Political peril in web-to-print sourcing

By Jo Francis, Tuesday 13 May 2014

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UKIP and the Labour Party have scored something of a political own-goal by having election materials printed in Germany.

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Leaflets and newsletters: popular political print promos

With campaigning gathering pace ahead of the local and European elections on 22 May, political parties of all persuasions are sending out a blizzard of leaflets and newsletters in an effort to woo voters.

Paul Motion, the UKIP candidate for Syon Ward in west London, has distributed leaflets printed by web-to-print firm Saxoprint.

Although Saxoprint has a UK website and registered office in Chiswick, all of its print manufacturing actually takes place in Germany.

Colin Botterill, UKIP branch nomination officer and agent, told PrintWeek: “I wasn’t aware of it when we ordered the printing. I saw the Chiswick address and thought ‘fantastic we’re supporting a local business’.

"I only found out Saxoprint was German when I phoned to chase delivery and asked whether I could pick the leaflets up, and was told they were on a plane from Germany."

"I was a bit disappointed. This is the problem with the internet, you don’t necessarily know where things are coming from. We try and support local businesses and in future we want to use local printers. We will be getting a CV off them first!” Botterill added. 

The Labour party has also used Saxoprint for materials that have been delivered to households in Reading, promoting its candidate David Absolom.

A spokesman said: "The Labour Party uses a range of firms and most of our print is done in the UK."

It’s not clear whether the Labour print buyer was aware that Saxoprint’s manufacturing site is in Germany, or not.

Elsewhere, UK printers have benefited from the collateral surrounding the political campaigning.

The Green Party has sent out a leaflet on 100% recycled paper and printed by Pindar Scarborough.

Anton Group has produced Labour’s election communication leaflet, and Print Direct Solutions in Slough has also produced candidate-specific materials for Labour.

St Ives won a print and print management contract with the Conservative Party in October 2012. 

It is credited on a 6pp one-piece mailer for the party, while Mortons Media Group has printed a 4pp tabloid ‘local news’ newspaper for the Conservatives and the aptly-named Conservative Print in Skipton, which specialises in collateral to support Conservative candidates and associations, has also produced colour leaflets for the Tories.

UKIP also has a host of printed promotional items such as envelope, window and bumper stickers for sale via the online shop on its website.

Tangent’s digital and creative agency Tangent Snowball secured a five-year extension to its contract with the Labour Party last year. It created the iCampaign mobile app used by party activists.

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