Saturday, November 10, 2007

Hallmark Catering to Baby Boomers

A couple of weeks ago I was one of seven bloggers invited to a one day conference at the Hallmark Headquarters in Kansas City, MO. (Four of the seven were baby boomers).

Hallmark wanted to get feedback from us on their new line of encouragement cards called Journeys. The cards are supposed to reflect a change in our emotions. Sure, birthdays, anniversaries and get well cards have always been important, but in the 21st century we’re also dealing with issues like menopause, cancer support, divorce, aging parents, empty nests, weight loss, etc. Hallmark is trying to reflect that change.

I must admit that I was impressed by the Company’s initiative. They took the time to research each blogger and knew what we brought to the table. And they didn't turn the event into one great media campaign blitz to show how they "reach out and touch" with the company President & CEO. They were very unassuming. As a matter of fact, I didn't even know Don Hall, Jr. was the head man when he spoke because he was quite soft-spoken and didn't dress like he had just stepped out of GQ Magazine.

What also impressed me was the fact that they had obviously given careful thought and consideration to baby boomers. After all, we are the ones who have the largest purchasing power. Cater to us and you’re bound to be successful. Furthermore, Hallmark took the time to seek out bloggers who were writing about the very subjects they think are important.

BUT---Hallmark has definitely missed the point when it comes to marketing to the menopausal crowd. The one card they introduced read:

(outside) “What’s the worst thing about Menopause?”
(inside) “Men don’t get it!”

OK…that’s just plain stupid! I would be totally insulted if my girlfriends sent me that card. There was obviously no thought---and probably no woman who had an input on that card. They would be smart if they did away with it.

Then there’s Maxine. Ten years ago, she was the hottest thing going (no pun intended), but today Maxine is OUTDATED. She represents MY mother and she is definitely post menopausal. As a woman currently going through menopause, I represent a NEW FACE. I’m classy, a little bit sassy and a woman who is on the move and making a difference! I am not living my mother’s menopause and Maxine does not represent me.

Thank you again Hallmark for the invite and, as fellow blogger Stephanie (www.backinskinnyjeans) said, if other companies want to know how to impress the average consumer, they need to take a page out of the Hallmark "this is how we do it blogger style" manual.

If you want to see more about the trip, check out the video on YouTube:


Karen Obannon said...

I agree with you totally when you say the face of menopause has changed. Everything about is much younger than our mothers when they went through. I do appreciate their gesture, though. I'm sure that as they continue to explore the subject, their ideas will improve.

Debbie said...

Indeed! We are not living in the dark-ages...let's face it, to spark attention on a subject that has been sadly 'tainted' & 'worn', you need to dress it up a bit!
I echo Karen's sentiments and hope they do further exploring to improve their ideas.