Today’s Consumer and the Craving for Real

If you haven’t seen this one, be warned; it’s a tearjerker.

The video was created by the Paper & Packing Board and makes a powerful point about the impact of print on our emotions.

“In the ad, titled ‘Letters to Dad,’ shows a child of a military serviceman writing letters in crayon, then turning them into paper airplanes and ‘air mailing’ them over the fence into the neighbor’s yard,” explains Heidi Tolliver Walker in the Xerox blog. “On the other side of the fence, the neighbor collects the letters in a cardboard box and mails them to the father. When the father sends his letters back (also in a cardboard box), the neighbor takes the letters, turns them into airplanes, and tosses them back over the fence to the delighted son.”

As Tolliver Walker explains, the ad is designed to demonstrate how ink (or in this case, crayon) on paper impacts us on a deep emotional level. We’ve seen this proven in studies, and we know it innately from the way we tack up our kid’s artwork on the fridge.

For Tolliver Walker, the prevalence of advertising for printed consumer products is proof that we are all craving interactions with real, physical things.

“Consider the number of ads we are seeing for services such as Touchnote, which allows consumers to order postcards directly from their phones,” Tolliver Walker notes. “There are many of these apps, including Ink Cards, Postagram, and Snapshot Postcard, but Touchnote has made a big advertising push lately.”

From personalized books to 3D printing, companies are catering to this affinity for print of all kinds.

“Along similar lines, we recently saw a ‘maker’ type application on Shark Tank, in which the company, Digiwrap, allows customers to design their own gift wrap,” she continues. “Products will never be gift wrapped digitally, of course, but it’s still the same concept. Take your creative idea and make it tangible.”

When it comes to experiencing the world, the pull of the tangible is irresistible, especially as we spend so much of our time immersed in digital. As consumers increasingly move toward these tangible products, the printing industry is more than happy to oblige.