Pulp Magic

SEPTEMBER 23, 2015

Authentic Paper: A Material for Today and the Future

It seems like every week there is a prognostication from skeptics that the Paper & Packaging — How Life Unfolds campaign won’t drive new demand for paper or slow the rate of decline in paper consumption. They say the campaign is misguided because paper is a product of the past that is increasingly irrelevant.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

We know some of the realignment in demand for paper is here to stay. That’s why our mission is a little different than other checkoff programs you may have heard of, like “Got Milk” or “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner.” On the paper side, our mission is not necessarily to increase demand for paper, but rather to reinforce paper’s relevance in an increasingly digital world and to remind people of paper’s practical and personal benefits. This may not stimulate new demand, but it should help paper products remain competitive, and more importantly, it will give consumers a real choice.

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 5.38.04 PMThe choice to use paper-based products is not an either/or decision because consumers want both paper and digital technology in their lives. Our extensive research shows that among people aged 18-49, 38 million remain engaged with paper and paper-based packaging because our products play an important role in supporting their values and aspirations. Paper is a way to maintain a tangible identity in the face of an increasingly anonymous and abstract world.

And therein is the continued need.

Paper is from the earth and organic. Paper has character you can touch, smell and feel.  Paper is both historical and sentimental. Paper is authentic, allowing us to maintain our humanity in the face of increasingly dehumanized interactions. Paper and paper-based packaging are the unsung heroes of everyday life that propel our best stories forward.

It’s shortsighted to think digital will only make paper and packaging less relevant when the reality is that we are seeing digital make paper newly relevant in many ways.  Although we’re only two months into the campaign, we are seeing some signs that the “Paper & Packaging — How Life Unfolds™” campaign is working. We have every expectation that these initial positive results will continue as the campaign plays out over time.