Exhaustive research helps Hallmark determine ways to express love

The world's largest greeting card maker, Hallmark Cards Inc., has for the first time analyzed individual U.S. cities' data for top-selling Valentines, and it yielded a surprising result.

They were all the same a result of the exhaustive research Hallmark carries out before any card goes on the shelf. It's a process of analyzing sales numbers and trend hunting in search of the perfect valentine.

Researchers at the Kansas City-based company expected the choices of customers to be as different as the cities they call home. But it turned out V330-5, one of the thousands of options Hallmark offered last Valentine's Day, was the top choice of consumers in New York and Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Miami, and virtually every other city in the United States.

"We thought it would be a different card in every city," said spokeswoman Rachel Bolton. "It was just a surprising thing."

Jessica Ong, product manager for the company's Valentine's card line, had an idealistic suggestion for the sales numbers' meaning.

"It speaks to the fact that people are more alike than they are different," she said.

The card's face is a deep red foil, with "For the One I Love" across the top in black script, a large picture of a red rose in the center, and a thick black ribbon cutting through the middle. Inside, it simply states: "Each time I see you, hold you, think of you, here's what I do ... I fall deeply, madly, happily in love with you. Happy Valentine's Day."

The card's designer, Marcia Muelengracht, said she was not at all surprised the card sold five times better than the average Valentine so well it's being offered for a second year.

"I cut to the chase what I would want to give and what I would want to receive," Muelengracht said. "A guy wants to say he still loves her. A gal wants to know he still does. She wants to get goose bumps. He wants to think he'll get lucky."

It's never as simple as just artistic intuition, though. The National Retail Federation estimates 62 percent of Americans will buy valentines this year, making it the third most popular holiday for greeting cards after Christmas and Fathers' Day, reports AP.

O.Ch.