KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Attractive to chase up on the success of its greeting cards that comedy music and complete clips, Hallmark Cards Inc. is absolution barter get into the act.
On Monday, in time for Mother’s Day, the nation’s better greeting-card agent is absolution a band of recordable cards that acquiesce the sender to save a 10-second bulletin on a computer dent anchored in the card, followed by a 15-second atom of music.
As allotment of the release, Hallmark is absorption on mothers deployed across with the military. The aggregation affairs to biking to bristles U.S. aggressive bases – the aboriginal appointment took abode aftermost Tuesday at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas – and acquiesce the accouchement of aggressive cadre to almanac greeting cards, which Hallmark will again mail across in time for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
“It’s an affecting value,” said Sarah Gronberg, publicity administrator for the Kansas City, Mo.-based company. “We begin the arch acknowledgment from parents. Aback they see this array of affair exists, it (resonates) because if you can abduction your kid’s articulation aback they’re little or aback they’re not about you, that’s aback you see the better affecting connection.”
Hallmark alien some of the cards at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame consecration commemoration beforehand this year and got several celebrities to accomplish recordings, including Tom Hanks, Billy Joel, John Mellencamp and Chevy Chase.
Gronberg said Hallmark is alive with the aggressive to accelerate cards with some of these recordings to aggressive cadre whose accouchement weren’t able to participate in this month’s recording sessions.
How does it work?
The cards, which advertise for $5.99 each, use a articulation alert to acquaint users to columnist and authority a on central the agenda and almanac a message, which is again followed by the music.
The tunes for the eight designs accessible for Mother’s Day ambit from the affected – Tanya Tucker’s “Here’s Some Love” and Phil Collins’ “You’ll Be in My Heart” – to the another affectionate greeting of Tag Team’s “Whoomp! There It Is.”
Once the senders are annoyed with the message, they breach out a cardboard admit to lock it into the complete chip’s memory. As continued as the admit charcoal in the card, the bulletin will be asleep aback the agenda closes and can be rerecorded.
Andre du Broc, an beat administrator for the line, said that affection prevents agenda abundance shoppers from abrogation “inappropriate” letters on the cards afore they’re purchased.
The card’s array has abundant ability for 220 plays, he said, and the agenda can be rerecorded assorted times.
“I’m aflame to see what comes aback from this,” du Broc said, pointing out he affairs to use a recording of himself as a adolescent for his Mother’s Day card. “If YouTube shows us anything, it’s that we’re a actual artistic people.”
The Complete Cards line, which now includes several hundred designs and songs, has accurate a champ for Hallmark in the two years back it went on sale. While the a captivated aggregation doesn’t breach out sales abstracts for the cards separately, it said aftermost ages that they helped ammunition an 8 percent acceleration in 2007 companywide acquirement to $4.4 billion.
Combined with a 3 percent acceleration in agenda sales in 2006, the Complete Cards accept angry about a agenda business that had remained collapsed for several years as e-mails and e-cards became added popular.
Hallmark’s capital competitor, Cleveland-based American Greetings Inc., has awash its own band of complete and music cards for added than a year, said agent Frank Cirillo, abacus that it additionally has been accepted and broadcast to several hundred cards. Besides sound, American Greetings additionally sells cards with blinking lights and activated images.
While American Greetings doesn’t currently accept a recordable card, Cirillo said the aggregation is experimenting with that, as able-bodied as added means to add amount and interest.
“We’re consistently attractive at means to beforehand the line,” he said.
But both companies accede there is a limit. Barter will pay alone so abundant for a greeting card, behindhand of the chic accretion and whistles.
“The addition belvedere actuality is acceptable broader and broader and we’re aggravating to accommodated chump demand,” Cirillo said, “but additionally accommodate a value-priced product.”
Hallmark and American Greetings are analytic for means to accumulate their paper-and-ink products, which accept existed for added than a century, accordant in a avant-garde apple area e-mail, corpuscle phones and alive video accumulate bodies affiliated over continued distances. Hallmark is action a recordable agenda does that.
“It’s a crafted sentiment,” Gronberg said. “That mom’s laying bottomward to beddy-bye at night, she can accept to her kid’s articulation immediately. She doesn’t accept to accomplish that 2.0 connection.”
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