10 days after the announcement of National No Print Day, Toshiba pulled the plug and victory celebrations broke out through The Printerverse.

Victory is a strong word. It implies a winner and a loser, but there is some grey area here too.

Ok, in the movie version yes Toshiba is the villain and Print & Paper the heroes. But seriously, it takes CAJONES and a great deal of humility to pull a campaign.  Regardless of how I felt about it, I live in the advertising world and that isn’t often done – especially when it’s out there already. So I do have respect for that move, and it’s also why I wont be kicking the dog now it’s down.  I will only say that I hope Toshiba gets their “eco-ness” together, and runs their next campaign by me first 😉

There is also some grey that their intended office waste campaign is now on hold. Im sorry, but walk into a company and go into the copier room. Someone might find Hoffa under one of those stacks. Just because you can hit print, doesn’t mean you always need to.

Mr. Tree points out in his post 9 Lessons From Toshiba’s No-Print Day Debacle – what he learned, which got me thinking about what I took away from the experience.

Social Media Matters. A small but dedicated group took to Toshiba’s No-Print Day social spaces. Armed with the FACTS, we set up camp. Utilizing the information supply chain, we had a constant feed of ammunition and the ability to recruit additional support directly from the front lines.

I have been accused of forming this militia, but I will just agree that I had unfiltered access to signal for help in my ginormous LinkedIn Group and with the reach of PrintMediaCentr into the Socialsphere. However, I don’t have any doubt that a massive army was starting to form exponentially, and luckily we were able to stand down before it came to that.

Marketing Matters. Part of the reason I personally jumped right to the social media front lines was the phrase “National No-Print Day.” National in reference to a marketing campaign, about a National day, only means one thing to someone who comes from Advertising – NATIONAL. National, like “Just Say No,” or “Got Milk?,” or “The Incredible Edible Egg” type of National. It was imperative to get some sort of dissent out there before the National Campaign hit and then really, what could I do. You cant compete with “Just Say No” on Twitter.

I even thought to myself how ironic – a National print campaign AGAINST printing. But it didn’t happen. I don’t have access to the marketing minds over at Toshiba, but usually you have planned these things so when you launch the digital part the ads/printed materials are already sent and will come out around the same time. No ads (that I saw), no TV, no Radio… ummm no NATIONAL. Was the National campaign pre-empted by us? Were they doing a soft launch?  It’s possible, but doubtful in my experience launching a National campaign.

I also don’t know how many No-Print Day pledges Toshiba actually received, but their Facebook “likes” were at 316 and not stacking up very fast when I created the No Thanks Toshiba Facebook Page. I knew we could overtake the space once we fully mobilized the militia. 300 “likes” is nothing as far as a National movement goes and remember, Im still digging foxholes at this point and waiting for the National campaign to come!

And again, it didn’t.

The Lesson: Lady GaGa can start a National movement by flicking her pinky. The rest of us are going to have to actually do a campaign.  An Announcement? A video? A Facebook Page? This was the marketing effort behind a NATIONAL No-Print Day?

It’s pretty hysterical actually. Now that it is said and done, Im almost as upset about the marketing strategy fail as the message.  On the other hand, Im so HAPPY it was a marketing fail since Toshiba has money and if executed properly, momentum would have been on their side. One last thing on the marketing, for everyone really… you cannot refer to a video as “viral” until it has gone viral. Until then, it’s just a video.

Our Marketing Matters Too. We are deep into the world of Print & Paper and surrounded by the facts and figures of why Print Grows Trees and Two Sides and such. But is this information really getting past us and our customers and clients? It’s like QR codes… I have to assume you assume as I assume that everyone assumes that everyone knows what they are because how can they not – they are everywhere. But we are wrong.

So are there people who still think we kill trees, don’t care, and are set upon destroying the earth for a buck? Well, I guess more like .50 these days. Are our industry National Campaigns National enough?  Perhaps it’s something to think about in a broader view now.

Absence Doesn’t Mean Silence. Many times during the week battle cries of “Where is the Paper Industry” rumbled from the social media militia and out into the Socialsphere. I do admit especially in the first few days I found it odd they weren’t particularly up in arms since to mostly everyone “No Print Day” was really “Don’t Use Paper Day” with a good edit. So I reached out for some intel and basically came back with this:

If everyday in everyway, everything you do is already scrutinized and attacked and misjudged by the entire world, Toshiba’s campaign is just Tuesday to the Paper People.

Now I will add this.

Whether or not they were Tweeting and posting and blogging and what-evering, without the Paper Industry funding the studies and forestation programs and educating us and getting the info out there for the PRINT world to use in “defense” of our own livelihoods, Toshiba would have had a much better chance of starting a movement with a video.

I’m not discounting all of the money and effort the Print industry kicks in, in any manner by the way, Im just answering the “Where was Paper” question. Paper was in every tweet with a fact and every post with a study cited. Had Toshiba gained momentum I also believe they would have come out in droves to the front lines. Paper always has Prints’ back.

On the flip side – while the Print Orgs were blogging loudly, they also weren’t in the foxholes. But our noise and occupation of Toshiba’s space gave Printing Industries of America more power when they spoke directly with Toshiba, because Toshiba was watching us! I doubt Toshiba would have taken my call.  And if this campaign had gained momentum, I also believe the Orgs would have utilized all their channels and called-upon all their members to take some sort of action. So I feel as if they were doing what they were supposed to be doing, until they needed to do something else.

Last Call. It’s been a long 10 days. Occupation Green Street was a success in the fact that FACTS won out over FICTION, and for at least 10 days all of us were on the same side.




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