|Translation of the letter from the bwg
Cologne, September 27th, 2012
Dear Mr. Scherer,
You are planning an event called “Haptica Live” in March 2013, to which promotional products distributors, agencies and users are to be invited. The intention is for 40 promotional products suppliers to present their products at the stands.
The constellation of these participants will lead to the fact that the users of promotional products will come into direct contact with suppliers, at the cost of the promotional products trade. A direct selling approach of the manufacturers and importers makes it difficult for the promotional products distributors to survive.
Many of my colleagues are already today complaining about declining turnovers and their struggle to survive, because more and more suppliers choose to do business with the industry directly.
There are over 4,000 distributor companies in Germany and no doubt well over 20,000 employees, who make a living out of advising the industry customers and supplying promotional products. The crumbling of the industry structures and the political decisions and legislation have been making life difficult for the distributors for years.
You have been involved in this industry for many years and are familiar with the arguments of both the suppliers and the distributors. You are supporting the above-mentioned development with your event. At this point I find it extremely dangerous for you to evade your responsibility as a member of the trade press, by adopting the stance that you cannot influence who does business with whom.
On behalf of all of the members of the bwg, I call upon you not to stage the “Haptica Live” in the foreseen format! Your plans endanger the existence of the distributors and thus also the existence of their employees. Fortunately, the PSI chose to reject this approach, following huge protests they namely realised that such a course of action would endanger the existing industry structures!
With best regards,
Chairman of the Board
|Translation of the reply from Michael Scherer to the letter from the bwg
Cologne, October 1st, 2012
Haptica live/Your correspondence dated September 27, 2012
Dear Mr. Schulz,
Many thanks for your open critic, which I would like to respond to as follows.
Firstly, however, I would like to categorically contradict your assumption that the Haptica live will support direct business between the suppliers and the users. Indeed you quite rightly state that a “crumbling of the industry structures” has been noticeable for years, but unfortunately this development is due to factors, which we cannot influence. In the era of the Internet products and sources of supply are just a few clicks away, and nobody who wants to do direct business needs Haptica live.
The aim of our event is completely different. Haptica live is a performance show for the promotional product, which demonstrates the creativity and innovative power of haptic advertising not only by means of product presentations, but also in the form of seminars and campaign case studies.
We are observing a deficit here that is also detrimental to the trade: The traditional disregard for the promotional product is still ongoing in many advertising agencies and marketing departments, where although it is indispensable as a give-away, it is in many cases still considered to be merely a supplementary item rather than an important, conceptual element of advertising campaigns. This is why we launched our magazine Haptica onto the market a year ago, which addresses this target group with case studies and interviews. The surprisingly positive reactions of the readers confirm this appraisal. Thus, we consider it to be a valuable and logical move to complement our print format with an exhibition that makes the potential effect of haptic advertising immediately tangible. It would be nonsense to exclude from this event, whose aim is to promote haptic advertising, those people who are responsible for deciding about the implementation of promotional products.
Hence, with a forum like Haptica live we are by no means supporting trends that will damage the industry, but are instead striving to support those that will help make it fit for the future. The danger that direct business poses has become inevitable as a result of the Internet, but the trade has for some time already been reacting with impressive professionalism. Formerly mere procurers, the distributors have transformed into advisers. And this consulting competence will become more important than ever, once the complex possibilities the promotional product offers are appreciated. We heartily invite you and your colleagues to convince yourselves on-site that the distributors will profit from Haptica live just as much as the suppliers.
With best regards,