Whatever your opinion may be about Google Adsense, you have to give the Internet giant credit for its marketing tactics–which I find benign and not invasive. For the most part, Adsense works well. Okay, true, the system does not always work. Visit postings about Armenian culture and people on my own site, and chances are you will see an ad about an Armenian dating site, which does not exactly flow with the tone of what I want to discuss. But their approach is generally hands-off, and they rarely send paper announcements through the mail. Their latest outreach, however, got some folks’ attention.
Google recently sent cards to Adsense consumers and prospects that not only were made of recycled paper (yes, yawn), but they were also embedded with wildflower seeds. The idea is that instead of tossing the card into the recycling bin or trash, consumers will wet the card and bury it in their yard instead.
What kind of difference this trend could make remains to be seen. Consumer habits die hard, and most of us would probably just toss the card into a bin and forget about it. But the use of this paper should be encouraged, and from an aesthetic point of view, the paper looks great. Anyone who has bought handmade paper from Korea (hanji) or Japan (washi) would appreciate the look and feel of this product. Plus the results are quite pleasing if recipients follow through and actually plant or compost the paper!
One company that has found success with the manufacture of this kind of paper is Botanical PaperWorks, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The company has made paper combined with seeds since 1997. The company collects post-consumer waste from businesses and schools in the local area, and adds seeds that sprout into wildflowers when planted. Their products are used not only for social invitations, but promotional items for large companies like Starbucks, TimeWarner, and Sony.
One organization that found success with seed paper is Beverly Hills-based Ervin Cohen & Jessup. Last December the 50 year old law firm sent holiday cards to its clients and prospects that not only explained how its staff greened its office over the past year, but printed them on paper embedded with seeds. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Organizations are becoming more aware of how they can save energy and mitigate their impact on the environment. Using materials such as that of Botanical PaperWorks is a positive way of announcing the results.