7/6/08

Hallmark Hate Cards

I have got a suggestion for Hallmark that ought to help their business. The idea is simple really: make "hate cards". I don't mean the discriminatory kind of hatred of course, that is based on race, gender etc. But to express hatred of the more common kind, which is a result of people doing or saying something really stupid from time to time. I believe a large section of the greeting card market is being underserved here.  If people are anything like me, and I think most people are -- they dislike about 70% of all the people they encounter daily for some reason or another. That means they have positive feelings for only three out of ten people they run into everyday. If that is the case, isn't Hallmark ignoring almost 3/4th of the market?

I for one, would buy cards that helped me express frustration, anxiety, jealousy, envy, rage, animosity, hatred in an articulate fashion. When the vein in your forehead is about to burst because of someone's idiotic behavior, that is the time you need someone else's words to express yourself. When you are that pissed off, that is the exact moment of time that your vocabulary fails you. The need for someone else's words is much less dire, if the thought of someone makes you all warm and happy and cuddly inside. And with "hate cards" there is a bigger opportunity for follow-up sales. When someone sends you a complimentary greeting, the most you do if at all, is send them a "Thank you" note and that pretty much ends the exchange. But if someone you don't care much for in the first place, sends you a nasty and insulting card, you would want to get back at them to the best of your ability. And in your mind your reaction is totally justified, because they had it coming for a long time anyway. At that point, what you really need is a "Back at Ya!" card. Once you respond with a good solid "Back at Ya!" card, the fun has just begun. Because the sender is then bound to respond with another "hate card".  And since people love to hate, this cycle can go on for at least five more exchanges, before either party gives up due to sheer exhaustion of the mind or the wallet. So you see in reality, the hate card market is at least about fifteen times (3 times more people sending 5 times as many cards) as big as the sugary greeting card market.  If you look at it from the card writer's perspective, there is clearly room for more creativity in making these "hate cards". They can run the gamut from some simple but effective "Yo Mama!" cards to something very high brow that even a seasoned thespian might find worthy of his time.

Given the amount of money that can be made here, it is indeed a surprise that no major company exists to cater to this need. I don't see any ethical issue in running such a business either. If you can have a business that sells guns, what's wrong with a business that makes and sells hate cards? They can actually help clear the air in people's relationships and reduce the need for buying a gun. If you arm people with words that help them express negative feelings effectively, they won't find the need for violence in most cases. I would take ten creatively crafted and clever insults over a bullet anytime!

6 comments:

  1. Hey this one feels like it came out of Jerry Seinfeld. Absolutely Brilliant! Good Work!

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  2. You are too kind. But thanks anyway. I get an allergic reaction when I walk through the greeting card section in stores. The stuff there is just too sweet. I can't eat sugar for three days after that.

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  3. I like that, may be I can send it to someone without signing it. Good Post!

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  4. I think that most of us would like to send these "hate cards" but in the end, I feel that hardly any one of us would actually send one, except may be as a joke to a friend. I am sure that the marketing people know this! :)

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  5. @Saru: signing your name on a Hate card would be half the fun. Why send an anonymous card if you can double the fun by signing it. Glad you liked the post.

    @Sunil: Ah the brilliant marketing guys ... What can I say?

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