Hallmark effort is a relevant moment in brand's evolution

Hallmark's recent "Life is a Special Occasion" campaign, which promotes celebration of moments versus milestones, reflects its most integrated marketing approach to date, explains CMO Lisa Macpherson.

Company Hallmark

Campaign Life is a Special Occasion

Agency mix Leo Burnett (creative) - lead agency; Fleishman-Hillard (PR); Starcom (media buying)

In-house team Lisa Macpherson, SVP, marketing; Jeanette Carter, VP, integrated marketing; Darren Abbott, VP, marketing design studio; Trish Berrong, creative director; Ann Herrick, national campaign director; Eileen Gaffen, PR and social media manager; Craig Elbert, marketing strategy manager; Becky Smith, brand manager

Hallmark's recent "Life is a Special Occasion" campaign, which promotes celebration of moments versus milestones, reflects its most integrated marketing approach to date, explains CMO Lisa Macpherson. The brand plans for broader distribution of new products in line with the "moments" theme, such as its recordable storybooks.

"We wanted to increase the brand's relevance into more ways we can help consumers," she says. "What they were quickest to talk about was the little moments of connection."

Hallmark started planning the marketing initiative in October 2009 in conjunction with the new product development approach.

In late 2010, when Hallmark began preparing new products for wider distribution, the team supported the products and positioning on Hallmark.com, via SEO, and with direct marketing. In January 2011, it launched TV, print, and banner ads featuring "not" statements. For example, a commercial featuring Hallmark recordable storybooks states, "Bedtime is not for sleeping. It's for being together, even when you're apart."

Digital efforts contribute to the strategy to double spending in engagement media, which includes PR and social media and accounts for just shy of 10% of the total marketing budget, she says.

Also in January, the team promoted the initiative at Blissdom, a social media conference for female bloggers. At Hallmark's booth, attendees shared what a "perfectly imperfect moment" means to them. PR AOR Fleishman-Hillard developed an online mosaic, called VisibleMash, to compile their responses.

"We're seeing most growth in engagement media," says Macpherson. "It's what's most new about the plan."

Of the integration, she adds, "It's the first time in recent memory we've aligned all of our messaging behind a brand-level idea. We'll get more impact in the marketplace as a result."

The team will continue to reach out to the blogger community, send new products to online influencers, and work on relationships with magazines that have online components.

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