Paper Industry Wishes You'd Ignore Environmentalists, Print More

from the dot-matrix-forever dept

Obviously the rise of digital media means information is much more quickly and easily accessible than it used to be when we all shuffled piles of paper about — and that’s a good thing — unless you work for a paper company. Domtar Corporation is annoyed at the fact that people aren’t printing as much as they used to, and company executive John Williams seems to have found himself a bogeyman to direct his troubled business model angst at: namely those messages at the bottom of e-mails urging people to think about the environment before they print. In order to counter what Williams feels is "bull," Domtar is launching an advertising campaign aimed at younger kids that tries to convince them they don’t need to feel guilty about printing out that e-mail:

"The campaign will use print ads but also have a strong social media dimension — on Facebook and YouTube — in order to reach younger people, who tend to be printer averse, Mr. Williams said. I think it’s very powerful and I think it’s time and I don’t apologize for the fact I think it’s true and that this will resonate with young people."

Of course most people ignore those e-mail signatures (which often just exist to give a company the illusion of being "green") and print — or don’t print — based on convenience. While the paper industry is obviously going to feel some pain from a declining newspaper industry and the rise of an ocean of portable data devices (and in turn the slow rise of that ever elusive paperless society), a clever ad campaign targeting the young and "printer reverse" isn’t going to be able to change reality. What will probably wind up "resonating with young people" is the impression that Domtar and Williams are being ridiculous. Hey, maybe the problem with the fax machine industry is all just branding!

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Comments on “Paper Industry Wishes You'd Ignore Environmentalists, Print More”

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52 Comments
Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

That doesn’t work all the time. The printer manufacturers are putting chips in to limit how many pages can be printed with that cartridge, hence the comment Rose M. Welch said. There’s still more ink in the cartridge but the chip says it can’t print any more pages. So, not only do you have to refill the cartridge, but you have to reset the chip. Didn’t someone get sued over that?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Color laser jets tend to be behemoths compared to their ink jet cousins. black and white ones are nifty and small though but if you want a MFC printer they explode in size pretty rapidly… and people want their purty colors and home copy machines.

But I got an old behemoth B/W laser jet and love it for those times I need hard copies and the toner lasts forever… so I know where you are coming from.

vastrightwing (profile) says:

Paper piracy

Yes, we now have paper piracy, the same way we have music piracy: people are not buying enough paper. This could signal the end of Dunder Mifflin ๐Ÿ™‚ We need to tax emails to help subsidize the fact that people are bypassing the need to consume paper. By not printing, you are stealing money from the paper companies. The paper industry needs to force Microsoft and Apple to automatically print emails when they come in, instant messages as well. Consider that Word is simulating paper by creating a “window”. This is really virtual paper and it is theft! Essentially Microsoft is stealing paper by creating a facsimile of it on your screen. This won’t end well.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Paper piracy

We need to go further. There should be a “Print Flag” which does not allow you to display a particular email on the screen. If only the government forced people to have DRM on all emails, then the paper companies could give greater freedom to its customers by allowing visual access to the email once it’s been printed.

Oh, and print to PDF will become illegal. Don’t PDF that email!

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Appropriate quotes from people in the paper industry...

Michael Scott: You need someone in the middle to facilitate-Jake: You’re just a middleman.
Michael Scott: I’m not just a middleman.
Melissa: Wait, why doesn’t the manufacturer just sell the paper directly to people?
Michael Scott: You are describing Office Depot. And they are kind of running us out of business.
Dwight Schrute: [from his desk] We have better service than they do!

Anonymous Coward says:

karl i think you need to talk to the masnick. the use of paper isnt going down, in fact the masnick is a huge supporter of those free daily newspapers (the ones most people dont throw in the recycle bins) and shows them as a great market of the future with increasing distribution. you really need to learn the techdirt line before posting here, its not like running your own site.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

no mike, you do. please make your mind up. can you save the newspaper industry, is massively increased distribution of newspapers bu the free dailies good, or is the paper industry going out of business? between the masnick and cousin karl, they cover all the bases like good gurus do so they can always claim to be right on something.

