Thursday, October 6, 2011

Well said and done, fellow greeting card fans

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Well done is better than well said.” I find this comforting. As a copywriter I often wrest with the improbability of cleverly nesting my topic into a nice, sellable, melt-in-your mouth shell.

This task can be especially challenging when there’s a special theme attached to the project. For instance, pitching medical services using navigational terms – “Need help riding the dicey tides of medical transcription?” Or selling cosmetics using spy lingo – “There’s a new agent in town, and she’s on a make-up mission.”

Some of my assignments require me to write intelligently about topics I am impressively unfamiliar with, like building construction, or engine work. I’m reminded on these days how glad I am for Wikipedia.

But there's one niche of writing I take special notice of: the greeting card.

I always enjoy this market because it's so varied, yet so universal. Funny or serious, cliche or poignant, these cards are like micro-abstracts of grander works. In my life I’ve perused the greeting card aisle about as many thousand times as the next guy, and I always wondered where they get the folks who pen these sappy couplets and cheesy sentiments.

I think perhaps these people just run on a perpetual deadline, having to come up with something – anything – really quick, good or not. Maybe they have a card quota, and have to churn out so many well wishes an hour. I guess in that case a barrel of monkeys proclaiming, “I go bananas over you” might count just as well as truly eloquent prose.

There’s also the mean card category. These are the cards that make terrible fun of someone’s age when they have a birthday: “You look really good for your age – almost lifelike.” Or what I like to call the cross-cheese: “I thought your house was on fire, but it was only the candles on your cake.”

One of the coolest things about is that our greetings are so personal. That’s because with our photo holiday cards, save the date magnets, birth announcement photo cards and birthday party invitations, we don’t write the greetings – you do! So you not only get to fancy-up your photo cards with your own picture, but the message is yours too. Much better than buying a card out of the box, right?

Also, I don’t mind saying, it kind of takes the pressure off me – I’m not too great at couplets, as it turns out. So every little bit you can do, helps me. You may not be a trained professional, but no one can express your thoughts quite the way you can. You say it; we make it happen. Well said, well done.

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