The Extra newspaper is the most popular newspaper in Ecuador sold on the street. People pick it up from street vendors on their way to work, when taking a break or during their normal day-to-day activities. The direct sales model worked well most of the year – with one big exception: The rainy season. The frequent downpours kept even the most enthusiastic readers from buying the paper. Not surprisingly: Who wants to hold a soggy paper with barely readable ink on it?
Every year with the rainy season, Extra’s sales went down. So Extra decided to do something about it. The paper commissioned the agency Maruri Grey that counts Mercedes Benz, Novartis and Panasonic among its clients to come up with an idea to solve the problem. And Maruri Grey did: They laminated the front and back pages of the newspaper so it remained resistant to water, intact and readable even during the hardest rainstorm.
Even better: The paper served not only as a source of information but also as an umbrella. “With Extra as an umbrella our readers felt that we cared about them”, wrote Extra in a statement. The strategy panned out: Extra’s circulation increased by 12 % and ad sales went up 16 %. Plus: The idea received lots of positive media attention in Ecuador.
While lamination to preserve single newspaper articles is common, this is, as far as we know, the first time, a whole newspaper was laminated before distribution. Since the Maruri Grey agency in Ecuador wasn’t available for comment despite several attempts, we looked for industrial laminating solutions.
There are four basic types of lamination: wet lamination, dry lamination, wax lamination and solventless lamination. Wet lamination is mostly used to produce a paper-aluminum foil laminate. In dry lamination, the bonding agent is dissolved in a liquid and then applied to one web before being dried in an oven. With heated rollers and strong pressure, the adhesive coated web is laminated onto the other.
In wax lamination, the hot melt or wax is applied to one of the substrates. This allows paper-to-paper laminates. Solventless lamination has two components that react with each other and don’t require drying. A neutral varnish may also be used to coat the paper and can either be applied directly onto the press after the ink has been applied or later after the print process.
While the umbrella newspaper was a clear success in Ecuador, it also illustrates a wider point: Getting creative with the printing process and using available methods and techniques in creative ways almost always pays off.