Hallmark cards are de facto gifts to celebrate or mark occasions—whether it’s a birthday, anniversary or even a good grade on a test. In a move that highlights the current economic environment, consumers will now also be able to purchase and give a Hallmark card when somebody loses a job.
Derek McCracken, creative director at Hallmark, told NPR's "All Things Considered" that the idea to create cards that lift the spirits of the recently unemployed came from the company’s own customers. “People in times of need will always need to connect, and when the consumers have asked us for a way to connect in those difficult situations, we try to respond in an authentic way and we think that what the greeting card does, is offer a bridge," said McCracken.
And through that, Hallmark has found a way to take advantage of a unique opportunity in the current economic landscape. However, employment being a serious emotional issue, Hallmark needed to make sure that they navigated these waters by showing the utmost respect for the unemployed in order to not appear insensitive. How did the company manage that? By using these cards to offer encouragement and hope with a dose of humor.
When asked how these cards are selling, McCracken said, “The ones that offer more moral support, but maybe with a little humorous twist in a more encouraging fashion, are doing very well and we are publishing more of those.”
McCracken was smart to take to the airwaves and preempt criticism, but we can't help wondering what plan Hallmark has in case there is a customer backlash.