Wednesday, May 16, 2007
A loooong day.
Up very early to try and cover off some work before leaving for the NEC Total Packaging Show again, followed by a very pleasant drive up (1 hr, door to door).
It was well worth it. The booths, sadly, are not the best places to trawl. For a start, as I am finding out from seasoned attendees, the big guys are not there any more, and of those who are you will not meet a decision maker.
So I lurked around the seminars mostly. Now, most of these were as is suspected, and pretty much a guy or gal reading from the PowerPoint slide I was looking at; but there were good opportunities at Q&A afterwards. And my trusty Junkk.com lappy-sling served me well as a substitute billboard, while the Vac:Sac is doing duty elsewhere, in getting the name across to those in the audience who may be moved to come up and chat afterwards, which many did.
My lack of in-depth industry knowledge worked to my advantage, as I was able to pose some pretty dumb questions which nonetheless left a few 'gurus' floundering.
This was mainly because I am acquiring a certain sympathy for the packaging industry. Now, while they may be no more angels than any other profit-oriented business grouping, they know their stuff, what works, what doesn't... and when they are getting a raw deal. Thing is, they are often constrained by relationships from being as vocal as they could be for what is essentially two goat functions: sacrificial and scape.
Government, quangos, activists and, most shamefully, the media have rather dumped the high profile woes of our consumer society upon them, and them alone. And, frankly, a lot of it stinks by being unfair, untrue and often not very 'eco'-logical at all in any case. For a start, I was amazed to learn that, considering this to be one of the highest profile packaging events of the year, no major media - who had been invited - had chosen to attend. Now, it may not be the most exciting niche in the news world, but it has been enough for a few high-profile 'campaigns' to be run in such as the Indy and Daily Mail. I rather think they owe their readers the opportunity to learn just why certain seemingly poor examples of 'excessive' packaging are used... and who specifies them. This latter is important, as the industry is usually only doing what it is asked, or rather demanded of it.
My head is buzzing with facts I simply did not know, and whilst I have no reason to doubt them, really do need to check up a bit before trotting them out. But, as I say, these guys do know their stuff, and it became quickly obvious to me that those who are quick to criticise (a few of whom were game enough at least to attend, to their credit) were doing so from a pretty woeful one-sided or agenda-driven viewpoint. Or were simply very badly briefed. My main concern was that, even at this stage, we seemed to be again only at the start of 'we must start discussing this more' talk. Er... now?
I do have a lot to digest, not just for Junkk.com but also RE:tie, as I also found many people there to be more than helpful in offering advice and leads, for which I must be more than grateful.
Anyway, as I think it is worth going back again, I must hit the sack.
At least one last thing will be worth a pleasant thought or two as I doze off. As I was leaving I had an excited call from Peter, the lovely photographer who had 'shot' me for the rather bruising interview for the Daily Express piece. Well, it had appeared today. And I must say it was a pretty big... and nice... spread (though they did add six years to my age - maybe I look it lately).
I hope it will serve to complement my activities at the show, and soon we will see both RE:tie and Junkk.com move into newer, better... and, with luck, more profitable areas. So now I must go off and work hard at having more luck:)
Just dashing out the door for my second day at the show.
Already a bit exhausted as I'm trying to squeeze a Junkk.com day in at the beginning before I leave and at the end when I get back.
So far, so good. Which is why I'm going back.
There has been a good reception for RE:tie so far. No chequebooks being whipped out, but better than nothing. Unilever seemed more than interested.
The show itself is vast, and gives one a whole new perspective on the industry behind packaging. And just what goes into that bottle, cap and even label.
I have met some nice guys and gals from many aspects of the industry, and have been pleasantly surprised how happy to engage they are... even the media! I guess Junkk.com and RE:tie are not exactly bad for their businesses, so perhaps it's no surprise.
Today I intend to hit some seminars, but am not too hopeful. They tend to be dead boring anyway, so I am trying to score the PDFs of the slides and scoot through here at leisure. Plus the only real value is pouncing on the speaker. This may be more possible as they are quite small (the seminars, not the speakers), and open sided. And it looks like they are happy to hang about and chat.
So... gotta dash!