mcgarry brings ‘heartfelt authenticity’ to Hallmark spots

Hallmark's "Countdown" by mcgarrybowen

Hallmark’s “Countdown” by mcgarrybowen

With an abundance of
simple yet
passionate drama,
the agency
and the client
add life to the
#CareEnough initiative

mcgarrybowen helped Hallmark Gold Crown travel down roads rarely taken by creating four new spots in support of the online and retail gift company’s #CareEnough initiative.

Ranging from 30 to 120 seconds, the series features a lesbian couple seeking to adopt, a kid who loves chocolate, a career mom working overtime, and a dad who buffoons around like Clark Griswold.

The individual stories are presented as handheld slices-of-life that roll by like cinéma vérité. Each one finishes with a Gold Crown holiday gift product that completes the narrative.

Outside of the conclusion, the spots do not contain any hint of a traditional pitch, slogan, or even the name of the advertiser.

The concepts’ abundance of simple yet passionate drama is something of a risk, but mcgarrybowen and Hallmark Gold Crown — along with Radical Media handling production and Cutters on post — bring them to life with hearfelt authenticity.



The effort began as an inspiration last year, when Hallmark Gold Crown developed its Care Enough campaign.

“We saw and continue to see a huge empathy deficit in the world,” explains Director of Marketing Ann Herrick. “We completed deep ethnographic and qualitative research and learned about the distinct differences in our consumers caring behavior.”



Hallmark Gold Crown’s research resulted in the company refining its brand target as a “Caring Connector” and refining its promise to, “Hallmark helps you live a caring, connected life full of meaningful moments.”

Since its launch, Herrick continues, the Care Enough campaign has “touched the hearts of women across the country.”



According to a press release, the objective of the #CareEnough initiative is “to encourage consumers to find small, yet meaningful ways to show the people in their lives how much they care.” It has had an effect on the mcgarrybowen as well.

“The world could use a little (even a lot) more caring, and who better to spread caring than the company that has been teaching the world to care for over 100 years,” says a representative for the company. “Our mission wasn’t just about creating a new campaign; it was about a transition for how and why Hallmark exists in the world.”



Advertiser: Hallmark
   Marketing Director – Retail: Ann Herrick:
   Marketing Manager – Retail: Jill Webb
   Associate Marketing Manager – Retail: Tyler Cordel

Agency: mcgarybowen
   North America Chief Creative Officer: Ned Crowley
   Chicago Chief Creative Officer: Kurt Fries
   Group Creative Director: Todd Brusnighan
   Group Creative Director: Doug Behm
   Senior Art Director: Katelyn Berg
   Senior Copywriter: Matt Frierdich
   Director of Content Production: Steve Ross
   Executive Producer: Mark Olson
   Music Producer: Libby Morris
   Director of Business Affairs: Joann Baker
   Senior Business Manager: Kelly Lenthe
   Chief Strategy Officer: Jamie Shuttleworth
   Group Strategy Director: Anna Conroy
   Strategist: Kelly Dittrich
   Group Managing Director: Betsy Ross
   Account Managing Director: Sally Cox
   Account Supervisor: Nancy Casales-Silva

Production: Radical Media
   Director: Andrew Becker
   Executive Producer: Gregg Carlesimo
   Producer: Susan Sullivan

Post Production: Cutters
   Editor: Steve Bell
   Editor: Marian Oliver

Color Grading: Nice Shoes
   Colorist: Ron Sudul

Music: Comma Music
   Senior Producer: Leigh Salzman
   Creative Director: Larry Pecoralla

Media agency: Criterion Global

Send your campaign updates to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton,