Hallmark Produces Layoff Greeting Cards

Melissa Block talks with Derek McCracken. He's a creative director with Hallmark Greeting Cards, which has a line of cards for job loss.

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MELISSA BLOCK, Host:

Picture a greeting card with a photo of a Persian cat's scowling face on the front. Heard about your job, it says. Open it up, it reads: Is there anywhere I could hack up a hairball, like, say, on a former employer's head? Just wondering. That's from a line of job loss greeting cards from Hallmark, some offering humor, others compassion. Timely in this period of nine percent unemployment.

Here's Derek McCracken, creative director with Hallmark, reading from another card. This one has a lemon on the front.

DEREK MCCRACKEN: Life gave her a lemon, a really big lemon. She started to make lemonade, but then she thought, what the heck, and made a martini with a twist instead. And on the inside, it says, I think you'll handle this like you do everything else - in your own unique way and everything will be more than okay.

And what consumers have said is that validates who the person is versus what they do and, you know, a cocktail never hurts.

BLOCK: Yeah, what is the idea behind the cards? What's the message that you think you're trying to send?

MCCRACKEN: A job loss is temporary and that it doesn't define the person.

BLOCK: If I were to go looking for these cards at a Hallmark store, where would I find them? What would the little note be above them? If some would say, sympathy or birthday or wedding, what would these say?

MCCRACKEN: It would range from appropriate for job loss. They might say encouragement. They might say, tough time, you can do it. So, we kind of focus on the hopeful side of things versus dwelling on the situation.

BLOCK: Yeah.

MCCRACKEN: There's one that features a speedometer on the cover and it says, I know you, you don't do slow. On the inside, it says, it's got to be hard for you. You're used to a much quicker pace, but try to relax. I'm sure they're holding your spot in the fast lane. And so what's nice about that is it may appeal to a more masculine customer and it also acknowledges that they're used to doing things on their own terms in a rapid fashion. But if you have something like your job that you no longer have anymore, you know, acknowledging that it's got to be hard for them.

BLOCK: Yeah. How did the idea come about to have a line of cards tailored to job loss?

MCCRACKEN: Wow. It was just that macro trend around the economy where there were layoffs and consumers were asking us for something that was more specific to the situation.

BLOCK: So you're saying this idea actually came from people who buy cards, from customers?

MCCRACKEN: Yeah. They sent us letters. They phoned it in. They asked their retailers, you know, in their neighborhood, where do I find a card that says this? And again, loss of job, like any loss, is a grieving process. And so we have to acknowledge as soon as possible what had happened and then try to support them. So that's where we kind of offer more cards on the, you'll get through this, versus dwelling on the loss of the job itself.

BLOCK: Well, how are these cards selling?

MCCRACKEN: 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're publishing more of those.

BLOCK: Anybody raising any concerns about whether you're, you know, exploiting a bad situation in some way?

MCCRACKEN: 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's what the greeting card does is offer a bridge.

BLOCK: Derek McCracken is a creative director with Hallmark Greeting Card Company. We were talking about their line of job loss cards. Mr. McCracken, thanks very much.

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