How a Paper Company (Not Dunder Mifflin) Showed Us How Paper Can Be Beautiful

James Logie
Photo via YouTube

When was the last time you actually wrote something with a pen?

We spend so much time in a digital existence that it’s easy to forget about the classic art of stationery.

The only way we seem to think of stationery and pens now is to write a quick to-do list to hang on the fridge, or to leave someone a post-it note.

But let’s be honest: we’ll probably just text them or start a new note in the notes app.

It’s easy to forget how beautiful and artistic the original communication medium really is. Legendary stationery company Clairefontaine reminded us with an ad that came out in late 2019.

What Is Clairefontaine?

As mentioned, the company goes back to 1858 and started as a paper company. Just call them the Dunder Mifflin of France.

They then expanded into envelopes and grew from there. Along with their campaign, the company has used its YouTube channel to share tutorials on how to improve your writing, painting, and drawing.

They even have a series on how to perfectly wrap gifts.

Despite being an old company, they are extremely modern and progressive. They work with UNICEF France, are big into childhood education, and are passionate about ecology and the environment.

Their focus is on environmentally friendly products and they take a lot of social responsibility.

What Makes This Campaign Effective?

Clairefontaine reminds us of the importance of artistic expression and the simplicity that used to exist in communication.

Can you even remember the last time you received anything handwritten?

This campaign reminds us how at the dawn of email, a new message in our inbox filled us with joy — and a real mailbox filled with mail or postcards seemed like an intrusion.

Compare that to today where we don’t even want to check our inbox due to all the junk in it — but we would be over the moon to get an actual letter.

Clairefontaine reminds us of the beauty that still exists when you put pen to paper, and the creators of this ad triggered my memory.

It reminds you of the smell of the paper; the feeling of writing; and turning a blank page into something special.

There is power in storytelling and until just a few decades ago: all our stories came on paper.

The goal of this ad is to make people remember the simple beauty that comes from paper and ink instead of just staring at a blank screen with a blinking cursor.

Whether it’s a letter, a sketch, or art; we still need that creative outlet. This ad perfectly conveys that.

Key Takeaways

When you were a kid, I bet you spent a lot of time drawing, doodling, and writing in notebooks. Creating your own worlds was a thrill.

You could take a blank piece of paper and turn it into something unique. But how did we get away from that?

Will kids in the future still learn how to write by hand, or will it just be learning to text as fast as possible?

This ad rekindles all those memories of simple communication. Truly effective marketing is able to tap into our emotions and stir up feelings of nostalgia.

We get the word nostalgia from a combination of ancient Greek words: nostos and algos.

The origins of these words mean a “return home,” and a pain for the past. They can even be translated into “homesickness.”

The memories from our past are so powerful and we yearn to return back to them. An effective marketing campaign is able to tap into that.

The main takeaway here is how important it is to connect with people emotionally. It doesn’t matter how small something may be — there can still be emotion tied into it.

Even with something as simple as paper.

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Personal trainer, podcaster, Amazon best-selling author. Writing about some health, a little marketing, and a whole lot of 1980s.


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