Ake2 copyOn the 30th Anniversary of the formation of IPPO, in September 2004, founder member, Åke E Andersson gave a presentation that shed some light on the original roots of the organisation: 

Dear IPPOs, dear guests, ladies and gentlemen,

All journalists are used to manuscripts. I´m using one at this occasion due to the fact, that I´ve promised to tell the truth, the full truth and nothing but the truth about the conception of IPPO!

The idea of International Packaging Press Organisation was truly conceived in the night of 25th of September 1974 onboard a ferry ship running from Helsingborg in Sweden to Elsinor in Denmark and back.

The resulting birth took place (as could be rightly expected) almost nine months later at the Interpack 1975 here in Düsseldorf.

What did, actually, happen that Conception night of September 1974?

For myself, I was at that time editor-in-chief for the magazine Pack-Distribution in Sweden. Our magazine had organized a two days International Packaging Press Seminar in Helsingborg. To the Seminar, we had invited following colleagues from different countries:

  • Paolo Bagnara, Imballagio, Italy
  • Otto van Bochove, Verpakking, Holland
  • Pauline Covell, Packaging Review, England
  • Kjell Drewsen, Emballage, Denmark
  • Günter Greiner, Packung und Transport, Germany
  • Bruce Holmgren, Package Engineering, USA
  • Thomas M Jones, Modern Packaging, USA
  • Hans Kirsten, Neue Verpackung, Germany
  • Axel Leblois, Emballages, France
  • Per Christian Olander, Emballering, Norway
  • Aimo Poutiainen, Pakkaus, Finland
  • Luis Sicre, Idé, Spain
  • Raymond Silk, Packaging News, England

As far as I remember, all of the invited guests arrived sober and happy. After the Seminar, we journalists had a night of our own with a closing dinner at Marienlyst hotel in Elsinore. That night on the ferry trips, the first ideas for an International packaging press organisation were seeded.

Background

During many years, packaging magazines in Europe had been part of a special press section within the European Packaging Federation, which was ruled mainly by European packaging institutions and fair organizers. Magazines were members, journalists not. The publishers were satisfied, the journalists were concerned over their dependence of fair companies and advertising firms.
Added to that was the fact, that packaging had become more and more global. We met with colleagues from non-European countries, who from formal reasons could not be members of the European Packaging press society. There was a need for an international organisation.
So, during that special night we were discussing the independence of journalists and the possibilities for ourselves to create a sort of powerful institution for packaging journalists.
In the following months, a small group of colleagues from different countries were busy working for the coming creation of Ippo. We had a few basic guidelines:

  1. The new organisation should consist of packaging journalists, not of packaging magazines. Individuals were members, organisations or companies not.
  2. The organisation would be non-profit.
  3. By joining forces, we could influence fair organizers to deal with our wishes, to establish efficient press rooms and good facilities for journalists etc. Or we could spirit companies to hand-out senseful press releases and meet with packaging journalists in a sensibel way. Etc.
  4. But, first and overruling everything else, was the need to create a forum for friends, where fierce competitors and professional antagonists could meet and enjoy their colleagues as warm and friendly human beings. Yes, an organisation for friends – that was the main object.

In that spirit, IPPO was founded and born. The approved constitution reflects these thoughts.

As it happened, there was only one female colleague onboard the ferry that conception night.

So it is firmly true, that Ippo has many fathers, but only one mother, Pauline, mother of us all!

I´m one of the remaining fathers. Most of the others are dead or out of business. Wonderful characters, all of them, mourned by their remaining colleagues.

At the founding meeting in Düsseldorf, after a little hullaballo, the first board was chosen. I became the President, Otto van Bochove, the vice President, Pauline Covell the General Secretary, Bert de la Roche the Treasurer.

And then life with IPPO began.

Living with IPPO had its points

One initial rule for the members was to use first names. No problems with the Americans, or with the Scandinavians or British. But, it took a certain period of time before our German colleagues, used to their polite Herr Doktor or Herr Kollega, or our French and Italian members, used to their traditional collegial courtesy, would dare to say first name to each other. They were on first name with everyone else, but not with their national colleagues. Therefore, our discussions were sometimes extra circumstantial.

A special problem was our evil eyes. At least in the first nine years, when I was your President, we were invited to visit many proud companies, presenting their flourishing production systems, their efficient packaging lines, their wonderful new machines. We came and looked: Their production systems cracked, the packaging lines went crazy, their new machines stopped. Factories running smoothly when we came, were ruined when we left.

I remember, especially, a visit to a french liqueur company. We arrived, we saw the very impressive shining alumnium liqueur tanks, the silent men in white jackets, checking their seriously looking and noiseless running instrument panels. We were duly impressed. Then we entered a door to the packing department – and like a bolt from the sky everything went into chaos. Bottles crashed, filling machines were busy flooding the floor with liqueur. A heavy and wonderful smell of liqueur was enveloping us all in this department.

What did we do? We only watched with big eyes. And we said to ourselves: Either these crash down everywhere depend on our evil eyes, or this is the reality in which most companies work.We never got a good answer. But, we understod that if this chaos was a daily routine in packing lines, we as packaging journalists had a lot of good work to do.

When IPPO as an organisation was young and unmatured, we were making fun out of the most sacred things. For instance, when travelling in England in these early days, we learned that each quality dinner had in the end to come to a serious and long awaited halt. Time for the toast to the Queen. After that, finally, smoking was free.

I´m ashamed to admit that some Scandinavian brutes with the same seriousiness introduced the ”Skål to the Scandinavian Icebear”. All Nordic editors raised to their feet, looking straight in each others eyes, gravely drinking the icebear´s toast. Hopefully, all others were truly impressed and moved. And, hopefully, this bad behaviour is since long forgotten and forgiven.

And at some occasions we were singing, with Jormas mighty bariton in the lead, a special IPPO-song based upon a bad translation of a Russian folklore. With Ippo´s growing age, I presume this disputable habit has been removed from our social behaviour? Or has´nt it?

By collecting members fees or contributions from companies interested in our own seminars etc., we could build up an Ippo capital.

This would allow us , as an example, to pay journeys and expenses for colleagues from smaller packaging magazines in different countries, who could not afford to go to the main fairs, for instance. Therefore, sometimes we were happy to invite and provide for colleagues from Eastern Europe, China and other countries. Colleagues then becoming new friends of ippos.

Always, it was funny and happy times when ippos met. At seminars, at rally tours, at study trips, at press conferences, at fairs. Although, my memory is weaker nowadays, I cannot remember from this first decade of Ippos history one singel spiteful comment nor any mean fighting among us. We were friends – and that was it!

These were the old days which I can count. Hopefully, this friendly nature of Ippo has remained in all succeeding years.

Now, I would like to congratulate Ippo to its thirties birthday! And I would like to congratulate all its members who are happy enough to work within a very interesting journalistic sector.

Packaging is a unique branch for a business media man, since it deals with all kinds of products, from foodstuff to woodstuff, from chemical weapons to cosmetics, from electronic products to toys, from dressing costumes to dressing salads. And packaging deals with all kinds of production systems, all kinds of raw materiels, deals with distribution problems, design, pr, merchandising, safety questions, recycling problems, etc.

Seriously speaking, packaging people and, therefore, packaging journalists are technically involved in the most important business of all, namely making it possible, in the long run, to spread our global richnesses to all people in the world. Can your duty be a nobler one?

Åke E Andersson
Past President of IPPO 1975-1984

For photographs of the 30th IPPO Anniversary party – CLICK HERE