I recently received an email from a publicist with a small note below the signature: Save a tree, it said. Please don’t print this email unless absolutely necessary.
LOL, I thought to myself. Why would I print an email promoting a sustainable pee funnel? Why would I print any email? Her note seemed like a relic from the early 2000s, when we weren’t yet used to reading everything on screens and people still owned printers. Now, however, most of us write on paper so rarely that our hands start to cramp up when we’re signing checks.
While this may be good for trees, the rise of the internet has been terrible for the paper industry. Per capita use of paper in the U.S. has fallen 46 percent over the past 15 years. But now, Big Paper is trying to make a comeback.
Marketplace reports the Paper and Packaging Board, the paper industry’s trade group, will spend $170 million on a campaign to get you back on paper. And they’re reaching for your heartstrings:
“What we really want to do with this campaign is reinforce how our products connect people with what’s important in their life [sic] — whether it’s connections with people, whether it’s getting their personal goals accomplished,” says Executive Director Mary Anne Hansan.
That’s the premise of the campaign’s first commercial, called “Letters to Dad.” It features a young boy who writes to his father overseas via paper airplanes. He then sails them across his backyard fence. While he hopes they’re getting to dad, the next-door neighbor collects them.
Then, one day, the paper airplanes suddenly fly back into the boy’s yard. This time, though, they carry his father’s responses.
Awwwww. How sweet. It’s almost enough to make you start printing emails.