When times are tough, people fall back on what they know. In food departments, this means comfort favorites like meatloaf and macaroni and cheese, and in the nonfood greeting card aisle, it's traditional messages featuring time-honored holiday characters.
The recession has brought out the classic spirit in every occasion, it seems. This past Christmas, for example, greeting card manufacturers found that the top seller wasn't the Grinch or the Peanuts gang or “High School Musical” — it was Santa.
“Whether he was in a traditional card looking like the Clement Moore Santa, or even in some of the more whimsical cards, our members said Santa was in this year,” said Barbara Murray, spokeswoman for the Greeting Card Association, the industry's trade group.
The same mindset should hold up for this coming Valentine's Day. Nick Barainca, director of GM and nonfoods at Scolari's Food & Drug, Sparks, Nev., said that he plans to cross-promote cards with the floral department, offering 30% to 40% off greeting cards with the purchase of a dozen roses or more. He said he'll also include stuffed animals, chocolates and other items that people traditionally associate with the holiday in his promotional plans.
As for the cards themselves, it's classical romance all the way.
“People are going more with the low-cost cards that have traditional messages,” said Barainca.