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Do You Want a Card With That?

$1.8 billion in flowers, $4 billion in jewelry. With one marketer, you only have to say it in words.

Around the time you are working your way through the chocolates and flower vases today, take a moment to consider that this moment is a marketer’s creation and dream – accounting for 150 to 192 million exchanged valentines worldwide depending on the source you site.

Statistically, 50 percent of you have bought your card and sentimental gift no earlier than six days ago and you have contributed to making this day number four when it comes to candy sales. (Halloween, Easter and Christmas trump Valentine’s Day when it comes to the sweets.)

But in a digital age, as an advertising agency, try to be one that must represent the 3,000 greeting card manufacturers that sell the paper cards on Valentine’s Day.  Or any other day that is a national or personal holiday. Sending a card, getting us to be punctual rather than spontaneous is no longer an easy sell.

And then there was Hallmark.

Recently this king of cards embarked on a new brand campaign with its long time advertising agency Leo Burnett, Chicago. After researching their position among the heaviest users – women the corporation asked moms and grandmothers for their point of view. This research uncovered that the “little moments” in between life’s milestones is what needed to be noted and commemorated – hence the latest tag line, “Life is a special occasion.”

It is a strong – what we often call – big idea because not only can it apply to any and all times the customer needs to buy a card, but it recognizes that a spur of the moment gesture can be that much more memorable when it arrives in your mailbox not your e-mailbox.

It is a campaign that asks us to remember to do something meaningful, make now the opportunity to say something important that the recipient wants to/should hear – even if you need the poets of Hallmark to help you along. And in an industry that on the surface would appear to have a lot of technology woes, consider that the Greeting Card Association claims that we Americans purchase seven billion greeting cards every year as compared with only 500 million e-cards sent worldwide.  Better yet, if you are like most, you are likely to save the precious paper cards you have been sent  -- pixels cannot allow you to do that.

So enjoy the traditions of the day – along with Canada, Mexico, Britain, France, Australia, Denmark and Italy.  And prepare for the advertising onslaught for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. These home-grown holidays are most popular for seasonal cards too – only they follow Christmas/holiday cards and Valentines.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

EJ48 February 15, 2012 at 01:36 PM
At $4.49 plus tax for an ordinary Hallmark Card pixels are starting to become very appealing. But I'm just a man.
Lauren B. Lev February 15, 2012 at 04:18 PM
That's the enormous problem card manufacturers are facing. They are trying to address this (no pun intended) with a variety of different price points (including $.99 versions) but costs and postage continue to rise. Now it becomes an issue of whether or not it is really important for you and me to hold the sentiment in our hands or in our inboxes.
James M. February 20, 2012 at 07:46 PM
I have a great idea. Instead of wasting time and money going, finding, writing, and sending a card...................pick up the phone or talk to them and tell them. I know it very anti-capitalism of me but we waste so much money on junk in the US and most of it ends up in a landfill, especially if you give a card to a masculine man. Usually they spend just enough time so you think they read it and then when your back is turned.........throw it out.
Lauren B. Lev February 21, 2012 at 05:52 PM
I can appreciate what you are saying, though the association that supports this industry and its link: http://www.greetingcard.org/AbouttheIndustry/tabid/58/Default.aspx suggests that "... in a national survey...nearly one-third of respondents said they keep the special cards they receive 'forever.'" Like the email or phone call, the card industry is constantly competing against faster, cheaper, more immediate and more green alternatives. It's an uphill battle for sure.


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