14 November 2010

Greeting Card Industry “Oscars” Undergo Makeover

Press release

New York, NY (October 2010) – The Greeting Card Association is pleased to announce the planned changes to the LOUIE AWARDS program undertaken as part of a Strategic Initiative within the association to modernize the awards program and accurately reflect the role ofgreeting cards in today’s society.

Earlier this year a committee of industry veterans began meeting to review the purpose of the Awards and shape a new vision for the future. Led by Strategic Chair Andy Meehan and supported by Patti Stracher, Chip Owen and John Mavrakis, prominent members of the greeting card industry, the group carefully reviewed the past LOUIE program. Knowing that the Awards celebrate a category of consumer products that that carries with it over 100 years of history, and that cards are used by almost every American household, (around 7 billion cards per year) the Committee evaluated the original purpose of the LOUIE Awards, the changing landscape of communication and the incredible artistry and creativity that is involved in the production of greeting cards, to arrive at a new vision and mission statement for the LOUIE Awards: "The LOUIES celebrate the art, editorial and design of greeting cards and reinforce the relevance of creating, sending and receiving greeting cards."

Key changes in the LOUIE Awards Program for the coming years include the greater involvement of retailer judges, a streamlining of the awards categories, consumer outreach and greater PR attention (both trade and consumer press), all culminating at the National Stationery Show in New York City (May 15-18 2011) with a new prominent display of LOUIE nominee’s at the show, and at the prestigious LOUIE Awards ceremony on May 16th where the winners are celebrated and recognized.

Subsequent to the presentation of the LOUIE Awards, it is anticipated that LOUIE Award winners will receive additional publicity, as well as increased sales from our outreach to Greeting Card fans via press and social media tools.

Based on the refined vision for the Awards the committee has selected the theme for the 2011 Awards as CONNECTION – it’s in the Cards. This theme highlights the history of greeting card use, and also corresponds to today’s ‘connected’ society where, despite the prominence of the digital age, the category is vibrant and strong. With all the new electronic means of connecting, people still send cards when they want to “friend someone for real” because paper greeting cards stand out in the mailbox and in the mind, becoming treasured memories of important events and relationships in our lives.

The submission process for the 2011 LOUIE Awards will begin with a “call for Entries” on November 1, 2010, where any commercially manufactured card in the current calendar year can be entered for consideration in approximately 50 different categories. Further details and entry forms will be posted on 11/1/10 at www.greetingcard.org.

Judging will take place in New York at a time to be decided, between Jan 29- Feb 4 and corresponding to the timing of the New York Int’l Gift Fair, where key industry executives (retailers and creative and marketing professionals) rank each card independently on a 10 point system across the LOUIE Judging criteria of Imagination, Impact, Artistry, Harmony, Sendability and Value. After the scores are tabulated, the three nominees for each category are made public, with the actual scores and the winning entry for each category announced at the presentation ceremony at the National Stationery Show May 16, 2011.

For over 20 years the LOUIES have celebrated creativity in greeting cards, and the new vision for the LOUIE’s builds on the history with a renewed passion to remind us all that CONNECTION – It’s In The Cards!

About the Greeting Card Association
The Greeting Card Association (GCA) is the industry trade organization representing publishers of greeting cards and other stationery products, as well as suppliers to the industry. Founded in 1941, GCA serves as the industry’s collective voice in promoting the tradition and value of exchanging greetings cards. GCA also represents the industry before key governmental and regulatory bodies, and monitors trends and developments of interest. GCA-member publishers account for approximately 95 percent of the greeting cards sold in the U.S.

About Andy Meehan, LOUIE Awards “Strategic Chair”
A past judge at several LOUIE Awards programs and a 25+ year veteran of the greeting card industry Andy’s company sells cards and stationery under the Christian Inspirations and Studio Q Creations brands.

About Patti Stracher
For 20 years Patti has managed the National Stationery Show the central business event and exposition for the greeting card and social stationery industry.

About Chip Owen
As Executive VP Chip has been with Avanti Press for over 18 years and they have
been a consistent leader and innovator of upbeat and offbeat greeting cards.

About John Mavrakis
John has been involved in retail, selling and manufacturing within greeting card
industry for over 20 years, serving the past 4 ½ years as President/COO of Kathy Davis Studios. John has also served as a past judge and Chair for the LOUIE awards.

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