Weighing In On Hallmark’s Gay Marriage Cards

BRAVO HALLMARK CARDS! Congratulations on your BOLD step! It took courage to roll out Gay Marriage greeting cards! But alas, your announcement fell a little short of the social significance category when included in the annoucement was the admittance, “the move is a response to consumer demand, not any political pressure.”

Sooo, It’s really “Congratulations on a Smart Marketing Strategy.”

Maybe they read my post, “Gay Buying Power: A Force To Be Reckoned WIth”

see: https://msqueer.wordpress.com/2008/08/24/gay-buying-power-a-force-to-be-reckoned-with/

After all, what company in their right profit-seeking minds wouldn’t want to snag a share of the $600 Billion combined buying power of an estimated 15.3 million lesbian and gay consumers? (2006 survey)

But whether the “when you care to send the very best” company intended to or not, it has set itself down right in the middle of right-wing conservative Americans’ vehement anti-gay campaign with a backlash of opinions and proposed boycotts hitting the internet minutes after the initial announcement.

Ya gotta give them conservatives some points for vigilance. They don’t miss a beat – not a moment – no matter how fleeting – when it comes to monitoring the “spread of the gay agenda” in America.

Gay Agenda – now that’s an interesting concept, too. I wonder what it would take for all of us to agree on one specified agenda? Let’s not spill the beans, since they think we’re so organized. Paranoia has been known to affect judgement, not to mention eyesight and the other senses. I have to admit I feel for them sometimes. Living under all that constant stress of feeling threatened by the “Gay Plague” has got to be exhausting. I bet they spend alot of their consumer buying power on high blood pressure medicine.

Anyway, Kudos to Hallmark – regardless of their motivations. They may not have meant to jump into the deep end, but they’re certainly in the swim now! 

Hope you guys have good life preservers and can tread water for a reasonably long time – at least long enough to outlast all the clammer that has and will arise from this somewhat bold move. Take a page out of Proctor and Gamble’s playbook. Zealots thought they were in cahoots with the devil because their logo was supposed to be “satanic symbology.”  P&G outlived them and you’ll do just fine too. -MsQueer

©2008 MsQueer.com and Deborah Adler. All rights reserved.

Here’s the story from AP as reported by CBS News:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/08/21/business/main4369335.shtml 

Hallmark Introduces Gay Marriage Cards

Largest U.S. Greeting Card Company Says It’s Responding To Consumer Demand

 

Most states don’t recognize gay marriage – but now Hallmark does.

 

The nation’s largest greeting card company is rolling out same-sex wedding cards – featuring two tuxedos, overlapping hearts or intertwined flowers, with best wishes inside. “Two hearts. One promise,” one says.

 

Hallmark added the cards after California joined Massachusetts as the only U.S. states with legal gay marriage. A handful of other states have recognized same-sex civil unions.

 

The language inside the cards is neutral, with no mention of wedding or marriage, making them also suitable for a commitment ceremony. Hallmark says the move is a response to consumer demand, not any political pressure.

 

“It’s our goal to be as relevant as possible to as many people as we can,” Hallmark spokeswoman Sarah Gronberg Kolell said.

 

Hallmark’s largest competitor, Cleveland-based American Greetings Corp., has no plans to enter the market, saying its current offerings are general enough to speak to a lot of different relationships.

 

Hallmark started offering “coming out” cards last year, and the four designs of same-sex marriage cards are being gradually released this summer and will be widely available by next year. No sales figures were available yet.

“When I have shopped for situations like babies or weddings for gay friends I have good luck in quirky stores,” said Kathryn Hamm, president of the Web site gayweddings.com.

“But if you are just in a generic store … the bride and groom symbol or words are in most cards,” she said. “It becomes difficult to find some that are neutral but have some style.”

The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimates that more than 85,000 same-sex couples in the United States have entered into a legal relationship since 1997, when Hawaii started offering some legal benefits to same-sex partners.

It estimates nearly 120,000 more couples will marry in California during the next three years – and that means millions of potential dollars for all sorts of wedding-industry businesses.

Hallmark, known more for its Midwest mores than progressive greetings, has added a wider variety lately. It now offers cards for difficulty getting pregnant or going through rehab.

It pulled a controversial card that featured the word “queer” in the punch line after it was criticized by some customers and gay magazine The Advocate last year. At any given time, Hallmark has 200 different wedding cards on the market, including some catering to interracial or inter-religious marriages and blended families.

The Greeting Card Association, a trade group, says it does not track how many companies provide same-sex cards but believes the number is expanding.

“The fact that you have someone like Hallmark going into that niche shows it’s growing and signals a trend,” said Barbara Miller, a spokeswoman for the association.

Rob Fortier, an independent card maker who runs his company, Paper Words, out of New York, added same-sex wedding cards to his mix after thinking about what he would want to receive.

“A lot of people think a gay greeting card needs a rainbow on it,” Fortier said. “I don’t want that.”

But for some time, it was difficult to even find the words for what anyone wanted to say, he said.

His first card poked fun at the challenge. On the outside it featured lines that had been scratched out: “Congratulations on being committed!”, “Congratulations on being unionized!” and, finally, “Congratulations on being domestically partnered!” The inside wished the couple congratulations on choosing to be together forever.

“It really comes down to language,” he said.

John Stark, one of the three founders of Three Way Design in Boston, which makes gay-themed cards for occasions from adoption to weddings, has several new designs sketched out and ready.

But he has hesitated adding more wedding cards to his mix until after the November election, when California voters will decide a constitutional amendment that would again limit marriage to a man and a woman in the state.

“What is scary is to produce a marriage line and then November comes and it’s recalled, then we have thousands of dollars of inventory waiting,” he said.

The gay-friendly business can be challenging, companies said.

Hamm said although she has found many vendors willing to work with her company, some have asked to be removed from the Web site because of hate mail or some other backlash.

Hallmark says all of its stores can choose whether they want to add the latest offerings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

© MMVIII The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 This photo provided by Hallmark shows a same-sex wedding greeting card. Hallmark added the cards after California joined Massachusetts as the only U.S. states with legal gay marriage. (AP PHOTO)

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One Response

  1. I am quite interesting in this topic hope you will elaborate more on it in future posts

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