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Hallmark’s brand campaign celebrates everyday life

BY Allison Cerra

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hallmark wants customers to celebrate life’s everyday, unexpected moments through a new tagline and year-round campaign.

The greeting card company’s "Life is a Special Occasion" campaign will communicate and engage with consumers year-round. Hallmark said that its recent product innovations, including recordable storybooks, personalized greetings, personalized plates and interactive story buddies, help customers capture those moments that often pass by.

"We are committed to Hallmark’s brand purpose of inspiring meaningful connections that enhance relationships and enrich lives," said Lisa Macpherson, Hallmark’s chief marketing officer. "However, as our products and services expand to meet consumer needs, we have an opportunity to expand Hallmark’s brand relevance in our consumer’s daily lives as well. Life is a Special Occasion was developed to help achieve that goal."

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Tough times impact Stater Bros.’ Q1

BY Allison Cerra

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Customers facing economic challenges caused a decline in Stater Bros.’ first-quarter sales, the Southern California supermarket chain said Wednesday.

For the quarter ended Dec. 26, Stater Bros. experienced a 2.3% decline in supermarket sales, as did same-store sales — which dropped to $21.3 million — for the period. The chain said that its customers "continue to face tough economic challenges as our economy continues to have a negative effect on their family budgets."

Net income for the quarter dropped 80% to $1.3 million, compared with first quarter 2010. Stater Bros. noted that the net income of first quarter 2010 included an after-tax gain of $4.7 million from the company’s dairy asset sale.

On the upside, the company did report that its overall debt load was reduced, which in turn will reduce the company’s interest expense.

Commenting on the results, Stater Bros. chairman, president and CEO, Jack Brown, said that the company’s emphasis "is to retain customers by providing value, so [they can] get the most out of their shopping dollars, while providing them with a friendly and satisfying experience on each and every one of their visits to our supermarkets."

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Fresh & Easy goes gourmet

BY Allison Cerra

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — One month after announcing the expansion of its Eatwell line to meet customers’ demand for affordable and nutritious meal options, Fresh & Easy has rolled out its Gourmet line.

Created by Fresh & Easy’s team of chefs, Gourmet gives customers a fine-dining experience with all the comforts of home. Additionally, Fresh & Easy created an online menu of the new items and posted photos of the new range on the company’s Flickr photostream.

John Burry, Fresh & Easy’s chief commercial officer, said, “Instead of spending $20 a plate at a restaurant, customers can pop in to Fresh & Easy for delicious and affordable meals they can enjoy in the comfort of their homes."

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