The GCA took the #Cardmitment campaign to Westminster, raising the profile of our £1.5bn world-leading industry with MP’s, encouraging Christmas card sending and highlighting the importance of the postal service to our industry.
GCA’s Amanda Fergusson and Adriana Lovesy were joined by vice president Karen Wilson of Paper Salad, David Falkner of Cardology and Jakki Brown from PG, along with NIck and Andrea from our PR team at Arena.
MPs from as far apart as Glasgow and Worthing attended the event, with others getting in touch asking to be connected to a greeting card company in their area, or to send apologies and their support, for example Michael Gove whose private secretary attended on his behalf.
The MP #Cardmitment
At the session on 29th November MP’s were asked to sign a giant card, designed by Sarah Jackson of Stormy Knight and produced by Sherwood Press, with these 5 pledges:
- Agreeing to lead the way by sending Christmas cards this year
- Visiting an Independent card retailer and/or publisher and/or designer in their constituency in the run-up to Christmas to remind people it still only costs 75p to send a card by post
- Help support the GCA’s Caring at Christmas campaign , where scores of members will be visiting care homes to help residents write and send cards
- To help make sure that 2nd class postal rate stays pegged to inflation
- Offer support to local posties by protecting the Royal Mail’s obligation to deliver reliably everywhere in the UK
The event was sponsored by backbench MP Mark Menzies (Fylde, Lancashire), who worked with the GCA to organise this drop-in session for MPs in the run-up to the crucial Christmas period. Mark is a Conservative Party politician who has a background in retail, having previously worked at Asda, Marks & Spencer and Morrisons.
The GCA wrote personally to all 650 MPs, inviting them to the event. Mark also emailed MPs, telling them why he’s sponsoring this drop-in session and repeating some of the GCA’s messages. This messaging to MP’s of all parties was followed up again on the day by Mark’s team, and others attending, within various MP’s WhatsApp groups.
Many GCA members also wrote to their MP’s, driving them to attend on the day and inviting them to visit their businesses to talk about the industry and issues facing them locally. It’s not too late to join in – see below for more and details on contacting your MP.
David Falkner hand-delivered a card to his MP, Elliott Coleman, who was first to arrive at the event and sign our #Cardmitment pledge. A keen card sender Elliott spoke about visiting award winning greeting card retailer Calladoodles in Carshalton High St near his offices.
Discussions with MP’s were clear – they all loved cards and understood the importance of greeting cards for connecting their communities. All were sending Christmas cards and understand the importance of a national, reliably and affordable postal service, with many highlighting concerns from constituents about the postal service. Yvonne Fovargue MP joined us on her birthday and was hoping to go home to lots of cards from her friends.
MP’s were sent photos from the event to use on social media to share with constituents and colleagues.
As well as signing the giant card, kindly produced by Sherwood Press, MP’s were given a leaflet to take away, also designed by Sarah Jackson of Stormy Knight and kindly printed by Loxleys. The leaflet gave more details about the campaign, the importance of the greeting card industry, our contributions to the UK economy and also the positive benefits of sending and receiving cards on peoples mental health.
Jakki Brown brought her very own first Christmas card, one of just ten left in the world of the first commercial Christmas card commissioned and sent by Sir Henry Cole! The MP’s were delighted to have the opportunity to see this, along with the Penny Black stamp Jakki also brought.
GCA members meeting MP across the country.
Independent retailer, Kaye Thurgood, owner of Sincerely Yours met with her local MP in her Shenfield store.
Kaye later shared a video on social media of the visit with MP Alex Burghart pledging his support for our #Cardmitment campaign.
After the visit the MP shared a photo of him and Kaye in the Brentwood Gazette and spoke about his visit to her “lovely card and gift shop” and repeated the points Kaye had made about the importance of cards, adding “I still send cards by post (about 500 a year). The act of sitting down and hand writing notes to those who have been part of my life is a tradition I do not intend to give up“.
Following the visit I have had lots of customers come into the store and say they’d read the article in the local paper. Customers are pleased to hear our MP is supporting small businesses in the townKaye Thurgood, Sincerely Yours
Meanwhile in Exeter Ben Bradshaw MP visited Otter House, meeting MP Kirsty Guy.
MD Kirsty Guy took the opportunity share the importance of the physical card to the recipient in today’s fast paced digital world, and Ben Bradshaw confirmed his support for pegging the 2nd class stamp price to inflation:
It was a pleasure to visit Otter House in Exeter. In this digital age, it’s especially nice to receive a proper card and I always enjoy sending them at Christmas.
Ofcom must stick to its guns and peg stamp price increases to inflation for the next five yearsBen Bradshaw MP for Exeter
It was a pleasure meeting Ben Bradshaw, our MP for Exeter, who is a card sending advocate.Kirsty Guy MD GCA member Otter House
How to join in and connect with your local MP
If you haven’t already, please contact your MP highlighting the importance of the greeting card industry to consumers, the High St and the importance of a national, reliable and affordable postal system to our industry (draft letter can be downloaded below).
At the bottom of this blog is a copy of the letter we sent to each MP, plus a suggested draft of a letter that can be amended and personalised to send to your MP.
To find out who your local MP is click this link and put in your location or postcode.
If your business is in a different constituency, please write to both MP’s!
We are keen to share news of MP’s visiting GCA members businesses, so please do let us know if you hear from your MP, and of course share information and pictures on any visits, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to find our about our #Cardmitment campaign to share the joy of greeting cards
Visit #Cardmitment latest for the latest information on the campaign
Click this link for latest Media Coverage of #Cardmitment – scroll down and press the button at the bottom of the blog to see it all!
To see our #Cardmitment toolkit click here and download instagram posts, posters and other POS to use in your business to promote the importance of cards!
Please sign up to visit your local care home in November, see our blog Caring at Christmas. This is one example of the industry activity that the agency can amplify under our #Cardmitment campaign.
For ideas on marketing initiatives to spread the joy of cards, see what others in the industry have done for in recent years – see the links on Get Involved
Click the link to see all Press Releases
Thank you for your support!