Anonymous Coward says:

From The Thank You Captain Obvious Dept.

Not that I am for the continued depletion of forests for the sake of print media, but… this article is about as surprising and informative as one stating:
Oil Industry Wishes You’d Ignore Environmentalists and Not Drive Hybrids.
or
Microsoft Wishes You’d Ignore Apple, Buy More Zunes.
or
Insert your preferred Vs. scenario..

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: From The Thank You Captain Obvious Dept.

congrats on reading the article. Cause you totally didn’t need to read the part on how they are kicking up an ad campaign and he’s blogging about the start of an ad campaign with the amusing idea that they will reach out to young people to making printing paper cool and not to feel guilty about it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: From The Thank You Captain Obvious Dept.

Congratulations on missing my point. Which was outlining the freshness and relevance the title of the article failed to capture. “Paper Industry Wishes You’d Ignore Environmentalists, Print More” is not new nor news, at least to me. Again it’s akin to announcing “Big oil wants to encourage you to use more gasoline”…amazing headline indeed. Had it been: “New Paper Industry Ad Campaign encourages young people to use more paper”, or any similar variation, might have been a better approach.

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

It's easy to get people to use more

All you have to do if you want people to use more paper and ink is to append long disclaimers, Google ads, Virus-free certifications, and essays to your e-mails explaining why the email shouldn’t be printed.

Then, when people just want to quickly print out a five line street address (in an e-mail) they take two sheets of paper and umpteen millilitres of very expensive ink.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

I agree with this man in every way ....

we should believe him its not like they cut down trees, use bleach, use a ton of steam generated by coal.

I also believe the people who tell me ….

Clean coal is really a workable solution.

Heating oil is really cleaner than gas.

Off shore oil drilling will make us energy independant.

Margarine and transfats are good for you.

There is no proof smoking is bad for you.

Smoking refer makes you mad as a hatter.

High Fructose Corn Syrup doesnt cause any health problems.

Super sizing a McDonalds meal doesnt make you fat.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: I agree with this man in every way ....

“Clean coal is really a workable solution.”

Well, it is actually a PERFECT solution, but only if the problem you’re working on is: HOW CAN I CREATE A COMPLETELY NONSENSICAL BUZZWORD CAMPAIGN AROUND MY DESTRUCTIVE INDUSTRY?

“Heating oil is really cleaner than gas.”

It is, but only if they scrub it really extra hard with soap….

“Off shore oil drilling will make us energy independant.”

Well, technically if enough explosions and leaks make the Earth unlivable, we won’t need energy, will we?

“Margarine and transfats are good for you.”

They are, compared to…you know…cyanide….

“There is no proof smoking is bad for you.”

Oh please, I bet you can’t find one person who died of smoking that will tell you cigarettes killed them….

“Smoking refer makes you mad as a hatter.”

Not only that, but based on the commercials I’ve seen, it will also: cause you to run over little girls on their bikes, shoot heroin, snort cocaine, rape women, completely ignore your friends/family, fund/aid terrorism, turn you into a drooling retard, die, die again, become an undead zombie that continues running over kids on their bikes, kick puppies, beat nuns, and perform fellatio on Betty White….

“High Fructose Corn Syrup doesnt cause any health problems.”

In moderation, it doesn’t. And by moderation, of course, I mean roughly one teaspoon as often as Haley’s Comet rolls around….

“Super sizing a McDonalds meal doesnt make you fat.”

Well, technically it doesn’t. Supersizing doesn’t make you fat. Eating the supersized meal does….

JESUS, how wrong can you be!??

๐Ÿ˜‰

aguywhoneedstenbucks (profile) says:

Re: Re: I agree with this man in every way ....

“Smoking refer makes you mad as a hatter.”

