Hallmark Magazine Attracts Major Advertisers

Hallmark delivered good news to itself. Hallmark Magazine, the new bimonthly title from the greeting-card giant set to hit newsstands in August, closed its September-October issue just 12 weeks after forming its sales team, says Carol Campbell-Boggs, its publisher. "We exceeded our goals by 30 percent on the revenue side and 20 percent on the paging side," says Campbell-Boggs. Major advertisers include Estee Lauder, Epson, Unilever, and Kraft. "There was just one Hallmark ad planned for the first issue, for Hallmark Flowers," she says, "and that got bumped. We're going head-on in women's lifestyle magazines."

To reach consumers, Hallmark will leverage the retail distribution power of its estimated 4,000 Gold Crown stores, as well as the substantial shelf space it already has in drugstores, supermarkets, and other retailers nationwide. The company is also getting involved in a big event around the holidays. That's when retail stores "invite their best shoppers in (about 300,000), and give them a very nice gift bag," according to Campbell-Boggs. This year, she says, that bag will include Hallmark Magazine.



Previously an associate publisher at Bon Appetit, Campbell-Boggs was initially skeptical when Hallmark hired her last year, but was won over by the amount of research the brand put into the launch. Hallmark has a "31-million name database," she notes, and although it began as a sophisticated frequent shopper program, "they started overlaying all this other information."

From it, Hallmark gleaned extensive research on the viability of the magazine. "We knew the woman who was interested in Hallmark Magazine was a 43-year-old with a median income of about $80,000," she says. As for geographic dispersal, they live all across the United States "because Hallmark is truly an American brand."

Campbell-Boggs was careful to note that the magazine's editorial content will be meaningful. "We're about the emotional connection, but we are not at all about sappy. We are certainly not--I underline not--being written by the card writers." She hopes the general feel of the publication will strike a different note than most women's magazines. They usually "tell women to be something they're not. Be thinner, be prettier, be happier, be something else. We're saying be yourself. Sit back. Smell the roses."

While the title will have the obligatory recipe section, it might focus on the emotional connections forged by sharing food, she explains. Similarly, the shelter edit won't just show a beautiful sofa to put in your living room. The magazine will suggest placing it in a special corner of the living room and sharing a moment with your kids there before they leave for school. "That way, the sofa becomes something meaningful and important," says Campbell-Boggs--a message she hopes will resonate with readers.

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