Schools, publishers, retailers and designers show full engagement
“The engagement with Thinking Of You Week 2022 has reached unprecedented levels already this year, and there are still a few days to go,” exclaimed a delighted GCA ceo Amanda Fergusson about the special event.
Running until Sunday, 25 September, the week encourages everyone to send cards to show they care, show support or just to say hello and, joining a host of independent retailers, big guns Asda, Clintons, Tesco, Scribbler, Card Factory, Co-op and Marks & Spencer are among the multiple retailers to have pledged their support for TOYW, while publishers galore have all put their own spin on their involvement.
As well as holding a tea party in the office for the team to write their own cards, Belly Button Designs has joined forces with local hospitals, donating greeting cards to the 10 in the Manchester Foundation Trust Charity to share with staff to send to friends and family.
And the publishers has been engaging with St Paul’s Primary School in Withington, near the company’s Manchester base, as part of the GCA Schools’ Initiative which is seeing hundreds of UK school children sending cards to pupils in schools in Ghana. Belly Button’s Estelle Johnson visited the school armed with greeting cards earlier this week and spoke to all the Years 3 and 4 pupils.
“It was wonderful,” said Estelle, who talked to the children about Thinking Of You Week and the importance of sending cards. “The children practised their handwriting by sending special messages in the donated Thinking Of You cards to fellow pupils in a school in Ghana – they also received sweets, so they were happy children!”
And the GCA’s TOYW consumer campaign has paid off with this week’s edition of the 92,000-circulation Woman magazine featuring a page with a reader offer of 10% off greeting cards at independent retailers Austin & Co in Malvern, Postmark Online, Giraffe Gifts in Marple, Papilio At Heritage Thornbury and Lark London.
Sarah Laker, who runs Giraffe Gifts with her Stationery Supplies stores in Marple and Wilmslow, posted on her social media: “I’m delighted to have my website in the TOYW promotion in Woman – it’s a wonderful campaign to remind us of the joy of receiving and sending cards.”
And the GCA’s Amanda explained how bestselling titles Good Housekeeping and Cosmopolitan have really engaged audiences online with their month-long TOYW competitions offering the chance to win £50-worth bundles of cards – with the comps’ closing date of 26 September, entries across both platforms are already over 35,000.
And, for the first time, the GCA has been working with family, parenting and lifestyle influencers to spread the Thinking Of You Week message on Instagram. Publishers kindly sent card samples to PR Direct, the agency running the public relations campaign for the GCA, which have been used for both the influencer and consumer competitions element of the campaign.
PR Direct co-owner Sarah Selzer said: “When we reached out to the influencers, there was a really positive response with comments like ‘how lovely, such a nice idea’, ‘such a great idea, love this!’ and ‘my mum would love this – she loves cards’. That sentiment has carried through with the influencers’ audience members reacting too.”
Meanwhile at Brand Licensing Europe, the major licensing trade exhibition which took place at London’s ExCel this week, US designer Kate Smith was on the Lisle Licensing stand encouraging visitors and exhibitors to use the free cards to support of Thinking Of You Week.
The Lisle team at BLE’s three-day event, which finished yesterday, 22 September, were continually replenishing stocks of Kate’s designs, with the artist very happy to employ her lovely hand-writing skills to help compose a positivity-inspired personalised message of the sender’s choice.
“Take a card, send a smile,” said Kate of the offer for TOYW. “Once the envelope is sealed all the sender needed to do was decide whether to hand it over in person or pop it in a post box and make it a surprise delivery.”
And Kate believes “a hand-written card means so much to many”, with her happy vibes having spread the love on cards, calendars, and planners in the UK through licensing agreements with Hallmark, Moonpig, and Carousel Calendars.
Top: Belly Button’s Estelle Johnson with some happy St Paul’s pupils in Manchester