Less than a week into his role as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, not unsurprisingly is eliciting response from all quarters – including from those in the greeting card industry.
PG Buzz shares the political commentaries from a trio of leading card pundits – Dean Morris, founder of Dean Morris Cards; Chris Bryan, joint general manager of Second Nature and the Sherwood Group’s ceo Jeremy Bacon – on the likely impact Boris Johnson will have on the trade and their respective wishlists for the new PM.
First up though, here’s a greeting from ‘Boris’, well, a newly recorded soundchip from Really Wild Cards’ new Politically Incorrect design:
Dean Morris, founder of Dean Morris Cards:
Initial reaction: “On the day Boris Johnson was announced as PM I launched some F*** Boris badges online and they immediately sold well. With the publisher’s Donald Trump card selling fantastically well I am now debating whether to do a Boris card too.”
Likely impact on the card trade: “As to what impact the new PM’s appointment will have on the greeting card sector, I don’t think it will be immediate but there will be if he pursues (or we just fall into by accident) his no-deal Brexit ‘free unicorns for everyone fantasy’. I have a wonderful distributor in Romania and sending my orders to them currently is as easy as sending a delivery to Oxford. It’s the same with all my customers in Europe and I have no idea why anyone would think it was a good thing to stop this, apart from to pretend it’s the 1950’s again. Which it’s not.”
What’s on your wishlist for Boris? “Now he’s achieved his childhood ambition and got his name on the old Etonian Prime Ministers’ board my only wish is for him to go away.”
Boris sees himself as a modern Winston Churchill. Churchill was delighted to see his art on greeting cards (via Hallmark). What do you think Boris’ card designs would be like? “Maybe they would be pictures of his little busses he makes out of wine crates. Despite his ambitions I’m not sure Boris Johnson will have the longevity and warmth of feeling as Winston Churchill earned.”
Chris Bryan, joint general manager of Second Nature:
Initial reaction: “Having to hope for the best is never a good place to be but with a complete dearth of any really positive alternative, that’s where we’re at. One of the scariest comments is from Donald Trump saying that Boris is the UK Trump, if that pans out to be true my holiday to Iran is out the window!!! “
Likely impact on the card trade: “No one really seems to know what the economic future of the UK is with /without Brexit so uncertainty will most likely carry on for sometime which is having a majorly negative impact on any form of optimism, which in turn creates a negative outlook and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The only hope is that somehow Boris can unite the Conservative Party and project a very positive future. He’s already tried to do this in his opening speech but he really has to deliver something and deliver it quickly. A temporary cut in VAT may help retail but with verbal commitments to fund the NHS, the Police Force and other tax cuts, I don’t see how he can balance the books, even the fabled ‘£350 million a week saved by Brexit’ that he once stood by won’t cover the increased spending. I don’t think I’m completely alone in thinking that the whole Brexit issue needs to be sorted one way or the other and very quickly so that everyone can deal with whatever mess we’re left with in a positive way with some form of closure. Ultimately, discounting is a short term fix which creates problems further down the line and I don’t see any real tangible government help coming towards retailers and publishers in our sector so it’s left to us to be positive and creative, the business is still out there we just have to go out and get it!”
Jeremy Bacon, ceo of the Sherwood Group:
Initial reaction: “We know from Boris Johnson and his new team that they are committed to leave Europe by the 31st October. This has always been the default position but now there is energy and commitment to make it happen – Deal or No-Deal. As a country and as an industry we all are completely fed up with the Brexit Omnishambles. We are highly likely to see an end to the uncertainty which has been so bad for business. Unfortunately a no-deal will make things a whole lot worse. I hope that both the government and the EU can reach a deal. This involves compromise on the Irish Border. At the end of the day it is just a line on a map, surely the politicians can fudge a compromise that allows everyone to claim a victory.”
Likely impact on the card trade: “As an industry we should plan for the worse. The probability of a no-deal is significantly higher than it was in March. We should also be more open with our contingency planning through the whole supply chain. Our customers did significantly stockpile finished goods and raw materials before the March deadline, we would encourage them to do the same before October.
On an optimistic note, the timing of an October deadline is better for us an industry. Christmas product will be in store and Spring Seasons will be manufactured and landed in the UK.”
What’s on your wishlist for Boris? “I want to see a deal so we can start to deal with some important issues in society and the economy. I speak as a Remainer.”
These comments follow on from the views John Wignall of Really Wild Cards and Scribbler’s John Procter (https://www.pgbuzz.net/boris-johnson-bonanza-for-really-wild-cards/) and Postmark’s Leona Janson-Smith (https://www.pgbuzz.net/postmarks-leona-janson-smiths-wishlist-for-her-former-boss-boris-johnson/) aired on last Thursday’s (July 25) PG Buzz.