Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Cat-skinning #101

Early in the days of, I was in a far-flung outpost of the
empire to sell our wares at some conference or other. Holding my
gold-plated pass (it should have been for the price) I recall entering
a plush hotel lobby to be confronted with surrounding ranks of booths
from those more blessed with funds so as to actually afford a stall.

It was at this point I realised that it is simply worth not attending -
at least for us - unless you have one of these; the chances of bumping
into a useful connection are almost zilch unless you spend the day in
the loos, which has some drawbacks - socially and legally - depending
on one's gender.

But at least I could talk with these static guys. Trouble was, few
wanted to interact in any meaningful way with me. The minute it came
out that we were operating on a commercial model, the shutters came
down. 'Oh no, we only deal with charities or not for profits' was the
mantra. This distinction is one I intend to return to, as many
delegates from these 'acceptable' areas were busy parking very big, new
cars and heading up to their £300 per night rooms. I was tubing in from
sleeping on a mate's floor. Who is costing the public less? Hint: we
also don’t cost the public anything to operate.

Maybe such 'structured' thinking was responsible for the next thing
that stuck me having done my rounds. Almost every one of these guys
happily shunted off on me a brochure/pack (despite everything I at
least seemed to count to the volume of such items handed out, which
doubtless ticked a box somewhere), usually stuffed to the gunnels with
bits of paper and various disposable trinkets.

And all were handed over with the excited pitch that… ‘it's made from
[add percentage here] cardboard, and/or is/may be [fully] recyclable’.
I was then pointed at the large recycling bins at the exit kindly
provided by the sponsors. Keep the A4 paper; ditch the folder.

I'm afraid I had a problem with this. The process of producing and
disposing of the message seemed to take precedence to the message
itself. And it is a matter for another blog the way in which various
re-logos can slapped on everything… and that, seemingly, is the end of

Which is why our Folda Holda was created. In any promotional effort, it
is inevitable that information needs to be shared, and in such a way
that it gets noticed, read, understood and retained… all in competition
with others. Hence we developed a solution that enabled us to provide
facts and figures that could be retained, but also found a second use
for the folder itself which, having done it's conveying/attracting job,
turns into a CD tower. And we only give it to those who really want
and/or deserve one. It’s too expensive otherwise, and I have no clue
how many we’ve shifted, but they are in good homes.

Yes, it is for sale. And I'd like to think that such innovative
thinking may prove better for the environment too. Even if it is