Austin, Texas — A new effort is launching in a move to counteract the negative imagery PET is receiving these days.
The National Association for PET Container Resources, or NAPCOR, is coming out with the Positively PET campaign that includes public relations activities, paid social media advertisements and a new website to tout what backers believe are the benefits of the material.
It was almost a year ago when NAPCOR Executive Director Darrel Collier first started talking about the need for the industry and his trade group to take a more consumer-facing position to explain the advantages of PET. Collier had just been hired to succeed longtime NAPCOR leader Rick Moore, who was retiring.
NAPCOR has traditionally been industry-focused, but during the transition it recognized the need to begin engaging the public in more dialogue amid the growing anti-plastic sentiment.
The general public is being exposed to more and more voices saying plastic is causing problems in the environment.
"That's the only message that they are seeing. They are not seeing this fabulous product that has so many attributes," Collier said at The Packaging Conference in Austin. "And we want to do something about that. That's the origin of the Positively PET campaign."
NAPCOR unveiled Positively PET at the conference and spoke about the effort for the first time publicly.
The effort will include social media advertising buys on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram touting the what the group considers the advantages of plastics. NAPCOR also has launched what Collier calls a microsite at www.positivelypet.org, and it is developing videos to get the association's message out. There also are fact sheets and an infographic to help tell the story from NAPCOR's perspective.
The trade group members, which include resin producers, reclaimers, bottle converters, thermoformers, sheet manufacturers and equipment suppliers, all have one thing in common: They are focused on PET.
And Collier wants the public to understand his industry's message.
Those who work with PET have always talked to one another, but they have not done an effective job in communicating the benefits of the plastic to the general public, he said.
So NAPCOR is stepping out of its bubble with what is being viewed as a three-year campaign.
Positively PET is making social media buys in rotating metropolitan markets, focusing its messaging for a few months in each geographic area before moving on to new locations. In the end, the group hopes to spread the word about PET to 20-25 metropolitan areas.
NAPCOR is starting the social media push in St. Paul, Minn., and Charlotte, N.C., where the trade group is based.
The group is also looking to push its message to a wide audience by engaging national media to discuss the issues surrounding PET. Member companies, meanwhile, will engage their local markets.
The "pro-PET advocacy" effort seeks to "stem the anti-plastic, and specifically anti-PET, sentiment," Collier said.
"We just want to provide a different message than what the consumer has seen to date," Collier said.
PET has a resin identification code of 1, and the group is playing off that designation as part of its marketing with a theme of "The '1' everyone can feel good about."
NAPCOR also seeks to put a bit of difference between PET and other plastics through the campaign.
"Plastics have been in the news a lot lately," Collier said. "But not all plastics are the same."
We're not trying to bash anybody. We're just trying to say, 'Here are the positive attributes [of PET],'" added Tom Busard, a vice president at Plastipak Packaging Inc. of Plymouth, Mich., a member of NAPCOR.
"Positively PET is the biggest thing we've ever done," he said.