The Curse of the Company Christmas Cards

The problem is, is that there are so many pointless cards. This week alone I’ve had 20 including one from a printer I’ve never met, used, or ever heard of, one from an electrical firm that clearly thinks that I’m in telecommunications, not the PR sort of communications, and another from a vets, which is odd as I’ve never had a pet – unless you count my cohabite, Mr Long Suffering, of course.

Christmas cards as a marketing tool is pretty much null and void these days. How sincere can festive warm wishes be when you’ve not even bothered to sign your name and have got the printer to incorporate your sign off into the card’s design and print it alongside the front cover – a puppy in reindeer antlers? Cards literally arrive by the Santa’s sack full, rarely from people you know and therefore effectively screams “Give us your cash!”.

Worse are the companies that send an email to their massive and random database which says instead of spending money on Christmas cards this year, and to help protect the environment, they will be donating the equivalent spend to the charity ‘Puppies need more reindeer antlers’. I have several responses to this.

Mainly, it’s: Where’s the receipt? I’m afraid that I don’t have faith that when these emails are circulated, they actually end up in a charitable donation. Perhaps it’s just me? Secondly I think the company in question a) can’t be bothered to sort cards out b) has left it too late to sort cards out c) is too tight to sort cards out. At no point do I think what I suspect the company/companies want me to think, which I believe would be: ‘What a generous gesture they have made and to such a wonderful cause’.

In my rant I probably shouldn’t miss out the rise and fall of electronic Christmas cards either. A few years ago I spent a large part of December opening emails that burst into song or animation, most of which were not hugely inventive and, generally, just ‘nice’. Luckily this year they have been very few and far between so my inbox is (almost) my own.

“So what would make you happy you miserable woman?” I hear you ask. Well, I would like some festive fun please. Be inventive, be fun. This is, after all, the season to be jolly. This year, I’m going to be circulating (by email) a Christmas card that was given to my six year old niece by one of her classmates. It’s relevant to my business because it illustrates the vital importance of proof reading – something her classmate’s parents rather superbly failed to do – see the image.

For those of you that aren’t quite sure what the lovely Henry was trying to write, I believe it was ‘For you’, not the amusing alternative. Merry Christmas.

About Clare Bampton

Clare Bampton has nearly 20 years’ experience in PR and marketing and founded Derbyshire-based Bampton Communications Limited seven years ago following a career including Lloyds TSB, The Boots Company, TNT and British Waterways. Bampton provides practical, value-for-money PR and marketing services to a wide range of SMEs and marketing professionals across the UK.