A Positive PR Bonanza

In what has been something of a ‘purple patch’ on the PR front for the greeting card sector, TV programmes, newspapers, radio stations and news sites have been awash of late with positive media coverage about the sending of greeting cards.

“We have seen an unprecedented amount of press interest and the resultant media coverage has all been very positive,” Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA told PG Buzz. “What’s more, a lot of the coverage came in good time to encourage more Christmas card sending. Journalists contacted the GCA wanting some feelgood stories, and card sending is definitely one of those,” added Amanda.

Among the PR highlights was the BBC 1’s A Very Country Christmas programme in which presenter Angellica Bell described the sending of Christmas cards as one of the “biggest and most important Christmas traditions”.

Above: Presenter Angellica Bell posting her Christmas cards on the Very Country Christmas programme.
Above: Presenter Angellica Bell posting her Christmas cards on the Very Country Christmas programme.

As well as tracking the origins of Christmas card sending (including featuring the very first 1843 Christmas card, which is owned by PG’s Jakki Brown), the programme brought it right up to date with an interview with card publisher Laura Stoddart.

Above: Laura Stoddart on the BBC programme.
Above: Laura Stoddart on the BBC programme.

Laura explained to presenter Angellica that she had “sold Christmas cards every single week of the year, even through the summer” and also spoke out about the industry’s progress on the environmental footprint front. (As soon as the programme aired, Laura saw a spike in sales on her website).

Above: Some of Laura’s Christmas card designs.
Above: Some of Laura’s Christmas card designs.

Christmas cards also featured extensively on an episode of BBC 1’s Britain’s Christmas Story, that was presented by Gareth Malone and Karen Gibson.

As part of this, Karen visited the Postal Museum to learn all about the origins of the Christmas card and how the tradition of card sending evolved, agreeing that Christmas cards influenced culture in that “they showed you how to do Christmas,” said the Postal Museum’s curator, Joanna Espin.

Above: One of the Christmas cards in the Postal Museum’s archives.
Above: One of the Christmas cards in the Postal Museum’s archives.

Meanwhile, Amanda Fergusson’s discussions with iNews journalist, Susie Mesure, led to an indepth article on the news site entitled ‘Christmas card sales are booming during the Covid crisis as we send our love this year’ as well as a further piece giving more insights into origins of Christmas cards and some cards from the last century showing how they reflect the trends and history of the time.

The article gave a push to people to buy charity Christmas cards highlighting them as a significant source of revenue for charities.

Edinburgh-based retailer, Michael Apter of Paper Tiger relayed how its sales of Christmas cards were up 50% (when the article went out in mid December), with input from consumers underlining how the merits of sending cards are being truly realised this year.  It quotes 44 year old Nathan Yeowell who relayed how sending cards has helped him cope with the social isolation of the pandemic.

“I have felt a great sense of alienation from social media this year, so there was something nice about sitting down and making the effort to write Christmas cards.”

Above: Paper Tiger’s Michael Apter and two colleagues featuring in the iNews piece.
Above: Paper Tiger’s Michael Apter and two colleagues featuring in the iNews piece.

In her Notebook column in the Mail On Sunday newspaper recently, Alexandra Shulman gave a big thumbs-up for Christmas card sending. With the headline of ‘A Proper Christmas Is Finally On The Cards’, the former editor of Vogue prophesised: ‘A bumper year for Christmas cards. Proper ones too, none of your digital nonsense. Sending a card is a small gesture but I reckon everyone will be particularly pleased to know they’ve been in your thoughts when they open that envelope.’

That sentiment was shared by the Venerable Liz Adekunle, Archdeacon of Hackney who delivered a moving tribute that was dedicated to the importance of sending Christmas cards in BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day spot at the start of this month. (https://www.pgbuzz.net/praising-christmas-cards-archdeacon-of-hackneys-thought-for-the-day-on-radio-4/)

The GCA website includes lots more detail of the industry’s PR activities over the last quarter, as well as links to interviews Amanda Fergusson has given to various radio stations. (https://www.gca.cards/christmas-card-media-coverage-throughout-the-last-quarter-of-2020/)

Top: Gareth Malone and Karen Gibson presented the BBC 1’s Britain’s Christmas Story.

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