MullenLowe, American Greetings Show Us How Pumping Iron Is Exactly Like Writing a Heartfelt Note

By Patrick Coffee 

Another holiday season has passed, which is maybe kind of a good thing for anybody who has young kids or dislikes treacly advertising and Netflix originals.

But since it’s still a day ending in Y, we do have some overly emotional campaigns ripe for the skewering.

MullenLowe’s latest for longtime client American Greetings (since 2013) requires one to suspend that disbelief like a set of barbells by comparing the physical demands of intense exercise–like the kind you see in ads, not the kind real people do–to the emotional work required to write a personal note on a card perfectly designed to help convey the things you’re feeling at the time.


Now make sure you’re in a comfortable chair with a nice soft barbell to squeeze.

“Was this the hardest thing you did today?” our helpful narrator asks, and the next part of the question, were he asking, might involve whether it was more difficult to lift that massive weight or send a message to someone who’s no longer with us.

“Connections Build Us” is the new brand platform, but it’s all an extension of the “Give Meaning” campaign that wisely focuses on what these cards might deliver rather than the products themselves (which aren’t much to speak of, really).

Seems like a bit much, but the brand consultants over at Forbes say it works, so you should probably just go with their take.

And yeah, there is something to be said for making that little effort to write something on paper, a message shared between two people as opposed to a tweet designed to attract maximum attention.