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Second To None - Part 1
Canadian printers have historically proven their power on the world stage with innovation and technical expertise


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By:  Nick Howard  |  Date: October 2016  |  Contact the Author
Part 1 | Part 2
The enormity of America seems to engulf us all in Canada. We are captivated by everything American – from media to politics. Often times we Canadians ponder our relevance to Americans and wonder why so little regard is shown to the country to the north along the world’s longest undefended border. Perhaps we shudder, especially now when so much talk from the GOP party is about a perceived crisis in defending its boundaries (to the south). Protectionism has been brought to a boil. This never works out well. Just take a moment and study the world’s history. The North American Free trade Agreement (NAFTA) gets mentioned as a failed agreement. Very worrisome for all sorts of industries from automobiles to printed goods.

The answer to our southern cousins’ seeming disinterest in us however is not a slight and certainly not on purpose. Canada and say the state of Maine are simply looked at the same. They neither provoke discussion, worry or interest. We Canadians are just extended family that live in a peaceful non-threatening place. Americans know Canadians love hockey and Maine has great lobster.

Selling into the U.S.
Of course, we two nations are similar but different. It seems to consider oneself a success we need to make our mark outside Canada. But our Canadian printing industry has grown its own share of successes and we sometimes forget that we are capable and smart enough to lead companies, create new products, open new frontiers and all the while do it in our own country. In my past travels I’ve always had a sense of pride when I’ve seen some Canadian product in a far off location. In Budapest Hungary I was in a plant that ran a trio of Arpeco trackers. This was years before both Arpeco Engineering and Rotoflex International (another Canadian firm) were acquired by American Mark Andy.

Or seeing a Loach laydown delivery on the back of a Martini BBA perfect binder in Leeds England. Loach Engineering was a Canadian firm run by Roy Loach who developed key components for the Sheridan division of Harris Intertype.

It’s one thing to spot commodities or perhaps I-beams with “Made in Canada” emblazoned but these can be regarded as commodities for the most part. Canada has an abundance of natural resources so digging potash out a Saskatchewan tunnel or iron ore from Labrador doesn’t mean the same as those who think of ideas and find a way to be successful internationally.

In 1947, Lawrence Pollard took a sleepy family business that was started back in Winnipeg in 1907, and built it into a world renowned specialist in security printing. Lottery tickets are a core segment of their business. With sales of approximately a quarter billion dollars, Pollard continues to invest in technology and people having plants in both Canada and the United States.

As a graphics arts company since 1907, Pollard Banknote has a rich heritage of creating eye-catching designs for a variety of media. As an instant lottery ticket supplier since 1985, we fully understand how the creative and visual aspects of ticket design must integrate with security standards and meet the technical requirements of printing processes to produce a successful instant ticket. It’s highly skilled pre-press professionals provide full creative design and technical art services. This talented group generates thousands of designs annually for all of our customers— including original designs for live tickets, art for focus group sessions, instant game support materials, and designs for research and development initiatives.

In August 2016, for example, Pollard Banknote Limited of Winnipeg, Manitoba, has been awarded a four-year contract to serve as the primary scratch game supplier to the Minnesota State Lottery. Under this agreement, Pollard Banknote will continue as the Lottery’s primary scratch game vendor, but expects to increase ticket volumes supplied, with a guarantee in the new contract of at least 70 percent of all scratch games purchased for every year of the contract.

The new contract runs until June 30, 2020 with the potential for two one-year contract extensions. The contract value is estimated to be approximately US$11.2 million over the four years. Pollard Banknote is currently a lottery partner to more than 60 lotteries worldwide. The company was first awarded a secondary scratch game contract for the Minnesota Lottery in 2007 and was elevated to primary supplier in 2010. By focusing on industry innovations and winning strategies, the scratch game category generated 69 percent of total Minnesota Lottery sales for FY2015.

“Leveraging Pollard Banknote’s experience working with a variety of lottery jurisdictions worldwide, our strategies incorporate the best of the best in utilizing innovations to maximize scratch ticket sales that raise money for good causes,” said Byron Peterson, Director, Sales & Marketing, Pollard Banknote. “The Minnesota State Lottery does a fantastic job of executing those strategies.”

To date, the Minnesota Lottery has brought a range of Pollard Banknote’s products and licensed brands to market, including the PlayBook, Scratch FX and Spectrum Scratch FX. It was also the first Lottery to launch Scratch FX at the $20 price point.

Most recently, the Lottery’s launch of a $5 Frogger game (a licensed brand offered exclusively by Pollard Banknote) had fiveweek average sales that were 82 percent higher than all other $5 games launched in Minnesota since 2013. It was the lottery’s best-selling ticket at this price point. “We are very excited to continue our strong partnership with Pollard Banknote,” said Michael Vekich, Acting Director, Minnesota Lottery. “We rely heavily on our primary printing partner for design, marketing and strategy leadership – a partner proven to help the Lottery drive its scratch sales. Pollard Banknote offers everything we seek from a scratch game printer – guidance and expertise in research, marketing and product innovation.”

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