Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Nobel Economics, The Print Council Brochure?, Other Stuff

The Nobel Prize in Economics for 2006 went to Edmund Phelps. The WSJ just ran one of his essays explaining the difference between US and European capitalism. It's long, but worth sticking with it.

The Print Council has issued a press release about a new brochure titled... well, let's have the release speak for itself:
...“Why Print? The Top Ten Ways Print Helps You Prosper,” the full-color brochure marks the launch of an ongoing series of strategic activities by The Print Council designed to make a major impact on media decision makers, significantly elevating their awareness of, and appreciation for, the value of print...The first copies of “Why Print?” will be released on October 14th during Graph Expo 2006 as a highlight of the annual meeting of The Print Council membership.
Well, more is there to say, other than:
1) the release is not up on their site (as of 10:40am 10/11/06, and as of 4:20pm, too... see if it's there... ... if the JapsOlsen release is at the top, then it's not)
2) there is no downloadable PDF of the brochure on their site (as of the same time; I heard that someone asked and said they had to get it from the printer after the job was run.... that's kind of backwards, isn't it?)
At a time when every manufacturer has been creating buzz by "previewing" their announcements to the press, this is being withheld until the show, so there is no pre-show "buzz." Was this done in a rush? Seems like it. The press release could have even listed the 10 items... after all, the press release is a promotion of those 10 items. You never know when people will find it with a search engine... oh, and by the way... a Google News search for the press release came up... empty.... except for a GAM article... the other links were to a printmaking council. A search of the words "print council" still comes up with a totally different association

In a separate program, The Print Council is moving forward with the creation of a marketing information clearinghouse to provide verifiable research on the value of print. By the close of 2006, the web-based information is expected to be on-line and accessible by the industry and Council supporters.

While this is a tiny step, it does not talk to any decision-makers about print, and is not aggressive at all. This is incredibly passive and decidedly un-proactive.
As far as the premise, “Why Print? The Top Ten Ways Print Helps You Prosper,” the focus seems inappropriate. Print can't make you prosper. It is clearly possible to prosper without print. But you can't prosper without communications. The issue has to be making communications better, especially making electronic communications better. Again, I recommend the book What Sticks to get a sense of the latest thinking about advertising media; while it may not be directly applicable, the spirit of it certainly is.
Print won't be considered modern media until we aggressively and relentlessly use modern media to promote it. Using a brochure to encourage people to use brochures is not what we need. If the press release quoted a real print user who used direct mail to drive their e-commerce volume to new and better levels, or Hasbro saying that their first catalog ever after 150 years went better than expected (I have no idea if it did-- it may have been a disaster for all I know--- just using it as an example, but it would be interesting to follow up). I have not seen the brochure, indeed I don't know anyone who has, but since these kinds of things were not mentioned, I assume they are not part of it.
To get the real sense of the way things have changed, just read this short article to get a sense of what we're up against:
OnDemandJournal had a good article as well about it:
And then, ad:tech is in New York in November.... the exhibitor list is at
When it comes to understanding modern media, the Print Council, and printers, are clearly "404 Not Found"

What should be done by the industry and, more importantly, printers? This was the subject of two WhatTheyThink columns. These were originally on the premium side of WTT , but the WTT folks agreed to move them to the "free" side.

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