Not only that, but based on the commercials I’ve seen, it will also: cause you to run over little girls on their bikes, shoot heroin, snort cocaine, rape women, completely ignore your friends/family, fund/aid terrorism, turn you into a drooling retard, die, die again, become an undead zombie that continues running over kids on their bikes, kick puppies, beat nuns, and perform fellatio on Betty White….

Don’t forget about stealing music, eating babies, being forced into a life of raporism, and supporting terrorists.

ElijahBlue (profile) says:

Re: Re: I agree with this man in every way ....

Not only that, but based on the commercials I’ve seen, it will also: cause you to… perform fellatio on Betty White….

You are one sick f–k. What kind of perv wants to munch on ancient dried-out tree bark? If this is one of the side effects of smoking the reefer, you can count me out of the game, mister. Next, you’re going to tell us smoking crystal meth gives a man the courage to go down on Bea Arthur.

Liz says:

I’m surprised you guys forgot about the secondary paper market! The only reason people buy reams of paper is they know that the pages can be taken to a place and resold when you’re done with them.

If the paper mills have their way, anyone that buys recycled paper will have to pay an extra $10 on top of the resale price. Without the “Second-hand tax,” you won’t get the special features.

Anonymous Coward says:

I heard cannabis was banned simply because it was possible to make paper from it and the paper industry didn’t like that. I used to think such a claim was ridiculous but if someone can show me that you truly can make paper out of it then I would probably believe it, given how much more cynical I’ve become over the years after reading blogs and other sources of information. It’s become clear that our government and mainstream media is corrupt far beyond what anyone could have imagined just a decade ago and has been this way for a very long time, much longer than we had anticipated.

It makes sense, you need licenses on who can chop down trees in various areas and the monopolized paper industry would be the ones with the licenses keeping out new comers. but with marijuana, who needs a license to start making paper? No business, and so newcomers can easily enter the market and compete. and it would be difficult to justify a license to chop down marijuana plants, so why not simply ban it for other reasons?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

(to continue)

I guess the main thing that makes me skeptical of this idea is that if it really is economically feasible to make paper out of marijuana I would expect that some country would be doing it, and I don’t know of any (maybe someone can point me in the right direction?) and the government bans other drugs that I highly doubt anyone can make paper from.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“I heard cannabis was banned simply because it was possible to make paper from it”

That’s one of the reasons, but not “simply the” reason. The main reason that was sold to citizens was racism — cannabis was primarily smoked by Latinos (then, later, by blacks). Decent, god-fearing white folk used Heroin and coke. The idea was that pot-smoking turned Mexicans into monstrous rape-machines who will get your wives and daughters.

Designerfx (profile) says:

paper industry troubles?

there are no paper industry troubles. That’s a crock of crap.
Cardboard is made by the same companies, is carbon neutral, and is in an infinite state of demand, for example. So is the paper we use for boxing, or packaging such as for phones/food/devices/etc.

It’s a load of BS for companies to act like being green in this case is a bad idea, when it doesn’t even affect their real business.

houstonspace (profile) says:

This is like Polaroid’s lame attempt at actual photographs. Last gasp if you ask me. Any time someone gives me a presentation in paper format I ask them to email it to me. I scan in a pile of paper every month with my company’s giant Ricoh copier/scanner and recycle the paper. If a tablet comes out that’s on par with the iPad that can also use a stylus to take notes, then it’s really going to be game over. All those students out there with iPads may eventually be able to get all their textbooks in electronic format, but when the instructor starts drawing pictures and arrows and circles on the marker-board, they still need to whip out their paper notebooks.

hmm says:

simple steps to rejuvenating the paper industry and killing off all those “paper pirates”

step 1: superglue webcams over the eyes of every single citizen.

step2: have some sort of marker on every sheet of paper that the cams can indentify

step3: ensure all paper can only be seen by ONE PERSON at once by simply shutting off the vision of anyone else within 10feet.

step4: profit because then no-one can “paper share” which by my [made up guessing] estimates costs the industry $5000 billion a year in sales, because everyone that glances at YOUR bit of paper is a lost sale!

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