Today, national news reported on a card marketed by Hallmark to benefit aids in Africa.  But the news report didn’t cover the benefits and contribution Hallmark is making to help people living with aids in Africa.  8% of the net wholesale proceeds from the sale of their new (Product) Red line are contributed to the Global Fund to help fight aids.

So what was the focus of the news report today?   A greeting card!

The outrage reported is about a card that appears to be offering a glass of wine with the following message:

Front Message:  Pardon Me

Inside Message:  Would you care for some Liquid Clothes Remover?

The card features an attractive image of what appears to be a male offering a glass of wine with an inside message asking "Would you care for some liquid clothes remover?"  (see snapshot below)

So is there an ethical issue here worth reporting?  Hallmark appears to have removed the card from the site following the news story, and below is a snapshot of the product that caused the outrage.  What do you think?

liquid clothes remover

The news report suggests that the card is marketed to children – and that was the focal point of the outrage of the news report.  While it may be true that some of the Product Red line are oriented towards children and that may be a market demographic that has responded to the line, I could find no credible source that Hallmark actually launched any kind of marketing campaign that targeted children with this product line.  And no source that would legitimately suggest that they targeted this specific card towards children.

So is there any real issue here?

Today, it appears that Hallmark has pulled the card from their website.  Browsers to the page that used to display the card are now met with a "technical issues" error message.

liquid clothes remover card pulled

Hallmark is one of the leading manufacturer’s of cards.  A trusted source, and a name brand that implies "the very best."  So it is not suprising that rather than risk even the potential of compromising their reputation, that Hallmark would pull this card.

So let’s consider the business ethics of the situation.

Did Hallmark do anything wrong?  Did Hallmark do anything unethical in their creation or marketing of this specific card?  Does it change your opinion if you believe that children might buy the card?

The facts of the situation are very clear, Hallmark did nothing wrong.  There is no evidence to suggest that the card was created or marketed in an inappropriate or unethical manner.  Hallmark’s history and today’s apparent action to pull the card suggest that Hallmark cares very deeply about even the hint of impropriety.

So while it may not be a card that I want my granddaughter’s boyfriend to give her, I will still be proud to have him give her a Hallmark card.  Hallmark’s slogan "When You Care Enough To Send The Very Best" still holds true in my opinion.


Filed under: Ethics

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