New Print Campaign Is Fatally Flawed — McIlroy

First, please turn your Web browsers to this address: http://www.gain.org/servlet/gateway/printIT/speech.html and read carefully the remarks from Ray Roper, PIA president and CEO, introducing the new campaign.

I can’t claim to be a close friend of Ray Roper’s, but we’ve met on more than one occasion, and I can state unequivocally that I have the greatest respect for his intelligence and commitment to the printing industry. During his tenure at PIA, he’s worked hard for all of us. What follows is not an attack on Roper or his colleagues. Rather, it’s a disagreement about strategy.

I have no quarrel with the stated aim of this promotional campaign, a “long-term national campaign to properly position print media in the minds of all Americans.” That’s a great idea—one that we’ve struggled with for a long time.

I do agree with Roper when he says that the campaign “can’t be done like the milk producers have done with the ‘got milk’ campaign; or the egg producers have done with the ‘incredible edible egg’ campaign.”

But my agreement falters as to why.

In his remarks, Roper pointed out: “Why can’t it be done this way? Because these campaigns are funded by marketing orders authorized by the federal government, which add a percent or two to the cost of these products, usually at the wholesale level.”

Sure, that’s why we can’t expect to embark on campaigns of the same scale and expense as the milk and egg marketing campaigns. But, far more importantly, the reason to avoid emulating these campaigns is that we can’t appeal to consumers in the same way. It’s preposterous to think that we can reach out to the public and create more consumer demand for printing as an abstract commodity.

Does anyone think that a popup banner on the New York Times Website with the slogan “Print: The Original Information Technology” is going to encourage people to put down their mice and head out to the newsstand?

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