Mass Producing the Personal

There are an infinite number of ways to let a loved one or friend know you care with a personalized greeting card. But is that same message still portrayed in the same light after you know the fact that very person paid between 50 cents to $10 for a card that is mass produced in a factory than can process over one million cards per week? Did you know that companies such as Hallmark have conducted extensive research into how to mass-produce the personal greeting card? Cards that portray cursive or print that looks like handwriting have been shown to sell more. (West) Also, greeting cards that appear to be homemade are much more effective in selling “I love you” cards and create an increased sentimental value to a gift that is attached. (Jaffe)

“Greeting cards are viewed as a measure of society, which represent a unique interpersonal communication between people.” Like communication in its modern form, the greeting card has shifted to technology take over where the Hallmark factory can produce over 250,000 cards per day, while evoking emotion in every card and product. (Seybold Report)

 

The social aspect of this, is that jobs are lost within the company located in Kansas City and have been replaced by computers. Although mass production of cards is only possible through advanced technology, the $4.1 billion company has eliminated jobs in the production and distribution areas to generate more profits! When is enough, enough? Where do the moral boundaries get crossed? Production of cards appealing to emotions, family, and loved ones, while eliminating jobs that help families stay together and provide support.

So the next time you receive a greeting card from a friend or family member, take a look at the aesthetics of it. Does is compliment the message being portrayed? If so, Hallmark has done its job in mass-producing emotion and sympathy and taking your money!

Production:Social

Sources:

 

Automated Workflow Delivers On-Demand Personalized Greeting Products for Hallmark

Digital. (2013). Seybold Report: Analyzing Publishing Technologies, 13(21), 2-6.

 

Cacioppo, J. T., & Andersen, B. L. (1981). Greeting Cards as Data on Social Processes.

Basic & Applied Social Psychology, 2(2), 115-119.

 

Jaffe, A. (1999). Packaged Sentiments: The Social Meanings of Greeting Cards. Journal

Of Material Culture, 4(2), 115.

 

West, E. (2010). A taste for greeting cards: Distinction within a denigrated cultural form.

Journal Of Consumer Culture, 10(3), 362-382.

 

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Mass Producing the Personal

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