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Facebook Moms Meet Hallmark's 'Instant Personalization' on Mothers Day!

With Facebook facing one's of its most critical hurdles - probably since its inception - brands like Hallmark are upping their game in marketing their products and services via the social network. While the term 'instant personalization' has been tainted with the launch of Facebook's Open Graph, Hallmark is using "personalization" in a way that takes some of the sting out of that privacy issue.

According to demographic studies conducted last year when Facebook reached its quarter billion user milestone, the population of members over the age of 55 grew 513.7 percent within the first nine months of the year. In February '09, the fastest growing segment on Facebook were women over 55. Retrevo's consumer report found that nearly half (48%) of parents add their children as friends on Facebook. With those kind of stats, is it any wonder that Hallmark has created a special multimedia testimonial for Mom's this Mother's Day.

Hallmark is putting a social twist on the traditional Mother's Day card with a  new promotion that allows family members and friends to post multimedia tributes to Moms on Facebook combining video, blogs, photos and sharing tools.

In honor of Mother’s Day and the May 8 premiere of original Hallmark Channel movie , Hallmark has added a Meet My Mom tab on its Facebook  page.

Since the Hallmark Mother's page went live on April 19, there are more than 1000 users that sent tributes to their moms, with Hallmark Facebook fans now totally over 68,000.



It is touching to learn that many of the posts have come from military personnel serving in Iraq and Afghanistan through outreach efforts by the USO, the American Forces Network, "Star and Stripes" and the Army Public Affairs Office.

"We've gotten amazing videos from the troops, people putting up love stories about their parents and testimonials to moms," said Liz Heller, president of marketing agency Buzztone, which works with Hallmark on its digital media initiatives. "It's evoked a lot of sentiment and emotion."

The increased interaction on Facebook is a big change for Hallmark, which until last November had only about 250 fans, according to Pam Slay, senior vice president of program publicity at Hallmark Channels. "We had to learn the secrets that this stuff has to be conversational," she said. "We start the conversation and get out of the way."

So while 'instant personalization' means something entirely different for Hallmark as they harness power of Facebook to reinforce their brand messaging, Facebook still faces an uphill battle by sticking to their guns on their interpretation of 'instant personalization.' On May 6, they drew criticism from 15 consumer groups, including the Electronic Privacy Information Center and an ongoing investigation by Senator Charles Schumer and the Federal Trade Commission to thwart their current privacy policies.

However, on the one day of the year when families extol the virtues of their moms, I would venture to guess that privacy is the last thing on our minds - particularly when we don't care if the whole world knows how much we care about the women that brought us into this world. In that respect, I think Hallmark's Mothers Day campaign is right on target in providing us with an arena to exercise our bragging rights!  (Now, its up to Facebook to go back to the drawing board and find a better way to address our concerns about privacy during the over 364 days of the year!)

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Ron Callari
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