Who pays for the program?

The program is financed by an assessment on U.S. manufacturers and importers of paper and paper-based packaging and administered by a board of industry members appointed by the Secretary. The assessment rate will initially be $0.35 per short ton. (One short ton equals 2,000 pounds). Entities that domestically manufacture or import less than 100,000 short tons per marketing year will be 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.

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What does success look like?

The intent of the Check-off is to improve public perceptions of our products while increasing the sales of paper-based packaging and slowing the decline in demand for printing and writing grades. A preliminary assessment shows that a $25 million per year Check-off maintained for seven years would only need to lift sales of the four covered categories (printing and writing papers, Kraft, containerboard, paperboard) by approximately one-quarter of one percent relative to baseline to generate a return of investment of 20 percent. In addition to tracking market share, measurement of the program will include periodic attitude and awareness research to monitor the impact of the campaign on attitudes about paper and paper-based packaging.

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How are imports assessed?

Imported products are assessed by the U.S. Customs Service upon arrival in the United States.

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USDA’s Role:

How does the USDA provide oversight?

The Paper Checkoff program was established by the USDA Paper and Paper-Based Packaging Promotion, Research and Information Order in 2014. The checkoff program is run by a 12-member Board, elected from the manufacturers and importers paying into the program, and approved by the Secretary of Agriculture. The USDA provides program oversight. By law, the Board must reflect the geographic distribution of the quantity of domestic production and the quantity of imports. Accordingly, the Board will include 11 domestic producers, one of which must be less than 250,000 tons (seven from the South; one from the Northeast; two from the Midwest; one from the West) and one importer representative. The distribution of these seats will be reviewed at least once in every five-year period. A member may serve no more than two full consecutive three year terms. The Paper and Packaging Board oversees the program. The board is composed of an eight-person operational staff and is governed by the elected board of directors composed of 12 industry representatives from each of four industry sectors, as well as four regions of the country. The board includes an importer and a small company manufacturing between 100,000 and 250,000 short tons of paper annually.

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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

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Funding and Assessments:

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.  The Board’s budget each year depends on short ton sales, but is planned to generate around $25M annually for the duration of the program through 2021, when the industry will hold a referendum on whether to continue the program.
Assessment FAQ’s
2016 Operating Budget

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How are imports assessed?

Imported products are assessed by the U.S. Customs Service upon arrival in the United States.

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Promotional Program:

How will this impact existing sector-specific programs and messaging?

The promotional program is a new and distinct campaign created to benefit the paper and paper-based packaging industry. The program is based on foundational messages intended to improve public perceptions of the industry’s products while increasing the sales of paper-based packaging and slowing the decline of printing and writing grades. 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 almost 60 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.

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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 Unfolds™. 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.

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Timing:

What is the duration of a Checkoff?

The Check-off will conduct follow-up referendum by January, 2021, no later than seven years after the assessments began. In addition, by law an evaluation of the effectiveness of the program must be undertaken every five years.

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What is the timeline for the campaign?

The Paper and Packaging Board was formed by the USDA Order in 2014. P+PB spent the first year hiring staff, electing a board, and conducting foundational research in order to launch the promotional campaign. On July 8, 2015, the Paper & Packaging – How Life Unfolds ™ campaign launched nationwide. The first 18 months of the campaign are considered the launch phase establishing the campaign’s voice and message in the market.

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How long do checkoffs last?

The P+PB follows a long line of successful, now iconic checkoff programs. Cotton celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2016. Beef, founded in 1986, is nearly 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.

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