Hallmark forms comms team ahead of new title

NEW YORK: Hallmark Cards, Inc. is extending its brand beyond the realm of greeting cards and stores with the launch of Hallmark magazine.

NEW YORK: Hallmark Cards, Inc. is extending its brand beyond the realm of greeting cards and stores with the launch of Hallmark magazine.

The company has hired G.S. Schwartz & Co. to run PR efforts promoting the bimonthly publication, which is set to debut with a September/October issue.

In addition, an integrated marketing team, which includes The Ryan Group (TRG) and DJG Marketing, will focus on R&D, audience estimates, advertising, and sales analysis.

The campaign includes media outreach to trade publications, and a consumer campaign encompassing the theme "The Hallmark of a Woman" set to begin with the launch of the magazine in August.

Jerry Schwartz, president and founder of his eponymous firm, said the agency's initial media outreach will be centered on a series of teaser campaigns.

"We will be taking advantage of viral marketing," he said, "as well as using digital techniques to reach consumers, advertisers, and the agency marketplace."

The Kansas City, MO-based company sent out an RFP in March, followed by a six-month review process in which three firms competed for the account.

Schwartz and TRG pitched Hallmark as a team. The union grew out of friendship between Francine Ryan, president and CMO of TRG, and Joan Cear, MD of G.S. Schwartz who is heading the project, according to an AE at the firm.

"We felt that [Schwartz's] publication experience, understanding of our brand, and their fresh, creative ideas would be of value ," said Julie O'Dell, director of corporate communications at Hallmark.

Hallmark magazine will be geared toward mothers 40 years of age and up - employed and college educated - with content in five editorial sections titled Renew, Inspire, Nourish, Nest, and Connect, categories the company said it researched extensively.

"The people who were [charged] with the business pitch [for the Hallmark account] were the target audience of the magazine," said Schwartz.

Hallmark is positioning the national publications, with a projected initial circulation of 400,000, to compete with O Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, and Real Simple.

The magazine will be published in-house. According to Schwartz, Hallmark is offering a fresh perspective in the genre of women's magazines.

"The Hallmark name, which is more than just cards, has a huge amount of brand identity," he added. "It is a magazine designed around the lifestyles and interests of a huge generation of people who have bought Hallmark products, whose parents have bought Hallmark products, and who put a lot of stock in that name."

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