A blog all about ‘Beer Mats’

All about beermats, dripmats and coasters!

Beermat manufacturer, sorry, supplier Zyan buy beermat domains

The latest beer mat news is that Solent Media Limited trading as Zyan Design & Print has just purchased two .com beermat domains to “facilitate expansion”, at a cost of $10,000. The intention is laudable, but purists may claim that their money would have been better spent toward a deposit for the purchase of a print press, rather than a domain or two. There is nothing wrong with selling beermats, many print brokers, dealers, agencies, promotional houses, print suppliers and advertising houses do, but there is no evidence that these companies claim to be a beermat manufacturer in the process.

So, can you claim to be a manufacturer if you are not? The short answer is you can claim to be virtually anything, but it doesn’t mean you are, perhaps only that you simply aspire to be something else. Who knows, but here is the actual definition of a ‘manufacturer’: “a person or company in the business of manufacturing; esp., a factory owner”.  So, if you advertise and take orders for beermats, then place that order on a beermat manufacturing company, who then go on to manufacture the beermats, are you a beermat manufacturer? I think not!

This is the ‘title’ on Zyan’s beermats page as of today’s date: Beer mats, drip mats printer and manufacturer – Zyan Design & Print. Of course they are not alone, there is another Beermat Company using Google Advertising in which they claim that there is “no middleman”. Right, so this particular Beermat Company, doesn’t print their own beermats, but they claim in their advertising that there is no middleman. They also, by the way, claim to be a beermat manufacturer. What is the world coming to? Perhaps it is the Internet that facilitates or allows claims that are difficult for casual observers to substantiate? I know for example, that I would like to be 6′ 2″ tall, but if anyone was to meet me, they would quickly work out that I am a good 4″ shorter. But, if I made this claim on the Internet, who would know?

So what’s my beef? Well, there are dozens of highly professional companies out there that are actively selling printed beermats, but do not feel the necessity to claim to be the manufacturer. They offer a service, but they are not on a level playing field, because there is an implication, or perhaps a perception that, by dealing with a manufacturer the price will be cheaper, there is more control over the manufacturing process or maybe the service will be faster. Arguably, if there was no sales or commercial advantage, why would anyone claim to be a manufacturer when they don’t own a press?

There is NO reason why any individual or company should not buy their beermats through an intermediary, in fact, many choose to do so. But, I believe it is fundamentally wrong for any business to claim to be a manufacturer, when in reality they are an intermediary. If you offer a good service, your prices are competitive and you deliver on your promises, it is possible to be successful and candid.

4 February, 2009 Posted by | General, News | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Thirstys reject claim from small beermat supplier

Thirstys.co.uk Limited a well established, UK based manufacturer of beermats, has rejected, what they argue amounts to a spurious and unfounded a claim by The Beermat Corporation Limited, over the use of the generic term ‘the beer mat company’.

UK registered, but Dutch controlled beer mat supplier, The Beermat Corporation Limited (“TBCL”), has attempted to claim a monopoly right to the generic term ‘the beer mat company’, insisting that Thirstys.co.uk Limited (Thirstys) use of the domain beermatcompany.co.uk, amounted to a case of ‘passing off’. In doing so, solicitors acting on behalf of TBCL, have attempted to secure assurances and claim rights to the domain’s; www.beermatcompany.com and www.beermatcompany.eu, which have been registered to Thirstys since April 2006.

A spokesperson for Thirstys.co.uk Limited said, “Quite apart from the fact that we do not use the term ‘the beer mat company’ in any of our advertising, we find it incomprehensible that any company should be so aggorant as to try and claim monopoly rights over the term ‘beer mat company’ in what is quite clearly a generic term used by many companies to describe their activities within the beermat market. ”

Thirstys also flatly rejected a claim by TBCL that the use of domain names which include the words “beermatcompany” amounts to passing off. The Thirstys spokesperson added, “The temerity of the principals at The Beermat Corporation astounds us. To claim that Thirstys could be guilty of passing off is simply ridiculous, not least because we, quite clearly, would not try and pass ourselves off as a company that is a foreign controlled beer mat supplier, when we are actually a UK based, and controlled, manufacturer of beer mats. Quite apart from the obvious, our sites clearly include the well known Thirstys logo and repeatedly make reference to our company name. ”

Thirstys have been angered by the actions and claims of TBCL, which they see as offering up a weak, ill conceived, baseless and retaliatory response to Thirstys warning to TBCL, over their blatant use of the term “Thirsty” in their Google Adword advertising. Thirstys argue strongly that they have built up substantial value in the term Thirstys and the use of this term, is being used to target Thirstys customers, given, unlike The Beermat Corportation Limited, Thirstys.co.uk Limited is a UK controlled, uk based, manufacturer of beermats, whereasThe Beermat Corporation Limited, whilst being registered in the UK and claiming to be a manufacturer, is in fact operating from an accommodation address, has no manufacturing or print plant and is controlled from Holland.

A defiant Thirstys has made clear that, whilst they completely understand why a company may want to be associated with a well established and genuine UK based manufacturer of beermats, they cannot, nor will they stand idly by whilst any organisation attempts to capitalise on this by claiming exclusive rights to the term ‘beermat company’.

There are in fact just 4 manufacturers of genuine beermats in the UK, these organisation have UK based employees and at least one printing press, this list does not include The Beermat Corporation Limited, which is believed to use one of the UK beermat manufacturers to print its beermats.

Thirstys believe that the use, by The Beermat Corporation Limited of the website description, ‘The Beer MatCorporation Ltd are a[sic] manufacturers[sic] and printer [sic] of customised beer mats, drinks coasters and drip mats Based in Lancashire, UK’. is in itself misleading.  This is because, firstly, the generally accepted definition of a manufacturer is “a person or company in the business of manufacturing’ esp., a factory owner“. Whereas The Beermat Corporation Limited do not appear to own any print press in the UK and in fact, are understood to outsource the printing to one of the 4 UK manufacturers. Secondly, the suggestion that the company is based in Lancashire, whilst technically true, it is open to interpretation, because, whilst it may be registered in Manchester (not Lancashire), Thirstys understand that the business is actually using an accommodation address which is believed to be shared by up to 200 other companies. In addition, Thirstys has been unable to establish that there are any UK based employees of The Beermat Corporation Limited, though is says that it is prepared to correct this statement if this turns our to be incorrect.

The Thirstys spokesperson closed by saying “There are many genuine, UK based beermat companies in the UK and the vast majority offer an excellent service and do not find it necessary to describe themselves as beermat manufactuer. We welcome competition in the market, which helps create a larger market for beermats and ensures that we all kept on our toes. That said, we firmly draw the line on anyone attempting to claim an automatic right to domain names that use a generic term and we will, as always, protect our position”.

26 September, 2008 Posted by | General, News | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thirstys, UK based beermat company issue an advisory

UK based beermat manufacturer, Thirstys.co.uk Limited have taken the unusual step of advising their existing and potential customers of an advertisement currently running with Google Adwords is using the term ‘Thirsty?’. The company believe the use of this word is likely to cause confusion in the market given Thirstys is a well know brand in the UK and the name is synonymous with beermat manufacturing.

A company spokesperson said “We have had a number of customers indicate that they believed this advertisment was for our company and they have responded in accordance with this belief. The principle issue here, is that it is very clearly not difficult to confuse the term ‘Thirsty?’ with our own trademark ‘Thirstys’.

Added to which, because the website uses a generic name ‘beermatcompany.com, the casual browser is given no clue that this website has nothing to do with Thirstys until they reach the site. From what we can ascertain, whilst describing themselves as a manufacturer, this organisation does not actually own a print press. In addition, despite the fact that it publishes a UK address (which is shared by as many as 200 other companies), try as we might, we have been unable to identify any UK based employees, only a director based in Holland. For the record we wish to state that Thirstys.co.uk Limited have no association with The Beermat Company or The Beermat Corporation Limited and we shall be seeking guidance from our legal advisors legal advisors in relation to the form of this particular advertisement.”

In the meantime, Thirstys have asked that any individual or company that may have experienced similar confusion as a consequence of this advertisement to get in touch with them.

18 July, 2008 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beermats & fly tipping, getting the message over

Everyone accepts that fly tipping is becoming an increaing problem as the cost of rubbish disposal in landfill sites increases every year. Now some of the local councils are using beermats, which coincidentally are themselves 100% recyclable, to deliver a hard-hitting message in relation to this illegal and anti-social activity.

Gateshead Council used 40,000 branded beermats to deliver quirky and innovative messages to raise awareness of the campaign aimed at capturing the public’s imagination and encouraging them to take ownership of their Borough.

Two distinctive designs were utilised bearing images of environmental crimes as well as details of the fines attached to the offence. One was aimed at street litter, such as takeaway rubbish and other forms of fast food waste, whilst the other was aimed at fly tippers. The council emphasised that anyone caught dropping litter could face a fine of up to £50 whilst fly tippers could risk fines of up to £50,000.

The beermats were distributed to local pubs and clubs who were said to have been fully behind the campaign and its virtues.

Beermats have become a popular and inexpensive medium for advertising, branding and campaign messages used by many governement agencies, charities and businesses to deliver their messages. Because they can now be ordered in smaller quantities, are typically litho-printed in full colour, they are perfectly suited to targeted campaigns. No longer the sole domain of breweries, beermats are being used in mailers, at shows, as business cards and in upmarket restaurants and hotels.

14 July, 2008 Posted by | Beermat Campaigns | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Don’t be seduced into buying fake beermats

Ask any landlord, industry player or beermat collector and they will instantly tell you that a genuine beermat is made from wood-pulp and there is a very simple reason for that, it is the pulp that provides the beermat with it’s absorbency qualities.

 

The fact that for decade’s beermats have been made from pulp-wood for very good reason, there has recently been a plethora of companies offering ‘fake’ beermats, in other words, beermats that are not made from pulp. Why does it really matter? Well these beermats are quaintly described as ‘constructed beermats’ that is to say they are typically made by gluing printed paper onto the top and bottom of board to create the “beermat”. Whilst this may look pretty and may even justify the description of a beermat, there the similarities remain.

 

Constructed beermats, or as the experts might argue, fake beermats, may act as an advertising medium, but because the print is onto paper, thee beermats are simply unable to absorb liquid without coming apart. Typically as the constructed beermats come into touch with water, the paper simply comes away or curls from the board, leaving an unsightly mess. In addition, when water liquid comes into touch with printed paper, most people already know the outcome, streaks of wet print!

 

So why do people offer fake, constructed beermats? For the most part, it is based on price, in the past it has been easier and cheaper to print short runs on coasted paper and then construct the beermat. This is because beermat board has to be printed on specialized print presses which can deal with the thickness of the board, whilst constructed beermats can be printed on virtually any press. However, some of the beermat companies have introduced printing practices that allow short runs of pulp-wood beermats, yes litho printed, full colour runs on pulp-wood board….in fact one UK company offers runs starting at just 25 beermats!

 

Why are fake beermats still offered? Well given they are considerable less useful that a genuine beermats and that there is a real and practicable alternative, perhaps it is profit, the only way to be certain is to ask the people that continue to push these constructed beermats.

 

Whilst in the past there may have been some justification in offering constructed beermats, in spite of the fact that these mats had few, if any of the properties of a genuine pulp-wood beermats, it does seem difficult to justify now!

 

9 July, 2008 Posted by | General | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

When is a beermat manufacturer not a beermat manufacturer?

Well the definition of a ‘manufacturer’ is as follows: “a person or company in the business of manufacturing; esp., a factory owner”. Therefore a purist would argue that unless the beermat company in question was in the business of manufacturing and had their own plant, that they could not possible be described as a manufacturer.

 

Given the definition is so clear, why you may ask, would a beermat company attempt to claim that they were a beermat manufacturer? Is it because it makes them appear as if they have substance, or perhaps because they believe that their customers may feel that as a supplier, as distinct from a manufacturer, will have less control over the manufacturing process? Or maybe the beermat company appreciates, that as a supplier, rather than a beermat manufacturer, they can only influence, rather than control the manufacturing process? So, by pretending to be a beermat manufacturer, rather than a supplier, surely they are openly misleading the customer into believing that they have real control?

 

Whether a beermat company claims to be a beermat manufacturer or not probably isn’t really the point. What must be, however, is the fact that it is so clearly misleading. This is because it provides a false impression to the customer that they (the beermat company) have some control over the manufacturing process, including the quality, timescales and delivery. Few people would object to dealing with a supplier, rather than a manufacturer, after all, most of us have to deal with intermediaries such as dealers, retailers and suppliers everyday of the week. But most of us would be concerned about being deliberately mislead, because if a beermat company was prepared to provide a false impression of what their role in the whole process was, is there anything else they are not telling us?

 

There is a marked difference between exaggeration and an outright lie and the customer must decide which it is. Is a company claiming to be a beermat manufacturer simply be guilty of ‘creative license’? If so, would it also be okay for every car dealer to claim that they are the manufacturer, after all, it is they who place the ‘build order’ on the factory? Perhaps not!

 

What a pity that here in the UK, there are a few companies, that rather than highlighting the virtues of their service,  their price and their  important part in the process, simply seek to claim to be something they are not. Of course this is not only in the beermat manufacturing business, it goes on in many other industries, but there is no reason why any of them should feel the need to exaggerate their roles. They should stand up and be counted. Customers do not like being taken for fools and whilst the customer may still get their product, as described, as quoted and on time, they surely cannot help but feel that they were just ‘lucky this time’.

 

The term ‘honest and integrity’ goes together like ‘hand in glove’ and those who would seek to deceive or exaggerate would do well to consider this. There are many intermediaries that can add value to the process of ordering beermats, be they dealers, brokers, promotional houses, print suppliers or advertising agencies, none of these should ever seek to claim to be something they are not and fortunately, none appear to. So the message to anyone claiming to be a beermat manufacturer when they are not is to be honest, first with themselves and second with their customers.

 

There are currently only 2 established beermat manufacturers in the UK, these are Thirstys.co.uk and Mosaic Board & Print. So, if you want to deal direct with the manufacturer, you need to be talking to one of these companies, if you are happy to deal with am intermediary, there are many promotional companies, advertising agencies, print brokers and dealers that can assist you.

 

Abraham Lincoln said “You may deceive all the people part of the time, and part of the people all the time, but not all the people all the time.

4 July, 2008 Posted by | General | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Beermats Help the Aged

Beermats were used in a campaign to raise awareness of the plight of old people living on their own at Christmas, on behalf of UK charity, Help the Aged. The hard-hitting campaign used a colourful beermat design to draw attention to the beermats and offered up a story of an old age pensioner living in isolation on the reverse of the mat.

 

Apart from these heart rendering stories, there was also a call to action for readers of the beermats. This called for them to use their mobile phone to send a ‘reverse-billed’ text which would result in a donation of £3 for the charity Help the Aged.

 

This was a prime example of beermats being used to deliver a serious messages as well as a tool to raise funds for a worthy cause. It further demonstrated the use of a beermat to encourage a call to action from the reader.

4 July, 2008 Posted by | Beermat Campaigns | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment