American Greetings Finds the Words Amid the Difficult Moments of Love

Mad Libs for your heart

American Greetings
Headshot of Angela Natividad

It is very, very hard to be a greeting card company in the digital age, where we don’t even have time to open our e-cards. (They’re usually just full of inanely grinning dancing heads anyway, so…)

But never mind that. So many of the most important things we have to say—take “I love you,” for example—are made cheap by repetition. But we rely so heavily on language that it’s easy to ignore the silences between us that are pregnant with significance, often because the words we could use to express them haven’t been shared yet.

Imagine being a greeting card company and trying to build a positioning on that. For Valentine’s Day, that’s exactly what American Greetings aims to do.

Created by MullenLowe, “What It Means to Love” is the third chapter in the brand’s “Give Meaning” campaign. And while that title sounds as trite as the homilies so often found in typical greeting cards, the work itself has gone out of its way to explore difficult themes with the weight they deserve.

“Not Alone,” the first installment, explored the fertility journey of a real couple. “Tattoo,” also inspired by life, elegantly transformed a cheesy phrase into a symbol of how mother-daughter relationships can be both painful and talismanic. (Not unlike a tattoo, really.)

While “What It Means to Love” feels more like a montage of complex emotional scenarios, its heart is in the same place as its predecessors’. It explores the moments where silence, or even anger, are significant because they actually represent a wide constellation of loves. We know this in life, even if we have trouble putting what we know into practice.

Maybe that’s what greeting cards are actually for.

The ad was inspired by a Harris Poll survey conducted in January among 2,275 U.S. adults, in which the brand discovered 89 percent of Americans said good communication is critical to a healthy relationship. It will be diffused in :90, :30 and :15 variants.

American Greetings:
President and Chief Operating Officer: John Beeder
EVP, Chief Commercial Officer: Christy Kaprosy
Chief Marketing Officer: Alex Ho
Senior Manager, Digital Marketing: Elizabeth Kudla
Director, Consumer Marketing Communications: Janet Dye
Director, Engagement Marketing: Christine Rich
Director, Corporate Communications: Patrice Molnar

Creative Credits:
Brand: American Greetings
Agency: MullenLowe
Managing Partner Chief Creative Officer: Mark Wenneker
Executive Creative Directors: Tim Vaccarino, Dave Weist
Creative Director: Andrea Mileskiewicz
Creative Director: Blake Winfree
Senior Art Director: Jessica Grantham
Junior Copywriter: Kristina Saliba
Executive Director of Integrated Production: Lisa Setten
Head of Integrated Production: Zeke Bowman
Broadcast Producer: Danene DiCicco
Assistant Broadcast Producer: Sarah Brennan-Athas
Business Affairs Manager: Lindy Agron
Group Account Director: Rebekah Pagis
Account Director: Penn Clarke
Account Executive: Hannah Duhaime

Production Company: Park Pictures
Director: The Mercadantes
Executive Producer: Scott Howard
Line Producer: Maya Owings
DP: Daniel Mercadante
Editorial: PS260
Editor: JJ Lask
Assistant Editor: Tara O’Sullivan
Head of Production: Laura Patterson
Junior Producer: Marlinda Walcott
Motion Graphics/Title Design: Patrick Lavin, Michael Marciano
Producer: Meg Bailey
Audio Post: Sound Lounge
Sound Design/Mixer: Tom Jucarone
Color Grading: Nice Shoes
Colorist: Chris Ryan

@luckthelady Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.