This year’s christmas card shopping was done at Art Friend – last year we made christmas cards for a lot of our friends because we couldn’t find any card designs that we’d pay money for. Coincidentally the card stock at Art Friend is 40% off now! For both pearly card stock and regular – I kinda hate that most of their card stock come in construction paper colors – why would anyone want that? We also got a Christmas sticker book from Kikki.K with pictures of puddings and red cardinals in the snow and sleds stacked high with presents – for decorating the envelopes with. And a tube of gold acrylic paint for me to paint stylized christmas trees onto the cards. Typo was also carrying these nice rubber stamps that said Merry Christmas, or had a picture of a gingerbread man – which of course I couldn’t resist.
THEN, after we’d basically completed buying all the supplies we needed to make this year’s christmas cards, we found boxes of christmas cards that were actually well designed in Marks and Spencer!
The British really do have exemplary marketing. Just look at all the labels in Marks and Spencer/Sainsbury – you never see something labelled for exactly what it is, say, Ginger Ale. It’s always Extremely Fiery Ginger Beer, or Extremely Chocolatey Milk Chocolate Rounds (More Chocolate Than Biscuit!) or Punchy Sweet Cherry Tomato & Roquette Pasta Sauce. It’s the same on the Jamie’s Italian menu – everything sounds mouthwatering, until you actually eat it. You have no idea how much money I’ve spent in Marks and Spencer just because of their advertising ><
You come to realize, that for some people in the world, everything is beautiful, or gorgeous, or just fantastic. Just see Kristina Karlsson's article on what’s in her bag and you’ll find any number of lovely and gorgeous things in it. Even a box of mints. Or look at Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Fish Finger Butties, basically frozen fish fingers and bread and ketchup.
“The most important bit is to put the other bit of bread on top and, using a little force, push down on your buttie which, for some reason, seems to make it taste even better. ”
The world is just a shinier place for these people, where anything and everything, including squeezing a sad out-of-the-freezer sandwich makes someone’s day.
While I think this super positive mentality is admirable, I think it’d be just a wee bit grating after awhile. I actually don’t have a single friend who is that effusive, but most Singaporeans tend to err on the side of negativity/too-cool-for-gushing-admiration as well (which probably explains why Singaporean kids have self-esteem issues or a slightly scary malevolence toward their parents). You need such people in marketing though, or in the greeting card industry. Which brings me back to my christmas cards – the M&S ones were really nice, and just recalling the sheer amount of work we put into making our cards last year was enough for us to plonk down $40 for 40 christmas cards that will be mailed out to all our friends overseas (and some local ones I have not really bothered to meet up with that often). Now all we have to worry about is writing the cards! I have to admit, it is quite a load off my back, cause we had a list of about 15-20 people we were going to make cards for. But Christmas is such a great time to write to your friends, especially those you have not talked to in over a year – you can ask for their address out of the blue and make sure they’re still alive etc. – and that way you won’t be the guy on quora who only found out his friend has passed away one year post the fact!