A blog all about ‘Beer Mats’

All about beermats, dripmats and coasters!

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

How to design a beermat

Because different manufacturers may have variations, it is always worth checking first, but as a general guide the following would apply to designing a beermat.

Most beermats are printed square with rounded corners or less commonly, are round. Beermats are normally 94mm square or 94mm diameter. However, the beermats have to be printed and cut, therefore it is not acceptable to simply provide artwork which is 94mm. The following guidelines relate to a ‘square’ beermats with rounded corners, but the general principles would apply equally to a 94mm diameter beermat.

Artwork should be provided 100mm x 100mm. This allows for a 4mm guide, the cut edge and a bleed area. Edge borders should be a minimum of 7mm (4mm plus bleed). The beermat itself is 94mm x 94mm and the corner radius is 6.35mm. Because of the absorbent nature of genuine beermat board, the design process must always be treated differently to normal paper stock. For example, fonts must be a minimum of 7 point and for ‘reversed out’ text, a minimum of 9 point. Gold, silver and florescent’s are not accepted colours, although they can normally be provided as a ‘spot colour’ but this can add considerably to any price quoted.

Although beermats are typically litho-printed using the industry standard CMYK, because the board is manufactured using a particularly absorbent substrate, colour variances are inevitable, therefore if anyone has a particular pantone in mind for their company logo, they should stick with coated paper!

Most beermat manufacturers now insist on a high resolution PDF of the design, those that do not will normally insist that the image is converted to process colours and saved at a minimum of 300 dpi. Some of the more ‘switched on’ beermat manufacturer will offer an in-house design service, more often than not, at favourable rates, so it is always worth enquiring. If you want to deal with the manufacturer direct, it is best to ask a few pertinent questions, because some company’s lay claim to be a manufacturer when they are not and others may not even be based in the country you are from…relying instead on a ‘virtual office’ address!

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

Up in smoke? UKIP use beermats to campaign

Beermats are often used in campaigns given, it is suggested though independent research, that they are read some 10 times before being discarded. Perhaps aware of this fact, UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom launched a beer mat campaign aimed at rousing public opinion to have the blanket smoking ban in pubs overturned.

 

Clearly the beleaguered landlords of the UK’s public houses were for the most part, supportive of this initiative, given many want to provide their customers with the choice, rather than having blanket bans imposed by government.

 

Not for the first time, UKIP utilised beer mats to re-enforce their message, allowing the beermat to do the talking. Beer mats can now be ordered in smaller quantities making them ideal for smaller campaigns, targeted campaigns, promotions or brand building. Some beermat manufacturers will offer 1000 genuine pulp board beermats, printed in full colour both sides, for the princely sum of less than £100. This really places the beer mat in reach of the vast majority of small and medium sized business in the UK.

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

Design a beermat competition

When in comes to widening the impact of a beermat message and maximising the return on their investment, the local county council of Neath Port Talbot undoubtedly lead the way. This forward thinking local authority decided that they would launch an anti-drink drive campaign during the summer months. This in itself is noteworthy; however, rather than simply pass the job to their advertising agency, they encouraged pupils from local schools to participate in the design of the beermats. Now that is clever!

 

Apparently, more than 300 entries were received from local pupils, resulting in 30,000 beermats being printed with 4 of the best designs submitted by the pupils. The council had originally intended to select one winner, but the quality was so high, they eventually opted for 4 designs. Fortunately beermats are flexible enough to offer up these types of changes.

 

The local authority was encouraged to use beermats to deliver their message after independent research has shown that a promotional beer mat will be seen and read ten times before being discarded. Beermats can be ordered though advertising agencies, promotional companies and of course, direct from the beermat manufacturer. Modern printing processes now mean that beermats no longer have to be ordered in multiples of 1m, in fact some beermat printers allow customers to order a few as 25 full colour, litho-printed beermats, now that is progress.

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

Beer Mats get the message across

No doubt about it, if you want to get your message across to a wide audience, then the humble beermat is about as good as it gets! With new manufacturing processes, it is now possible to print much smaller volumes of beermats and at a price that makes it a truly mass market advertising, promotions and marketing tool.

More and more companies are now turning to beermats to get their message across, including the UK Police force, cancer research companies, local authorities with environmental messages to name but a few. Some of the more forward thinking governement agencies and charities have even managed to get their beermats paid for. How, by selling the reverse of the beermat to a third party. Becuase beermats can have different design both front and back, a charity for example, could have their message on one side and their ‘sponsors’ on the other.

Other companies getting in on the act are taxi and and private hire businesses. They have recognised that 1000 full colour beermats for under £100 can really get their advertising message over to a targeted audience.

For those that are concerned about the environment, genuine beermats are made of pulp board, you have to be careful, there are a good number of ‘fales’ out there, therefore, genuine beermats are 100% recyclable.

Some beermat manufacturers, such as UK based Thirstys, even offer distribution. So you can order 100,000 beermats and have them delivered to a targeted number of pubs in you area. Great! That notwithstanding, the landlords are often grateful for free beermats, given the average pub will consume 1000 beermats per month. But because beermats are reusable, you can be sure, that before they get replaced, they will have been seen by 100’s of people.

Now it is even possible to buy pre-pinted beermats, for Birthdays, anniversaries, or if you prefer, business, customer service and sales message. These can typically be purchased online through Beermat Stores.

So next time you see a beermats, remember it probably has a story to tell and the people using this medium are wise to the ways of making their advertising money work for them and if that was not enough, they probably care about the environment as well.

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