A Fire, the Press and Christmas

Callimedia certainly had our work cut out with a business critical pre-Christmas mailer for a leading UK retailer.

Six million brochures loose inserted into 16 different media outlets plus a further 550 thousand delivered to the Telegraph for binding into their magazine. We quickly discovered that we could save them significant cost on their previous year’s mailings by evaluating the stock, which represented two thirds of the overall campaign spend:

Due to the bulky nature of uncoated paper (the original specification was 90gsm woodfree uncoated stock), changing to either a matt or silk stock which would have a lower cost per ton, was not an option as this would give the insert a ‘flimsier’ feel. We presented 3 options for them to consider.

1. Use the same stock as in previous years
2. Drop the weight to an 80gsm uncoated stock so saving on the tonnage requirements with very little difference in the feel of the final job. This also opened the opportunity to use one of our European print partners who specialise in press finished work but could not print on heavier than 80gsm uncoated.
3. Drop down to a very bulky 70gsm mechanical stock. This gave the brochure a similar feel but as a mechanical paper was not as white as a woodfree, however the cost per ton was considerably lower and the overall tonnage requirements were less so offered a large potential saving.

We produced plain paper dummies for each option so that the client could make a considered choice, and the 80gsm uncoated was ultimately the final decision. From our knowledge and experience we knew that different media outlets have different packing requirements, which meant we were able to tailor to the right print resource and save any invoice  surprises later on.

The Fire

At a late stage in the process a further complication became apparent as a fire at one of the main paper mills producing uncoated paper led to an industry shortage across all brands. In fact the initial stock that we had proposed to the client was no longer available.

At very short notice we had to evaluate what other brands were available and arrange overnight couriers to provide new samples to take in to the client. The UK was affected most heavily by the shortage and in fact no uncoated paper could be sourced by any UK printer, but fortunately our supplier of choice in mainland Europe could still offer a similar brand so the order was placed. For the 550k copies going to the Telegraph magazine, as these were to be bound in these were required to be delivered to a different specification to the A4
brochures. As well as being slightly smaller they needed to be supplied with either a binding lap or a closed head fold to allow the printers to feed the inserts on to their binding line. Callimedia took the time to make dummies up and explain the binding process to their client to understand that the option with the closed head would be best. As the final insert was smaller than the Telegraph magazine if a binding lap was used this would not be trimmed off in the binding process, spoiling the look of the final job.

As the date for final files approached the client was concerned about the colour of a header that was to run on the first page and throughout the brochure. They had a pantone red they wanted to emulate but as the final job was to be produced out of CMYK they were worried this might not produce exactly as they hoped. Callimedia arranged for a scatter proof of a range of red options for the client to consider before the final files were supplied.

Once files were all approved and the print time finalised we flew over to meet with our printers and passed the job on press. With the knowledge of the requirements, in particular with the red header, the client knew that with our presence there the quality would be assured. Everything ran smoothly with file copies supplied to the client who were very pleased with the final brochure. As expected all deliveries were booked in and made on time, the customer was happy and there were no surprises for them in terms of cost, despite the complexity of the job.


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