5 minutes with… Gary Hunter

Name: Gary Hunter

Job Title:  Senior Account Manager

First job in the industry: Press minder (aged 7).  My father owned a print and design company from when I was a very young boy.  I used to spend a lot of time in and around the factory helping out where I could, although I was probably more of a hindrance than a help.  It was an excellent grounding for me though, where I learned all about print and the mechanics into what goes into producing a beautifully printed piece. My actual first fully taxed job was as a trainee estimator within my father’s company.

Area of expertise: Print and direct mail.  I have been around print, printing presses and paper since childhood.  I only realised how important print was to me when I took a couple of years out to work in the paper trade.  When you are fully immersed in something you do not realise how much you are learning and how much you love it, until it’s not there.  I love nothing more than picking up a printed item, flicking the corner of it to estimate the paper weight and then walking someone through the processes that went into producing it, probably why I don’t get invited to many dinner parties!

What do you love most about print media? I love how it has stood the test of time and evolved to still be relevant in today’s technologically advanced world.  For decades now there has been an element of doom-mongering around print and it’s predicted demise however nothing could be further from the truth.  I believe that everything turns in cycles and there is definitely a strong resurgence in love for print and direct mail as people find more and more interesting and relevant print and DM landing on their doorsteps.

What inspires you when it comes to direct mail?  I am inspired by the reaction that a well thought out, well produced and well targeted piece of direct mail can create.  Be that an increase in sales for a business or just a smile to a face with a clever, funny or inventive piece of DM.  

What is the best thing about direct mail?  I love seeing the effect that the end result has on the client and how happy they become when they are holding a finished pack in their hands.  You can never underestimate the power of print and the joy it can bring to someone.  The hard work and effort from everybody involved in producing a pack gets brought to life in something tangible and you just can’t buy that.

Is there anything about print that you think people would be surprised to know?  The issue of C02 and reducing our carbon footprint is a very real issue and a very hot topic.  There are lots of myths going around which paints print production and paper usage in a bad light.  A great website that I often find myself browsing is twosides.info which is a leading light in the fight against greenwashing. With print supporting accreditation programmes like the Forest Stewardship Council and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification along with World Land Trust carbon balancing as an industry we are leading the way in Carbon Capture. A real standout figure dispelling the myth around deforestation is that European forests grow by over 1,500 football pitches EVERY DAY.  Also more than 60% of forests in the EU and the UK are certified, and most of them are under the FSC, PEFC or both.

Favourite ad/marketing campaign? My favourite marketing campaign has to be Cadbury’s “Donate Your Words” and their campaign supporting Age UK.  Cadbury removed the logo from it’s Dairy Milk bars and donated 30p from each bar sold to Age UK. It also sought to encourage the public to donate their own words, by reaching out to older people in their community for a friendly chat to brighten their day.  The campaign had a huge impact with hundreds of thousands of people donating their words and helped make a difference to the lives of many older people.