Greeting cards received some really positive PR when Sharon Little, ceo of the Greeting Card Association (GCA) appeared at peak time on Simon Mayo’s drive time show on Radio 2 yesterday afternoon (Wednesday 28 February), which has millions of listeners. Sharon was invited as the ‘greeting card expert’ after a discussion arose on Simon’s show the previous day around whether people still send greeting cards. She left Simon Mayo’s millions of fans in no doubt that they do – and reminded them of the merit of sending Mother’s Day cards.
The interview came about after a ‘confession’ segment in Simon’s show in which listeners tell their stories about something they have done in the past that they now want forgiveness for. The confession, which aired on Tuesday (27 February) concerned a father and mother who took their young daughter into a card shop a few years ago and while they spent 45 minutes choosing four cards, the daughter licked closed every envelope in the shop! After the confession, Simon and team debated whether this would happen now and whether the same number of greeting cards are still sent. And then cue Sharon!
Sharon went on air the day after to tell Simon’s 5.82 million listeners that we send more greeting cards per person than any other country in the world. Sharon told an incredulous Simon that: “We buy two billion greeting cards every year in the UK and that hasn’t been affected by digital communications or any social media.” Simon was surprised at the statistics and asked whether youngsters don’t prefer sending digital messages. Sharon told Simon that while young people are digitally engaged they also like to receive cards. “They want it all. They need snapchat, they need Facebook, they need their social media, but they also need their birthday cards. Birthday cards, or any sort of card provide something that digital can’t. And that is something that is real, something that is tactile. We love to display our cards in our homes and we keep them.”
Simon asked Sharon whether the UK was the centre of the greeting card universe, and she said “absolutely” and went on to fanfare the Royal Mail and the amazing creative talent among card publishers in the UK.
Sharon didn’t waste an opportunity to plug Mother’s Day, ribbing Simon when he asked if he could just send his mother a Facebook message!
Commenting after airing on the BBC programme, Sharon told PG Buzz: “It was a great, positive, uplifting piece that will have been heard by millions nationwide. It was perfectly timed to remind people about Mother’s Day as well as the benefits of sending cards. The fact it all stemmed from an embarrassing consumer story from a listener the day before made it all the better.”
Even after Sharon had gone off air, DJ Simon May even continued the slant, mentioning a listener who had called in thanking the programme for reminding him to send his sister a birthday card as well as card publisher Go La La applauding coverage of what is a great industry.
Today’s Daily Mail (March 1) also gives coverage to the greeting card industry. In a full page article by Robert Hartman, entitled ‘The father who took on the filth peddlers’ takes Scribbler to task on the ‘obscenity on display’ on its card racks in the run up to Mother’s Day.
Scribbler was able to put forward its view that cards featuring ruder words are positioned on higher racks out of children’s eyeview, plus the shop does display a ‘Parental Guidance’ sign advising parents that some of the cards and gifts are of an adult nature.