Last week, the Country Music Association and Hallmark Cards, Inc., announced a new licensing agreement, which would pair greeting cards with snippets of popular country music songs. The agreement should also lasso in younger consumers.
Most people have probably had the experience of opening a birthday card—and depending on the sender, expected to read an alternatively humorous or heartfelt message—but instead were surprised with a blaring audio clip.
With the announcement of a new licensing agreement between the Country Music Association (CMA) and Hallmark Cards, Inc., Americans will soon open cards and hear an audio clip with a decidedly country twang.
Come November, these Hallmark cards—priced at $4.99—will be available at stores nationwide. They’ll release a couple of weeks earlier in Walmart Stores. The cards will feature 15-second sound clips of CMA-member artists’ popular songs, such as Carrie Underwood’s “All American Girl” and Brad Paisley’s “Mud on the Tires.” Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, and Miranda Lambert are some of the other artists included in the 12-card series.
Emily Evans, CMA’s director of strategic partnerships, said that the agreement with Hallmark was good opportunity for the group because not only will it draw more attention to singers and songwriters but it’s also going to be a revenue driver. In addition, CMA will celebrate its 50th anniversary in November, so the cards, which will appear in card aisles with the 50th Annual CMA Awards logo branding, will also call attention to the group’s milestone.
“People love to connect with each other through music, and we’re thrilled to bring some of today’s hottest Country Music artists to Hallmark cards,” said Kelly Reichman, director of Hallmark Licensing, in a press release. “Capturing the spirit of today’s CMA-member artists, this collection celebrates good times with friends.”
According to the Greeting Card Association (GCA), Americans buy 6.5 billion greeting cards annually.
“Gen Y now represents more industry volume than any other generation, including baby boomers,” said GCA Executive Director Peter Doherty. “Part of this is due to the size of the generation, part due to the fact that they spend more per card.”
In sending greeting cards, Doherty said that people are trying to make an emotional connection.
And this emotional connection is one of the reasons Hallmark forged the deal with CMA. According to a CMA-commissioned study, conducted by the Futures Company, there was a 54 percent rise in country music consumption among the 18- to 24-year-old population group in the last decade. And more millennials listening to country music means more potential customers of country music cards.
“Companies are looking for ways to connect with millennials,” Doherty said.
He points to other ways card companies are reaching millennials. For example, Papyrus cutting a deal with Taylor Swift, and the husband-wife duo behind Old Tom Foolery selling cards with slightly irreverent messages that are again aimed at the younger generation.
CMA is enthusiastic about this new collaboration. “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the CMA Awards, and we are excited this partnership with Hallmark gives our fans another way to celebrate,” Evans said in a press release. “Country music tells the story of everyday living and these cards are a memorable way to mark life’s special moments.”