Mid way through Thinking of You Week 2021 (which runs September 20-26) there has been a flurry of activity by retailers, publishers, trade suppliers, Royal Mail as well as members of the public, all of whom are part of the GCA initiative which is resulting in a big wave of people showing they care by sending greeting cards.
“This year, more than any other, has seen a huge engagement from so many members of the UK greeting card community and beyond for Thinking of You Week,” commented Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA. “And it’s so lovely to that while we have all this wonderful activity going on here, that our counterparts in the US are also well underway with their Thinking of You Week initiatives at the same time.”
From major UK retailers including the Co-op, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, B&M and Clintons as well as indie groups, such as House of Cards and JP Pozzi/Bijou have all spread the word about Thinking of You Week both instore and via social media activity.
In partnership with Blackhawk and Nestle, Hallmark is part of a ‘Buy Scan Win’ promotion, featuring across all Co-op stores. When customers buy a One4all Gift Card or any Hallmark greeting card or Quality Street carton and scan their Co-op membership card they are in with the chance of winning a hamper and gift card for themselves and a friend.
Building on its support of the event last year, Sainsbury’s has introduced a focused ‘parasite unit’ onto its card racks featuring UKG’s Little Voice designs that offer words of hope, messages of encouragement and reminders of love.
Nowhere are those messages of hope, love and encouragement more in need than in hospitals, which is why Belly Button Designs has gone all out to spread the love of ToYW through North Manchester General Hospital, in over 10 locations (including Manchester Royal Infirmary, Wythenshawe Hospital, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, Saint Mary’s Hospital, Manchester University Dental Hospital, Withington Community Hospital,Trafford General Hospital, Altrincham Hospital and North Manchester General Hospital).
The Manchester-based publishing company, founded by Rachel Hare, who is the reigning president of the GCA has donated tons of Thinking of You greeting cards to all the NHS staff on the ICU wards to give to someone they are thinking of this week.
The Week is also being promoted in Belly Button’s own shops (in Heaton Moor in Stockport and Burton Road in Didsbury).
“We have created a lovely window display while anyone making a purchase during ‘Thinking Of You Week’ will receive a free ‘Thinking Of You’ card to give to anyone they feel needs a card to brighten there day,” explained Michelle Hindle, Belly Button’s head of sales.
UKG is adopting a three-pronged support of Thinking of You Week – for its retail customers, its own employees and the consumer.
“These past couple of years have really reminded us all of the importance of connectivity and community. That even a small gesture like sending a card is such an easy way to show you are thinking of someone, or that they mean a lot,” commented Jill Alexander, UKG’s marketing communications director underlining the importance of supporting ToYW.
In addition to the activity with its multiple customers, the publisher offered its independent retail customers a special package of a dozen relevant designs, which were sent with supporting PoS (a wobbler and two caption finders) featuring the ToYW branding.
Internally, all employees are being invited to select free cards from a display in the company’s reception with UKG covering the cost of the postage.
Meanwhile, a consumer competition is underway offering a consumer prize giveaway of free cards with the winner randomly selected after liking, sharing or commenting on UKG posts.
Another publisher who is on board with ToYW is Carte Blanche Greetings. To encourage additional card sends for the duration of the Week, everyone ordering cards via the MetoYou.com site is to receive an additional free card from the Me to You New Beginnings range.
“After the isolation experienced by so many during the pandemic, it’s never been so important to keep in touch with loved ones and cards are the perfect way to show someone how much they mean to you,” says Grace Elphinstone, CBG’s marketing manager. “Me to You is a brand that is synonymous with conveying messages of love and friendship and with the end of lockdown, we think there are a lot of missed opportunities to say thank you, to celebrate an occasion, to think of others or ‘just because’. Being given the chance to send a card to those closest to us will be a fantastic way to encourage our customers to keep in touch with the ones they love,” added Grace.
In addition to working with Tesco and Co-op on their Thinking of You Week activities, Hallmark is also marking the Week by offering up to 50% off card sales from its Hallmark.com site.
Helping to build awareness of the Week, Royal Mail has been franking millions of items of post with a dedicated Thinking of You Week message while it also instigated a lovely project which has seen residents of a care home receive cards with messages from strangers.
And the ever progressive Isle of Man Post Office has launched a limited edition sheetlet of six 1st class Triskelion stamps for postal use and six decorative message labels encouraging the sending of letters to loved ones.
The sheetlet comes packaged with five co ordinating postcards, with the stamps and the postcards designed by Maisy Summer Lewin-Sanderson, the daughter of Geoff Sanderson (who curated the GCA 100th anniversary exhibition and also co-ordinated Isle of Man PO’s greeting card stamp project).
“With several days of Thinking of You Week still to go, there is still time to be part of it!” urges Amanda Fergusson. Full details and downloadable assets are on the GCA website.
This year’s GCA AGM and Conference takes place on October 14 in Manchester. Tickets to attend can also be found on the website.
Top: Belly Button’s ToYW activity includes donating cards to 10 hospitals.