I quite like greeting cards. I keep well-written or funny birthday and Christmas cards. Every year on my birthday my mother writes me a lengthy poem on the inside of my card. They are usually an ode to how fantastic I am, with undertones of “but why must you be so difficult all they time?” They also accompanied by a short, 4 line number from my father in A,B,A,B rhyme scheme about the fact that I smell (that joke never gets old). The best card I ever received from a friend said “I was going to say hello to you at the art show, but then I got too drunk”. So when I tell you that Hallmark has really taken a nose-dive in my estimation recently, it’s not because I don’t appreciate cards. The company teamed up with Justin Bieber earlier this year to produce greeting cards for super-fans to spend their hard earned pennies on at their nearest Walmart.
The wait is over for “Beliebers” everywhere — first-of-its-kind Hallmark Justin Bieber greeting cards now are available in Wal-Mart stores nationwide and, in May, will be available at Hallmark Gold Crown stores and other stores where Hallmark products are sold. Ranging in price from $2.57-$9.99, the collection includes more than 48 everyday Hallmark cards, some of which feature Justin Bieber songs, such as “U Smile” and “Baby,” or innovations, such as lights, motion and pop-up displays. A variety of cards double as collectors’ items with door hangers, photos inserts and more.
Does 48 seem a touch excessive to you? Because if it doesn’t now, just wait until I show you some of the stuff they’ve come up with to cover these 48 cards. At some point, Hallmark’s marketing team were like “Oh wait, we’re making cards about a hip, young singing sensation. We should probably try to speak to the fans in hip, youthful language in order to better extract their cash. ALSO! Make sure you refer to everything as a collector’s item!” And then after that they ran out of ideas.
So, at the basic end of the card spectrum, we have things like this:
I shit you not, the front of this card says “Wow!” and the inside says “Look at you. You’ve got that birthday thing going on. Hope it’s happy!” Which, to me, seems like something you would send to someone you didn’t like very much but who you’d known long enough to feel morally obligated to attend their birthday party, despite the fact that you’d planned a night in bed re-watching Doctor Who in its entirety. Observe:
The inside of my card says: “It’s come to that time of the year where it’s your birthday and I have to see you because we liked each other in high school or something. I’ve brought most of a bottle of champagne with me, if you could direct me to a quiet corner where I could finish it off and maybe point me to the bar afterwards, we can spend the rest of the night talking to other people about your weight gain and my alleged drinking problem. Let’s make this as painless as possible.”
Other cards from the range are similarly vague:
No…I have no idea. What is that thing, Justin? Tell me! I must know! Because if somebody gave me this card, I would immediately assume that they had managed to give me some sort of sexually transmitted disease. “You’ve just got thing, you know? Chlamydia. Sorry. But I’ve booked you an appointment at the clinic!” What it actually says is: “There’s nothing else like it… and there’s nobody else like you. Original, unapologetic, cool. That’s you, Girl, all you.” This, of course, begs the question: what exactly is the target market for these cards? This sounds like a pick up line and last time I checked, you shouldn’t be sending those kind of things in cards to girls who are of the correct age to be really into Justin Bieber. Also, “unapologetic”? That was the best descriptor you could come up with? The constant use of the world ‘girl’ throughout these cards is also really offputting for me. I’ve got about 4 years on Bieber. It’s alright coming from Ryan Gosling, not from some 18 year old Canadian with a falsetto.
In case regular cards are too bland for your average Belieber, Hallmark has also come up with a card/fan kit.
The card contains cardboard JB glasses, a “signed” photo, a fill-in-the-blanks fan letter (because you can never be too sure of literacy these days) and a list of all the card recipient’s various attributes… Bieber-related attributes anyway. I’m assuming this card is for older relatives who know very little about their tween-age relations except that they once accidentally walked in on her (possibly him… this card is less gender-specific than the others) kissing a poster of Bieber/reading erotic Bieber fiction or something, so they figure they’ll buy this and some other relevant merchandise and hope for the best.
After today’s success with the webcam, I think I might release my own range of greeting cards in time for Christmas. Also, a cheeky shout out to the flatmate. I’m holding his bottle of Moet in my birthday greeting card. Not that either of us can afford Moet. It was his graduation present. We’ve kept the empty bottle to add the illusion of class to our house. I may have broken that illusion today. At least we got something out of it.