CafePress PSA demonstrates the dangers of Gift Card Laziness Syndrome

Thinking of buying your friends and loved ones gift cards this holiday season? You might want to think again, says online retailer CafePress.

CafePress' "PSA" warns customers about Gift Card Laziness Syndrome
CafePress' "PSA" warns customers about Gift Card Laziness Syndrome

LOUISVILLE, KY: CafePress is helping consumers avoid "Gift Card Laziness Syndrome" by encouraging them to buy more thoughtful presents for their friends and family this holiday season.

The online retailer of stock and user-customized T-shirts and other products unveiled the website on Tuesday with the goal of saving customers an estimated $118 billion in spending on gift cards that have a good chance of going unredeemed.

Last year, Tower Research Group estimated that $118 billion in gift cards were sold in the US, and the National Retail Federation said the average consumer will spend $163 on them.

However, CafePress noted that a large number of that total will go unredeemed. Every year, about $1 billion in gift cards go unused, and $5 billion to $7 billion expire or are lost, according to CafePress’ Division of Consumer Knowledge & Science.

Of course, CafePress’ consumer insight division does not really exist, but the e-retailer contends its point is still valid: consumers would rather a personalized present than a gift card.

"The Gift Card Sucks campaign is a unique and disruptive way to reinforce the thoughtfulness of choosing something that really speaks to someone’s personality and passions," explained Sarah Segal, director of PR at CafePress.

She added that anyone who flips through the CafePress website will feel some feelings when looking at the products, so the initiative’s goal is "bringing that level of emotion into the gifts you give, as opposed to a two-by-three-inch piece of plastic."

To drive consumers to the microsite, the brand and PR agency partner Elasticity have created a range of content for the effort, including infographics, blogs, and a faux PSA on the dangers of buying gift cards.

CafePress will leverage all of its social media channels and online resources to promote the initiative, including some paid advertising.

The lifespan of the website has not yet been determined, but Segal said it will operate through at least the holiday season.

Since CafePress was founded in 1999, the ecommerce landscape has evolved and become more cluttered, so one of brand’s major focus areas is developing "disruptive campaigns" that grab consumers’ attention, explained Segal.

In January, CafePress kicked off another cheeky initiative called Move the Big Game, in which it partnered with sports broadcaster Kenny Mayne to push the NFL to move the Super Bowl to a Saturday. The effort included a microsite,, and hashtag, #MoveTheBigGame, to increase retail sales, viewership, and workplace productivity on the Monday after the game.

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