American Greeting has launched its Live Greetings app. The app brings the greeting card company's cards, such as the Yakety Yaks cards, to life as digital experiences. Customers can personalize digital cards with personalized voice messages using the app. The free app can be found here on itunes.com and here on Google Play.
Eliza Wing, director of digital brands at American Greetings, says in a statement, "The convenience of an app that allows users to send both a card and a personalized voice message, through the ease of their phone, is ideal. Recognizing that smart phones are integral to our consumer's lives and knowing the power of receiving a personalized voice message on ones' special occasion, Live Greetings brings it all together and takes making meaningful connection to a whole new level."
Hallmark Partners With Marvel for Guardians of the Galaxy Collection
Hallmark has partnered with Marvel for a Guardians of the Galaxy collection. The collection of stationery and social expressions products will star the film's intergalactic characters Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket Raccoon. The collection will also include greeting cards, party supplies, wrapping paper and ornaments. The film, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, will arrive in theaters on July 14, 2013.
Paul Gitter, senior vice president, licensing, Marvel at Disney Consumer Products, said in a release, "There is so much excitement and enthusiasm in the marketplace for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy. Hallmark joins an impressive roster of licensees who have formed the cornerstone of a merchandising program that will extend the film to consumers in fresh and interesting ways."
American Greeting Corporation went private last month. It was acquired by the Weiss Family for $19 per share. The total amount of the buyout was over $600 million. American Greetings has been creating and manufacturing greeting cards for over $100 years. The deal was approved by shareholders at a special meeting held on August 7, 2013 at the company headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio. The company had been receiving proposals about going private from the Weiss Family since as early as Q3 2012.
Chief Executive Officer Zev Weiss said in a statement on the closing date, "Today is a milestone in the Company's history as shareholders approved the Weiss Family proposal to make American Greetings a privately held company and that transaction was closed today."
President and COO Jeff Weiss said, "Our family has guided the Company for more than 100 years and we are excited to see American Greetings return to its roots as a family-owned business."
A news story about the acquisition in the Cleveland Plain Dealer says the acquisition was overwhelmingly approved by share holders.
Husband and Wife Team Behind Old Tom Foolery Make Cards in Their Basement
CBS Minneapolis reports that Joel and Lauren Gryniewski make edgy creating cards out of their basement. The husband and wife team have their Old Tom Foolery cards in 600 boutiques nationwide, including Papyrus and Target. The cards can be found online at oldtomfoolery.com. The couple say they try to make the cards "high quality, humorous and gender neutral." Take a look:
Traditional Greeting Cards in Decline But Remain Popular for Special Occasions
Marketwatch has an article about the future of traditional greeting cards - print cards delivered by snail mail. The industry is battling the rise of ecards and social networks. The big greeting card companies do have their own ecard lines, but sales of traditional cards have been declining over the past 10 years. Marketwatch says they have fallen 60% in this period.
Despite the decline there are some occasions for which traditional cards are still preferred. The Marketwatch article says Facebook and ecards do not threaten these five occasions: sympathy cards, Mother's Day, bar mitzvahs, partner's birthdays and wedding anniversaries.
It will really be up to the next generation as to whether print cards persist or slowly fade away. If they still enjoy holding and sending physical cards then there is no danger of print cards going away, at least not for the more important holidays and events. We suspect that the joy a child gets from receiving a physical birthday or Halloween card will be enough to keep print cards around, even in a world filled with apps, ecards and social networks. However, it is possible the cost per card will rise as fewer cards are sent and less are produced.
Hallmark runs different greeting card contests through its Hallmark Card Contests. Hallmark is currently running a Kids & Critters greeting card contest. The company is seeking cards that feature a photograph of a kid and a pet for this contest. Designs and illustrations will not be accepted. Hallmark says, "Use a photo of a pet and a child, along with your original writing, to create a fun, sweet, or silly card."
Submissions will be accepted until February 24, 2013. The prize is $250 if your card is put up for sale online and another $250 if it is sold in stores. You can find all the details at hallmarkcontests.com.
First Dog Bo is Featured on 2012 White House Holiday Card
First Dog Bo is featured on the 2012 White House Holiday card. Bo is scene is front of the White House playing in the snow. The card was designed by Larassa Kabel, a professional artist from Des Moines, Iowa. The White House says Larassa has a dog of her own at home, which is why she decided to feature Bo on the card.
Hallmark has announced a new greeting card contest called "Celebrate Dads." Hallmark says, "Dads teach us so much, from how to make perfect lines with the lawn mower to how to become a person with integrity and wisdom. Use your photo and original writing to create a Father's Day card that could be sent to any dad. The writing can be sweet or funny."
Submissions for the contest will be accepted until August 26. Hallmark says winners receive $250 U.S. You can find more about the contest here.
