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Hallmark’s Free Card Friday campaign reaches milestone

BY DSN STAFF

Hallmark has reached a major milestone in its Free Card Friday campaign.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based company announced that more than one million cards have now been picked up from its Gold Crown stores.

The campaign invites consumers to visit their local Hallmark Gold Crown store on Fridays and select a complimentary card from the Just Because line to send in an act of kindness, the company said.

“The success of our new Just Because card line and Free Card Friday validates the huge impact that the simple act of capturing your feelings within a greeting card can have on relationships,” Lindsey Roy, chief marketing officer of Hallmark Greetings, said. “We’re in the caring business, so whenever we’re able to see a program perform so well, we’re encouraged by the fact that it’s about so much more than numbers — it’s really about the connections and relationships that Hallmark cards help to strengthen.”

Originally slated to end on July 27, the company decided to extend Free Card Friday through Aug. 31. The Just Because collection features over 130 cards in categories that include friendship, love, thank you, encouragement, thinking of you, congrats and get well, and are priced at $2.99 each.

“The teams behind our Gold Crown stores passionately believe in helping put more care in the world and we’ve loved seeing new faces come in every Friday with a desire to do just that,” Jennifer Seyller, general manager and vice president of Hallmark Retail, said. “With the campaign continuing through the end of August, each week provides a new chance for consumers to stop by a Hallmark Gold Crown store, pick a card and put their feelings into words.”

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Pet owners prefer this retailer for shopping needs

BY DSN STAFF

It’s easy to assume that the top place to purchase products for pets would be one of the mass specialty retail stores geared towards dogs, cats and other animals that consumers would be likely to have as an additional household member. Though as the saying goes, things aren’t always how they seem.

According to data published by Packaged Facts’ new U.S. Pet Market Focus: Walmart as Competitor study, the retailer has been etching out the competition. The study also assesses the retailer’s pet products, services and focuses on omnichannel — online, in-store and aggregated — consumer purchasing trends over time.

Walmart’s pet-owning consumer base is quite larger than such major retailers as Target, Costco and Kroger, the study also reports.

When it comes to choosing the location to find the right products for their four-legged family members, consumers weigh pricing heavily, but also look at other such variables as convenience, brands and selection.

“Overall, Walmart enjoys impressive strength in shopper traffic/shopping trips, offering almost unbeatable one-store shopping convenience, making it possible for pet owners to pick up non-pet products, along with pet products of all stripes, in the same place,” David Sprinkle, Packaged Facts’ research director, said. “And pet product customers are clearly a growth engine for Walmart.”

Less relevant factors that influence spending habits are related to the retailer’s staff and in-store services. The ability to order online also makes less of an impact, the study states.

Packaged Facts also estimates that more than one-third of Walmart’s pet product purchasers report spending more from the retailer than a few years ago, while less than 10% report to spending less. About half are spending the same amount, with the Gen Z and millennial demographics citing that they are more likely to purchase from Walmart than a few years ago.

Further information on the study can be found on the company’s website.

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Rice Krispies unveils braille sticker, re-recordable audio box notes

BY DSN STAFF

As back-to-school season begins, Rice Krispies is looking to help parents send their children encouraging messages on their snacks.

The Battle Creek, Mich.-based company, which is part of the Kellogg’s portfolio, partnered with the National Federation of the Blind to create accessible “Love Notes” in the form of braille stickers and re-recordable audio boxes, so parents and family members of those who are blind or have low vision can send their loved one’s notes of encouragement.

“The National Federation of the Blind is committed to helping parents raise blind children prepared to be confident, happy and productive members of society,” Mark Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said. “As a father of three children, I know that love and support are critical to every child’s success. We are delighted to partner with Rice Krispies Treats, which shares our commitment to inclusion and braille literacy, to make sure blind students can get accessible ‘Love Notes’ in their lunch boxes this back-to-school season.”

Each of the“Love Notes” stickers are heart shaped to match the space on the snack’s writeable wrappers, and include eight uplifting phrases in braille from “You’ve Got This” to “Love You Lots.”

The re-recordable audio box holds a Rice Krispies treat inside, and when opened, plays a 10-second pre-recorded message. The box allows messages to be recorded over 1,000 times, the company said.

“Kellogg as a whole has a larger connection to this cause with W.K. Kellogg having lost his sight for the last decade of his life, and continued to work at the company full time for a number of years afterwards,” Jessica Waller, vice president of sales and co-chair of Kapable Business/Employee Resource Group at Kellogg, said. “Inclusion is in our DNA, and is now shared through Rice Krispies Treats ‘Love Notes.’ Everyone is important, and we want each child to be able to feel loved, supported and acknowledged.”

The notes were inspired by 11-year-old student Eme Butler-Mitchell, who is blind and spreads love through her musical talents, the company said.

To order “Love Notes” at no charge while supplies last, consumers can visit the company’s website where further information also is located.

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