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COMPANYPROFILE a f**t


population even if it’s a very commercial design and selling well.


“A lot of what we do has double entendres, so it


doesn’t translate for overseas, but humour is about relationships, it depends on who you’re talking to. “If I’m talking to my best mate, it’ll be a blokey, pub type of humour, but if it’s with my sister, that would be different, as would be what I’d joke about with my mum. And when you take into account the ‘yoof’ culture that brings in a whole different aspect.


“So you hold up a matrix of what humour means to everybody and end up with so many different boxes. Humour is different to other genres like cute, a cute bear is a cute bear whatever colour, shape or style. Traditional cards are traditional cards. But humour is very much down to individual taste. “Paula has a diffi cult job because the core consumer for cards is female, average age 35 and growing older, so we have to cater for them and at the same time we have to bring new younger consumers into the industry by offering products that will appeal to them. Paula explained: “We sit and listen to a lot of conversations on the bus, work with a lot of writers and look at what’s trending on social networking. “Comedians do a lot more observational humour these days and people make a connection to that. But I do think language has dumbed down which is making cards dumb down. We now do a card that just says YOLO – I had to ask what it was when it was suggested, it means “you only live once” – and we’d never have done that before. Text speak is really becoming commonplace. “It’s a music culture society, life is a music video.


I don’t feel as if I am getting any older, Im just more aware of keeping up with social media and future trends.


Richard continued: “Technology has changed things completely. In the days of the working men’s clubs stand-up comedians could go round the country for a year on one act, now Peter Kay does the O2, a week later the DVD is out and then he needs a new act. And that’s what we’re up against because people see all the new jokes very quickly. “Our newest launch is the children’s humour which recognises how things have changed, 30 years ago you wouldn’t have put jokes on a card for kids.This has been around for about two years and we have the Pan’s Land for one to six years, and the Pik-A-Do Boy’s Pack for six to 13s.


“It was for eight year olds and we’ve now taken it down to six – even two years ago you couldn’t have put jokes on a six year old’s card but now you can. And we’ve taken it up to 13 because at that age boys are


either nearly men or like 11-year-olds. If you don’t know what kids are into, it’s a very good send. “Although we’re still a small publisher, we’re serious players in this area as there are very few people doing humorous cards for ages one to six.” They’ve refi ned their testing technique over the past couple of years, each design is fi rst shown round internally at their offi ces, if it passes there’s a friends and family testing team of around 100 people.


The surviving cards are then trialled in their test


stores with only the best making it to general sale – and they’ve brought in the licensed Kiss Me You Fool range from Bristol-based Colette Foster to complement the humour and help independents


with making up carriage-paid orders. Richard said: “Humour is so hard, for every


100 cards we design only nine get on the shelves to mass retail so it’s quite a bold move for us to introduce humour into an area it hasn’t been before. “We’ve changed the question in our research to ‘do you think this is funny, and do you have a recipient in mind?’ because when people were asked if they thought it was funny but didn’t think about who they’d send it to, we were getting a lot more designs through that no one could potentially send.


“A couple of years ago we had too many ranges


that were competing with each other. Now we’re looking at each range, who does it appeal to, who is the recipient and who is the buyer so we have the right balance. “We’re not a mass market publisher, we like to


think we’re specialists in the humour market.” Almost 30 years after setting the standard for risqué humour, Robert’s company is still going strong while original rivals Camden Graphics and Hanson White are owned by UK Greetings and Paperhouse are part of the Great British Card Company. Richard added: “Robert still owns the company 100 per cent but stays out of the limelight and is happy for us to be the face of the business, but he’s very much involved in the day to day running. “His eye for detail is brilliant though, he would


be the fi rst to admit that he is not creative but absolutely knows when something is not quite right. “If Andrew Brownsword can be held up as making a huge contribution to the cute genre, then Robert Todd has made a huge contribution to the humour genre which should be acknowledged – although he probably wouldn’t go along to collect any award himself!” T: 01268 530467 www.quittinghollywood.com


www.greetingstoday.co.uk 31


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