Domtar’s “Paper Hotspot” Steals The Show At SXSW

A good friend of mine likes to say, “Every time someone buys an e-reader, another editor loses her job.” I must admit that when I requested a Kindle for Christmas (sorry, Christine), this nagging thought made me feel more than a little guilty. But while I may not share my friend’s sentiments, Domtar, a purveyor of sustainable paper, sure does. The company’s PAPERbecause campaign illustrates its commitment to non-digital content.

With messages like, “Paper because print is an art form” or “Paper because a lot of places worth going to don’t get a signal, and hopefully never will,” coupled with explanations that include sited research and statistics, Domtar makes some convincing arguments. You really can’t hang your child’s art class magnum opus on the refrigerator if it comes to your inbox in pdf format (unless you print it out on paper, of course).

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While many of the messages hit home for me (“Sometimes understanding the big picture means spreading it all out on the floor,” in particular), would the go-paper initiative fall flat in a room full of techies? Domtar took to South By Southwest Conferences & Festivals (SXSW), a highly attended event that celebrates all things digital, to promote the power of paper. The Paper Hotspot was constructed in the midst of a trade show where video games, independent films and emerging technologies were the stars—and it stole the show. Complete with rugs, couches, a fireplace and an abundance of books, magazines and sketchpads, people happily abandoned their phones and tablets to settle in and read or scribble (many of them after first snapping a photo or two on said devices, but baby steps).

Here’s what Paige Goff, Domtar’s vice president of sustainable business and brand management had to say about the hotspot’s success:

We wanted to be at South by Southwest because that’s where you always see some of the most creative ideas from some of the sharpest minds, and it was interesting to see how people responded to the Paper Hotspot. No matter what people were working on, and no matter how fast they were working, this reinforced the studies that show whether you’re an executive or a millennial, people prefer to read on paper, and it’s faster to read on paper. We thought the Paper Hotspot would be a fun, new way to highlight a key message. Even after 2,000 years, paper has a place, even more so in a digital age—it remains a purposeful, personal and environmentally responsible communication medium.

Watch a video on people’s reactions to the Paper Hotspot.

Looking to get creative with paper? Start with Papercraft.

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