How Hallmark became RED
Perhaps no other company in our land can be labeled as "American as mom and apple pie" as Hallmark Cards. After all, the greeting card company has often been identified with the wholesome family movies (along with the feel-good commercials) that used to run occasionally on Sunday nights.
But there is another feel-good story about Hallmark that I want to relate. This story is connected to The ONE Campaign and the creation of the (Product) Red brand (which Bono, U2 and and Bobby Shriver of DATA (Debt, Aids, Trade Africa) helped develop as a tool to raise money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria).
If you're familiar with the concept of Product Red, companies like Giorgio Armanti, the Gap, Motorola, American Express, Converse and others have developed products under the (Product) Red logo. In return for the opportunity to increase their own revenue through the use of this logo, the companies donate a percentage of their profit to the Global Fund. Additionally, in many instances (particularly where clothing is involved), companies are encouraged to employ fair trade practices.
And there have been some criticisms of this concept. Are the companies involved in Product Red campaign spending money on advertising and promotion that could do more good as a direct charitable contribution? Then there is the debate about the promotion of consumerism in our Western society, especially high-cost luxury products. But those are topics for another blog piece.
Right now, I would like to bring attention to the efforts of two Hallmark employees, editorial director Sarah Mueller and art director Erin Dennis, to encourage the company to become part of the Product Red family. It didn't take a lot, but the vision, creativity and especially initiative that Sarah and Erin showed in moving Hallmark in the direction of joining Product Red is commendable. Here's a quote from a piece that Sarah wrote in the RED: INSPI(RED) blog. The piece is entitled INSPI(RED) at Hallmark
I just spent the day driving around to Hallmark Gold Crown stores looking at our first Hallmark (PRODUCT) RED preview offering. It was so much fun to see the products we’d been dreaming about for so long out on shelves. One store had just gotten their shipment in. An employee brought me back to the back and started ripping open boxes so I could see it. “I love this wrapping paper!” she exclaimed! “I know! Me, too!” I squealed. We were like the proverbial little kids in a candy store, and these were powerful sweets – every product takes us one step closer to the end of AIDS in Africa.
And Erin actually took a trip to Mali to work with bogolan (mudcloth) artisans to create the Hallmark (PRODUCT) RED Mali mudcloth bag
Check out the account of Erin's trip (including pictures).
I don't know Erin and Sarah personally, but I did correspond with Sarah by e-mail a couple of times about blogging and other matters related to The ONE Campaign.
And I don't know whether there were people like Sarah and Erin at Motorola, Giorgio Armanti or the Gap that moved those companies to care about fighting AIDS. But the experience at Hallmark shows that all it takes is an indivudual (or two individuals in this case) to take the initiative. Perhaps we can bring more of our corporate partners into the fight against poverty and disease.
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