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NEWS TOP STORY


Media Merriment Christmas Cards Receive Media Push


While the picture is not yet complete as to how strong Christmas card sales proved to be for retailers and publishers, certainly the media coverage reinforced the importance of the sending Christmas cards in the minds of the public. Perfectly timed prior to the last posting


dates, BBC Breakfast dedicated a sizeable chunk of its programme on December 17 to the subject, with its business editor Steph McGovern being filmed at Royal Mail’s sorting office in Exeter against a backdrop of Christmas cards being sorted for delivery, in what was the busiest week of the year for the UK’s postal operator.


Below: The sight of the Christmas cards on the sorting machinery next to Steph McGovern on BBC Breakfast will no doubt have encouraged some members of the public to write and send their Christmas cards. Below left: BBC Breakfast’s Steph McGovern at a Royal Mail sorting office in Exeter which was broadcast live on December 17.


Is The Gender Divide Closing


On Christmas Cards? Encouragingly, some 15% of the population said they sent more Christmas cards in 2014 than they did the previous year. This is just one of the findings from a significant survey undertaken by One Poll, commissioned by Royal Mail into Christmas card sending habits. The research also provided reassurance


that technology is no real replacement for a tangible Christmas card, with 89% of respondents preferring cards, and only 11% preferring electronic or social media Christmas greetings. Other findings revealed that women


Steph interviewed GCA chief executive


Sharon Little several times during the morning broadcast on the subject of Christmas cards. “The UK is the greeting card capital of


the world,” said Sharon, highlighting that as the nation sent a billion Christmas cards it was not a tradition that was dying out. She urged viewers to “put ink on


paper” and said there was still time for people to handwrite their Christmas cards, pointing out how receiving a card can help stave off a feeling of loneliness. On the same day, PG’s Warren Lomax appeared on BBC Radio Belfast and PG’s Jakki Brown was on a BBC Radio programme that was syndicated to 31 stations, all on the subject of Christmas cards.


Festive Friday Helped To Kickstart Christmas The industry did itself proud in helping to kickstart Christmas card sending season through the widespread participation of Festive Friday, which fell on November 28. Card publishers, retailers and suppliers put time aside to write and send their Christmas cards on this designated day, introduced by the GCA in 2013, to encourage early Christmas card sending. Leading card publisher, UKG, really embraced Festive Friday with its staff sending 11,040 Christmas cards on the day, even beating the impressive 8,678 cards the company sent on the inaugural Festive Friday in 2013! At Blue Eyed Sun, the company held a 'Christmas card writing


hour' for the team to write and send cards to their loved ones. "We sponsored the cards, their time and the postage to support the GCA campaign," confirms Jeremy Corner, md of Blue Eyed Sun and a PG columnist. "All the team had to do was to write as many cards as they wanted to in the hour. We had a lot of fun on Festive Friday with everyone wearing Christmas jumpers and Santa hats to get in the mood. It's a wonderful feeling when we think about all of the love going out into the world from this short amount of time dedicated to card sending," added Jeremy. Hallmark was another publisher that really got


into the Christmas spirit. "We had a great Festive Friday event with mulled fruit tea, Christmas songs, mince pies and lots of Hallmark and Tigerprint cards to choose from and post," confirmed PR manager Tamsyn Johnston-Hughes. “It was a great way to kick off the festive season!"


Above: Lemons the rabbit from Love from Lemonade sending his Christmas cards on Festive Friday. Left: The team at Blue Eyed Sun wearing their Christmas jumpers and Santa hats.


PROGRESSIVE GREETINGS WORLDWIDE 11


are sending an average of 19 Christmas cards, more than their male counterparts (who are estimated to send 15 Christmas cards), but the gender difference is not as great as on everyday card sending. This means that the average person sent 17 Christmas cards in 2014, the same number as 2013. As to preferences on design, almost a


quarter of respondents said that they preferred a wintry snow scene on their Christmas cards, with humour in second place representing 18% of those polled, and nativity and Christmas tree/decorations in joint third place, receiving 9% of votes. “From the very first Christmas cards that


we helped send back in 1843 to the millions of Christmas cards we handle each year, we are proud to still be delivering season's greetings across the UK over 171 years later," commented Stephen Agar, managing director, consumer and network access, Royal Mail.


Royal And Political Greetings


The media was only too keen to share the images and make comments on the different design approaches the leading political leaders and royalty took towards their Christmas cards.


Below: PM David Cameron went for a sombre approach. Bottom: Ed Miliband played the family card with his choice.


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