Ten years ago, Pinterest was brand-new, the iPad was still a few months away from release, and no one had Instagram, Amazon or Instacart apps on their phones. But the digital world was already changing our habits, particularly how we used paper to stay connected and did business in our everyday lives. That’s why we started our PAPERbecause campaign.
Our award-winning PAPERbecause campaign, which began in 2010, recognized the enduring value of the printed page. It delivered creative and entertaining reminders of the benefits of paper through print ads in popular magazines and newspapers, as well as videos and interactive displays at festivals around the country.
Kathy Wholley, Domtar senior director for corporate communications, led the effort to launch PAPERbecause in 2010. “As demand for paper started to decline, we noticed many myths about paper use,” she says. “We wanted to showcase how paper remains both essential and sustainable. We reminded people of the ways paper brings them joy — from hanging diplomas to receiving anniversary cards. And we spotlighted how students learn better by reading and writing on paper. We also highlighted how Domtar partnered with the world’s leading environmental groups, pioneering ways to make paper while helping forests thrive.”
PAPERbecause: An Industry Trailblazer
Our PAPERbecause campaign strategies and successes served as inspiration for the paper and packaging industry’s national consumer-focused campaign: Paper & Packaging — How Life Unfolds®.
“PAPERbecause really showed the industry what you could do with a heartfelt message and storytelling,” says Mary Anne Hansan, president of the Paper and Packaging Board, which is a federal checkoff program that promotes the benefits of paper and packaging in the United States. “The Domtar campaign brilliantly made an emotional connection between people and paper products. Consumers really saw the personally relevant benefits of these products in our everyday lives.”
The PAPERbecause campaign was a huge success. The New York Times published an article about it. Customers asked if they could leverage our marketing materials. Schools across North America used our program to encourage elementary students to become pen pals with senior citizens. Groups that advocated for kids to learn cursive asked to partner with us on handwriting programs. Environmental groups such as Rainforest Alliance recognized us as an industry leader for promoting Forest Stewardship Council® certification.
The creative campaign won over hearts and minds, not to mention a shelf full of awards. Short, funny videos showed a little of what life would be without paper — including one featuring a waiter who can’t remember an order without writing it down and another with a hilarious call to tech support. Print ads highlighted the importance of paper in history, learning and productivity.
The campaign also went on the road. We visited South by Southwest and built a paper hotspot in the midst of the world’s largest digital festival. We also brought a Paper Fun Truck to a California neighborhood to brighten a summer day.
The PAPERbecause campaign received top honors from groups ranging from readers of Newsweek to judges at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Clio Awards, the One Show and multiple industry award shows.
A decade later, the messages in this campaign still resonate. Paper still matters in the important moments in our lives and plays a part in everyday tasks and extraordinary events.
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