The Greeting Card Association (GCA) announced the the 24th Annual LOUIE finalists and winners in 54 different categories at a special gala event at Espace on 42nd St. in Manhattan on May 20th.
The Card of the Year in the Above $3.50 category was first-time LOUIE entrant Maginating's bacon and egg card (pictured above). The card was also the winner of the Romantic Occasions Above $3.50 category. Blue Ribbon judge and next year's LOUIE chair, Monika Brandrup from Up With Paper, said in a statement, "The quality of the luxurious heavyweight cotton stock, beautifully letter-pressed, and topped off with smart design, captures the simple pleasures in daily life, all in one neat little card."
In the $3.50 or less category, the Card of the Year winner was an Ecka & Pecka card (pictured below), designed by Amy Smyth, that exemplifies the joy and humor in welcoming a newborn baby. Brandrup says, "This card just simply gives you a feel-good, warm and fuzzy feeling all over."
You can see a list of the winners in each category here. A list with card images can be found here.
A Virginia man received a postcard from his mother 55 years after it was sent.
The card was postmarked in 1957. The card somehow wound up in Daytona Beach last month and the people who received forwarded to the man. The man said it was a "very pleasant surprise." Take a look:
Target Pulls Whitney Houston Greeting Card Off Store Shelves
ABC Newsreports that Target has pulled a Whitney Houston greeting card off store shelves. Target was carrying the card before Whitney's death.
The text of the card says, "Next time you think of dating the bad boy, consider Whitney Houston. That's all I'm going to say."
Target released the following statement: "It is never our intent to offend guests with the products we offer, and we take feedback from guests very seriously. The card was in our stores prior to Ms. Houston's death. As soon as this was brought to our attention, we began the process of removing the card from all applicable stores."
24th Annual LOUIE Award Winners to be Announced in May
THe LOUIE Awards are annual awards for the best greeting cards held by the Greeting Card Association. Judges recently scored each greeting card entry based on five categories: Originality, Impact, Design Excellence, Sendability and Value. The judges will choose three entrants in each category as a finalists to receive a LOUIE Award. You can see a photo of the judges judging here.
The most coveted award, "Card of the Year" (there are two winners, one from each price break), is determined by a Blue Ribbon panel of judges following the 2-day judging process. The Blue Ribbon panel is subgroup of the larger panel.
The winners will be announced at the LOUIE Awards gala on Sunday, May 20, at Espace in New York City, during the National Stationery Show.
Here is a list of this year's judges:
Elaine Barker Owner, Paper Potpourri
Monika Brandrup VP and Creative Director, Up With Paper
Violet Brandwein Buyer, Kate's Paperie
Rob Fortier Principal, Center Aisle Group
Nole Garey Founder and Editor, Oh So Beautiful Paper
Carol Hayden PaperSource
Meryl Hooker Manufacturer's Representative and Principal, Center Aisle Group
Ginger McCleskey Manufacturer's Representative, Queen of Hearts Cards
Karen McGhee Card Buyer, Barnes & Noble
Ann McGillicuddy Art Director, Hallmark
Erin Miller Co-Owner, Haute Papier
Joanna Mohr Art Director, American Greetings
Gentry O'Neill Owner, Paper on the Avenue
Megan Patrick Content Director, HOW Magazine
Sarah Schwartz Editor, Stationery Trends
Stacey Smith Buyer, Binders Art
Allyson Van Houten Marketing Specialist, Mohawk Paper and Curator, Felt and Wire Shop
Hallmark Launches Line of Cards for Recently Unemployed
Hallmark has has launched a greeting card line for people who have lost their jobs. The layoff card line includes serious and humorous cards. One of the cards calls the layoffs as a time period between stupid bosses. The cards could be helpful to those recently laid off, but senders have to be careful not to come off as insensitive. Take a look:
American Greetings Talking Yakety Yak Greeting Cards
Here are some videos of American Greetings' Yakety Yak line of greeting cards and ecards. The cards, which include garbage cans, toilets, food and coffee cups, have googly eyes and sometimes say obnoxious things. The Hamburger version won Card of the Year at the LOUIE Awards. Take a look;
23rd Annual LOUIE Awards Winners Announced at Gala Event
The Greeting Card Association (GCA) named the winners of the 23rd Annual LOUIE awards at a gala event in May at Espace in Manhattan. The card winners are separated by category and price. In each category there is an above $3.50 winner and a $3.50 and below winner.
American Greetings won Card of the Year in the Above $3.50 category with its Hamburger Hamburger Yakety Yaks card (pictured on the right). The winner in the $3.50 and Below Card of the Year prize went to icanhascheezburger and Madison Park Group's Best. Day. Ever card.
You can see a list of winners in all 53 categories here on the GCA website.
Here is a video from the LOUIE awards gala. Take a look: