Friday, February 29, 2008

Picking Pockets, Prepping Pets, Getting Funny...

Things are crazier and crazier around here, so Judgy called for back-up. Don’t worry—our chief correspondent will return when life settles down.

I’ve been helping out by editing the winners’ bios for the backs of the cards. It’s remarkable how many people have the best dog/cat/pig/bird/chinchilla/turtle/snake/guinea pig/hamster/tarantula in the whole wide world! Okay, kidding about the tarantula. We love everyone’s stories and we know the voting public will enjoy them, too.

Our small-but-mighty team is workin’ it, scrambling night and day to git ‘er done. wrapping up (RED), starting voting on PETS, kicking off SHOEBOX and dreaming up what contests should be next. (Good thing we love what we’re doing.)

Here’s Theresa, using state-of-the-art Dixie Cup technology to randomly assign stock numbers (and locations in the display) to our semifinalists’ photos. That’s how dedicated we are to making sure everything is fair and square.

In case you’re wondering about our team’s animal friends…

Winnie, my 90-pound lap dog (Lab/Newfie mix), enjoys watching the Westminster Kennel Club show. Specifically, she has a thing for the Saluki. We have to cordon off the TV so she doesn’t lunge and hurt herself.

But enough about me.

Get ready to get funny, people. Shoebox kicks off Monday!

"Blogden Nash"

Monday, February 18, 2008

YourPets Final Judging Day

Okay, so here are some pictures of the judging as it happened and where it happened.

The top one hundred were displayed for the judges and we each scored each card idea in a gallery sort of setting. (Sort of.)

Like I say, it was fun but tricky. There were so many stellar (and hilarious) ideas and pictures and writing.

But in the end, we are quite pleased with the group of finalists. (And we think you will be, too.)

And if you, dear reader, are not one of the selected 67, remember that there will be another chance to participate in this adventure: voting your favorite finalist into the Grand Prize Winner starts on 3/3.

Oh and on that very same day, we are launching our next competition (as if you didn't already know): Your Funny*ness.

Random Aside Follow-up: Hunthausen = Dog House. Bengelsdorf = Village of the Naughty Children.

Erin & Her Big Day (Our First Grand Prize Winner)

A little bit ago, the nice folks over at Erin McGuire's college (Ringling College of Art and Design in Florida) helped us make the big deal out of Erin winning the grand prize from our Your(Hallmark)RED contest that she deserved. We couldn't all fly out there (though we sure wished we could've), but some Hallmark alum were in attendance so that sure was nice.

Erin's friends and family were there too, along with the president of the school, her professors and all sorts of other people who support this very talented young illustrator. (Erin and the president of Ringling, Dr. Larry R. Thompson, are pictured above.)

It was a lovely day, by all reports. We hope you enjoyed yourself, Erin. :)

P.S. We are super grateful to Ringling and our Gold Crown friends in Florida for helping Erin celebrate her achievement. And of course, we also continue to be pleased as punch that Erin decided to enter this contest in the first place. Lucky us.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Finalists, Keep Your Ear to the Ground...

Decisions have been made. Finalists have been called. Confirmation letters and emails have been sent.

67 of them (plus some alternates just in case).

As we've mentioned, it wasn't an easy call to make. There certainly were many submissions that we're heartbroken didn't make it into the top group. (And there also are quite a few that just had such low resolution - from a camera phone maybe? - that they'd print really funny.) (Do check your design's image resolution (dpi) is high enough when you submit, pretty please!)

A few days ago, the Hallmark judging team (your hosts) invited Dr. Wayne Hunthausen, a local veterinarian and pet behavior specialist, and Brian Bengelsdorf, the Art Director of "Dog Fancy" magazine, to make the final call on which cards should make it to the finalist round.

They, too, were impressed with the quality of the entries, particularly how well many of you tied your photograph to your birthday sentiment. Also, with just how well your photos came out. (They know from lots of personal experience how squirmy even the most patient pet can be.) Nicely done, you guys.

To those of you who didn't make the cut this time, remember that this is not the end, but the beginning (we hope we hope we hope) of all these competitions. Stay tuned.

Random aside: At dinner with our pet experts, we found out both of their last names means something funny or pet-related when translated to English. Any guesses?

"Just For Fun"

Look out Judgy, I FINALLY figured out how to post on our blog and I just can't resist spilling a few more beans on this one! :)

By "Just For Fun" Judgy is referring to a card that can be sent for any 'ole reason. It's not a holiday card (sorry rose) or a birthday card like our last contest, but more of an out of the blue card that's just absolutely hilarious that you want to send it to someone just because it's so d@mn funny.

And one more hint... it doesn't have to be a photo this time (though it can be) so get those creative juices flowing!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Just For Fun... :)

That's hint #3 about the next competition.

So now you have: Funny + Shoebox + "Just for Fun."

Happy Brainstorming! (Oh and Happy Valentine's Day, too.)


P.S. More judging/pets details to come very soon.
Waiting for some pics to make it more interesting.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

So "Funny" isn't enough of a hint, then?

Okay fine, eager beavers. How about "Shoebox funny"?

Sink your teeth into that. ;)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Pssst... think you're funny?

While we are doggedly working on creating the best group of 67 finalists without caterwalling too many times or getting into too many skirmishes, we are also working on putting together the details for the NEXT competition (which will be officially announced on 3/3). (Presuming we master the art of multi-tasking.)

ANYWAY, there may be a few of you that are looking to work toward the next challenge while you're in wait-and-see mode for this one. (One of you is, anyway.) So... here's a little hint to help you prepare:

Our next card competition has to do with funny. Funny cards. Funny cards made by you, you funny people.

I'm sure you are all naturally hilarious and are able to translate that high hilarity into the world of greeting cards, but just in case you could use some practice or want to try out some varied approaches before go time, be our guest.

Details to follow.

Okay, back to the exercise wheel.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Judging = Tricky

We're getting closer to naming the finalists, but we're not there yet.
(This isn't easy, believe me.)

The next step: Two pet experts are coming in next week to join our Hallmark team in making the final finalist selections. They are all about pets. They'll be good to Squeakers and Sparky, don't worry.

Oh and since some of you are wondering which sort of pets wandered into our lives here, wanted to let you know that we've seen everything from pet pigs to your classic Chocolate Lab. (There was also a penguin. Do people really have pet penguins? I guess we'll find out if the penguin makes it to the final round.)

P.S. No bonus points for blogging, but it sure is more fun when you all join in on the convo. :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Snow, Pets and Guffaws.

After reviewing (and laughing at) (I mean "with") many, many, many pet birthday card ideas, the preliminary round of judging is now done (!). You guys sent us over 7,000 ideas for our mere 67 spots. So, if you win, know that your Fido ran a tough race. (Really.)

And is it ever a tough race. (Especially for the couple of tortoises who entered.) (Guess who has a close 3-year-old friend?)

Hand-picked Hallmark art directors, editorial directors and photo stylists were all on hand (having battled a bit of a snow storm this morning) to look at your fun and funny animals. They laughed, they guffawed, they giggled, and they scratched their noodles at the wide and wonderful array of takes on the pet birthday card theme you all shared. And they all left the "bowling alley" smiling.

You are a funny bunch of pet-havers and pet-card-makers. Thanks for sharing.


P.S. Yes, we totally made the pictures below too low-res for you to see the submissions ahead of time. I know, we're such stinkers.

P.P.S. We aren't going to be posting "favorites" ahead of the big reveal on 3/3 because we don't want to give any one finalist an unfair advantage over the others come voting time.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Warning to all Procrastinators...

... you have until 11:59:59 PM CST TONIGHT to submit your pet card idea. Thought you might like a reminder.

From one procrastinator to another, you're welcome.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Judging in the Bowling Alley