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Introducing hPad. Hemlock Printers goes analog to tell their digital evolution story.

December 6th, 2010 · 11 Comments

On the evening of Friday December 3rd, over 400 guests filled the pressroom at Hemlock Printers for hParty1.0 – a gala open house and technology launch event. Besides toasting over 40 years of leadership in the printing industry, the crowd was on hand to witness the launch of a ‘new communications platform’, which promised to bridge the print/digital divide. The room was aglow, the atmosphere electric. Like something out of an alternate Steve Jobs universe, the hPad burst into life on the video screen to applause, astonishment and… laughter?

Under all that hype, Hemlock launched…. a note pad.

The irony of the event was not lost on the crowd of designers, clients, businesspeople and agency types. Invitations had come via a combination of customized postcards, personalized Nametag™ RSVP web pages and email follow-up. Visitors were toured through Hemlock’s sophisticated digital printing, offset printing and web response facilities. And the hPad video itself is now racking up hits on YouTube.

So how and why would Hemlock use old-school technology to tell the world about their integrated digital offering?

Full disclosure: Unicycle Creative was the agency who partnered with Hemlock on the development of the hPad and hParty theme. The idea began as a beer-lunch quip by Vice President of Client Services Richard Kouwenhoven that rapidly scope-crept into a full-fledged invitation campaign, notebook brochure design, and launch video.

The strength of using such a classic platform is two-fold. First, the Hemlock brand is rooted in fine printing tradition. We felt it was important to affirm print’s place in the marketing mix by showing just how flexible, affordable, reliable and sustainable it really is when compared with digital alternatives. Secondly, we wanted to get attention for Hemlock’s digital strengths with a bit of wit, humour and impact. We felt taking a few lighthearted shots at the latest gadgetry would appeal to the purist tech geeks as much as the traditionalists.

So if you have a brand with a traditional background, don’t be too quick to abandon it. Even if your message itself is highly technical. A thoughtful blend of the old and the new can have even more impact than the latest bright shiny object.

To find out more about their digital print vision and printing services, visit

To get your own hPad, go deeper on the hParty1.0 branding, or talk marketing strategy, send me (Lorne Craig) an email here at Green Briefs.

Thanks to Don Barnard for his stellar shooting and editing on the hPad video; and to James Spooner, Peter Clarke and Gord Lord at GGRP for their magnificent sound design.

Tags: Events · Green Creative · Printing · Production · Social Media · Sustainable Products · Unicycle Case Studies

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Eroca // Dec 7, 2010 at 12:59 am

    That’s brilliant! Love the Nametag video too.

  • 2 admin // Dec 7, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Thanks, Eroca. Hemlock is a great organization to do creative work for.

  • 3 Tweets that mention Introducing hPad. Hemlock Printers goes analog to tell their digital evolution story. -- // Dec 9, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lorne Craig, Hemlock Printers. Hemlock Printers said: Thank you, @GreenBriefs for blogging about our #hPad and #hParty! […]

  • 4 Lori // Dec 10, 2010 at 5:20 am

    Looks like a great product and I really like the thinking behind the launch plan. Great job!

  • 5 Koen R. // Dec 10, 2010 at 7:28 am


    this absolutely made my day. Great stuff!

    Koen R.

  • 6 Heidi // Dec 10, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Love it. 😀 ~ heidi

  • 7 Leah // Dec 10, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Haha, I love it! hPad all the way! Great work on the commercial.

  • 8 bruce // Dec 10, 2010 at 10:04 am

    what a hoot …. everything old will be new again ….

  • 9 Danielle Kristmanson // Dec 10, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Wait…I’m #9, but I really want an hpad. My brain only works holding a real pen. With ink. My finger, a stylus, a mouse, none of it works like my pen, or a marker, or even a crayon. Please…the world is leaving me behind and I need this piece of technology. See if you can’t put a good word in for me with Richard. Tell him I promise to keep selling ink on paper.

  • 10 admin // Dec 10, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Oh, I’m a sucker for a good story, Danielle – hPad is yours!

  • 11 Sharon Craig // Dec 10, 2010 at 11:52 am

    well…I guess I’m down the list too for an hPad, but they are great & sure would like to score another one!

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