A Copywriter’s Blog
Hallmark is Trying to Kill Me

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. I explained last year how I feel about this holiday. Short version: not a fan.

But sellers of chocolate and some dead Christian dude demand that on February 14th I make certain overtures to The Wife. So a few days ago I went to get a card.

There were aisles of these things. Rows upon rows of pink, red, reddish-pink, and pinkish-red. And they all, without exception, sucked.

I don’t mean they were bad. No, no. Bad would be an improvement. I mean they flat-out reeked. There must have been about 200 cards there. But really, there were only three:

“Funny” Cards
Front of card: [Sexual Innuendo]
Inside of card: [HAHA, I bet you thought I was talking about sex, but really I meant something completely non-sexual. It's funny because you were wrong!]

Front of card: “This valentine’s day, I thought we could try a new position”
Inside of card: Couple watching TV while sitting upside down on the couch. (This is real. It exists. This one hurt so bad when I saw it that it seared itself into my brain and I’ve been having ‘Nam-like flashbacks ever since.)

“Heartfelt” Cards
Front of card: [Some mush so diabetes-inducingly sweet it would embarrass the writer of a Harlequin Romance novel.]
Inside of card: [Blank. Fucking blank. Because clearly after the profession of love and emotion you just read, no further words are necessary. You get to pay full price for half a card.]

Front of card: My soulmate, this Valentine’s Day we will share chocolate strawberries and bubbling champagne, but what really sustains me is your endless love.
Inside of card: (What you need more? Read the front again, that shit was amazing!)

Rhyming Cards
Front of card: [A rhyme. Not a good one.]
Inside of card: [Happy Valentine's Day!]

Front of card: “Nothing says ‘love’ like a card that rhymes/ Dear Hallmark, please fucking get with the times.”
Inside of card: “Wasn’t that rhyme awesome?! Happy Valentine’s Day!”

And there you have it. That was it. That was the entire 200 card “selection”.

Listen. Hallmark. I know I’m a writer. I know that makes me extra critical. And I know that makes it a little unfair of me to say I could do better in my sleep. (And by “sleep” I mean “while experiencing a medically-induced coma”.) But presumably you employ writers of your own. Ones who specialize in this “craft”. I mean, for the love of shit, you practically MADE UP this holiday. Can’t you do any better than “SEXUAL INNUENDO- JUST KIDDING! LOL!”?

You know, I actually looked through those the most. And here’s why- I was secretly hoping to find the one card that said “Hey Baby, this Valentine’s Day, let’s get busy”. Then on the inside: “No, seriously- it’s Valentine’s Day, you pretty much have to have sex with me. Start stripping.”

That card would have been fucking awesome. I know it’s not for everyone. But you have an audience of millions. Stretch a little. You can’t tell me your writers go home satisfied and hand these things to their wives and girlfriends. Who the hell wants to hand their loved-one a poem that sounds like it was written by a 2nd grader? “Oh my sweet/ you’re so neat/have some candy hearts to eat.” The only benefit is it makes whatever you do next seem fucking amazing: “Oh honey, a ball of dryer lint? You shouldn’t have! This is so much better than the card you just gave me!”

Fuck you, Hallmark. Fuck you and the vomit-inducing cliches you rode in on. I tried to end the pain by slitting my wrists with your crappy cards, but after 20 minutes I had nothing to show for it besides an arm covered in red and pink glitter. So next year, do me a favor:

Either stop writing shit lines, or invest in heavier card stock.

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