Hallmark Seeks Ideas

Taps Shops For Strategic Repositioning
CHICAGO–Hallmark Cards is pushing hard for new ideas from its roster shops and has called in a handful of nonroster agencies to discuss a strategic corporate repositioning. The moves could ultimately affect the direction of its $100 million account, the lead shop for which is Leo Burnett.
Despite a leading 42 percent share of the greeting card market, Hallmark is examining several new creative strategies for its flagship card line. Its latest TV and print campaign, which encourages consumers to check for the Hallmark label, is tagged, “You know what to look for.” It combines the brand-image pitch used for the past several years with a price/value message.
The Kansas City, Mo.-based company is also testing other ad approaches. One, themed “Cards work,” is an effort that promotes the giving of cards, sources said.
Hallmark has scheduled meetings over the next four weeks with its agencies for consumer advertising (Burnett), business-to-business advertising (Valentine Radford in Kansas City, Mo.,) and promotions (SJI Inc. and Erwin Marketing Communications in St. Louis) to discuss future strategies. The company is not threatening to open reviews, sources said, but is pushing for new ideas from its roster shops.
Separately, Hallmark next month will hear presentations from Burnett and a few nonroster shops, believed to include Young & Rubicam, New York. Hallmark has been talking to agencies for several months about recommendations for a “corporate strategic positioning,” according to sources, though not a corporate ad campaign.
Also in July, Burnett is launching a print campaign for Hallmark’s Shoebox greeting cards line with a two-page ad in 16 national consumer magazines. Attached is a lime green envelope that can be redeemed for a free Shoebox card with the purchase of another Hallmark card.
Amanda Hulshof, Hallmark’s manager of marketing media relations, declined comment on the tests and the meetings, but reiterated that Burnett remains Hallmark’s lead agency. Burnett officials would not comment. –with Scott Hum