The Greeting Card Industry: An Accessible Form of Corporate Humor

There are many people in the world who have sent a card at some point in their lives to a friend or relative. It can be for any holiday or special occasion whether it’s Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, or newborns. The list goes on and on. Cards are a testament to the power of print and it continues its existence into the digital age. Cards are symbols of humor from the corporation and cards need that humor to convince consumers to purchase them.
One of the biggest (and best-selling) greeting card companies is Hallmark Corporation. This company sells a majority of greeting cards in the United States, with Christmas being the hottest season. No two cards are the same and each one has to incorporate some kind of humor in order to amuse the sender and the receiver. The cards use every method at their disposal, such as photos, graphics, puns, jokes, or all of the above. However, the cards can take this humor too far. Several cards that have come out recently have become more crass and sometimes politically incorrect (One example is a card with a photo of a person mooning the reader). There have been a few instances where Hallmark had to recall certain cards because some members of the public saw them as offensive. So, the industry has to rein in some of the humor to avoid potential conflicts.
Despite its strong sales in print, Hallmark has embraced digital mediums as well. On their website there is a selection of e-cards. These cards have their own quirky charm. You can customize and expect some surprises whenever you click on the graphics. There are some well-known card mascots online. For example, Hoops and Yoyo, Hallmark’s animated duo featured in many of their e-cards. The company has created an entire mini-brand around a pink cat, Hoops, and a green rabbit, Yoyo.
Hallmark is not the only greeting card industry; American Greetings has a substantial amount of business as well. But each card industry has the same objective: to bring in strong sales based on humor. All of these corporations need employees with a sense of humor so that newer and funnier cards can be put on the shelves. Sometimes humor can overstep its bounds, but humor is something our society needs in some of the more difficult times.

Sarah McIntosh, Eliza Wadson, Jocelyn Walson, Sean O’Connell