by Lara Copeland, assistant editor, PostPress
Every fall for the past 14 years, Admore Folders, Macomb, Michigan, has created a Halloween-themed folder for self-promotion. The folders are mailed to its entire customer base as Halloween approaches and just as children anticipate the coming of candy and costumes, Admore’s clients eagerly await the new folder. The most recent folder features an owl on the cover, a vertical pocket on the inside shaped like a spooky tree, an insert featuring a poem and an owl-shaped coupon.
The marketing team at Admore plans the design every summer in June or July – typically starting with an image they like and letting it grow from there. Marketing Manager Lisa Goebel said, “We always wanted to do an owl – they are such an iconic Halloween image and birds with feathers are great to sculpture emboss.” She noted that most importantly, the final product needed to be fun while also fitting the theme, which explains why the team chose a more stylized image as opposed to a more realistic owl. “The oversized eyes, beak and claws were perfect for foil stamping with bright colors,” she noted. The piece also must tell a story. Referring to the poem insert, Goebel said, “in this case, the storyline is a customer seeking wisdom from a great owl.” In the poem, the customer asks, “Whooo do I buy my folders from,” and, Goebel said, the answer is clearly Admore Folders.
In addition to demonstrating to customers the unique ways a folder can be used as a promotional tool, the annual promo piece also is designed to showcase Admore’s technical capabilities. The 2016 piece was stamped on a full sheet before diecutting due to the critical registration. Mohawk Fine Paper’s 80# Carnival Felt New Black was used, while all the dies came from Universal Engraving – the foil dies are copper and the sculptured emboss die is brass.
“The bright, eye-popping foils used in the owl’s eyes, beak and claws are from Kurz Luxor,” Goebel confirmed. In total, there were five registered foil and emboss passes on Admore’s BOBST 102 with an Eagle foil unit. First, Infinity Foils, Inc.’s #99 black foiled the owl outline on the front, in addition to the back-cover type. Next, the tree on the pocket also was foiled in black and the second ring of the owl’s eyes was foiled in Kurz #357 blue. The third pass used Kurz #404 orange for the final eye color. Then the beak and feet were completed with Kurz #28586 gold. Lastly, all copy on the front cover was sculptured embossed. The folder was diecut with a custom diecut die and then folded and glued on a BOBST folder.
The poem insert included with the final piece was printed 4/0 4-color process, 4-up on a 40 Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 102. “A high-gloss UV coating was applied offline to the sheet,” Goebel stated. “The custom, diecut owl coupon was printed 8-up, 4/4 in 4-color process with gloss spot UV coating.” Thoughtfully crafted, the tail of the “Whooo-pon” fits into a custom slit in the “tree limb” on the inside folder pocket, so the owl appears to be sitting in the tree. Both the insert and the “Whooo-Pon” were printed using Braden Sutphin Earth Pride inks.
Goebel admitted that the yearly promo folder is something customers not only look forward to but treasure. “We have a bit of a cult following and by the end of summer customers start prodding our customer service reps to tell them what the next one will be,” she said. It’s no surprise that Admore takes great care in creating a piece to impress, but thorough work such as this does not come without challenges.
In fact, Goebel said that the biggest concern focused on being able to machine fold the folder. The 12×6″ vertical pocket – glued at the top and the bottom – is diecut around the image of a spooky Halloween tree, and the narrow tree branch with the custom slit further complicated the folding issue. The team created several mock-ups and adjusted the design. “We had to shorten the tree limb because it kept hanging up and ripping during the fold test,” she revealed. After all was said and done, all 10,000+ folders were machine folded.
“Our customers have loved every one of our Halloween promotions, and ‘WHOOO?’ was no exception,” Goebel acknowledged. In the spring of 2017, Admore’s piece won a Foil & Specialty Effects Association Gold Leaf award for best use of foil and embossing – presentation folder. This award, and the praise from its customers, confirms the efforts the marketing team puts forth in this venture every year.