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Ringling Student Wins National Hallmark Greeting Card Competition
Date:1/11/2008

Card designed by student from Florida's Ringling School of Art and Design

is selected by voters; now available for purchase

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Jan. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Hallmark Cards, Inc., today announces America voted Erin McGuire -- a Sarasota, Fla., design student -- the best of the best, beating nine other finalists to be named the Grand Prize winner in the company's national card competition.

(Photo: http://www.ereleases.com/pr/2008-Hallmark.jpg)

Hallmark selected Ringling School of Art and Design student Erin McGuire's design as one of 9 finalists in its national (PRODUCT) RED(TM) card competition in December. Then, McGuire's design was made into a real Hallmark greeting card currently being sold online, with a portion of its sales benefiting the Global Fund (http://www.theglobalfund.org) to help eliminate AIDS in Africa.

For years Hallmark consumers like McGuire have been clamoring to submit their own greeting card designs to the company. The result is the launch of the first in a series of themed card competitions -- a competition inspired by Hallmark's partnership with (RED)(TM). Online voters chose McGuire as the Grand Prize winner. In total, more than 75,000 votes were collected. Florida student McGuire -- originally from Port Richey, Fla. -- earned 34 percent of those votes.

McGuire's design features a girl handing a card to a bird to enable the card's delivery. The colorful, whimsical design garnered more attention than she suspected.

"I was really overwhelmed by how far-reaching this competition was. People I barely knew were letting me know they voted for me," says McGuire. "I returned to school from winter break the last week of voting, and the Ringling community really came together to support my work and help me win Hallmark's card competition."

"Hallmark consumers are continually approaching us with incredible ideas for greeting cards, and we love that passion," said Lindsey Roy, senior product manager at Hallmark. "As a company built on creative expression, we wanted to see what might happen if we invited our fans to create whatever's in their hearts. They didn't disappoint. It's been inspiring to see the unique, amazing ways Erin and the other entrants interpreted the theme."

McGuire entered the contest by logging on to http://www.Hallmark.com/you and shared her card design inspired by the theme of connecting and (PRODUCT) RED. Entrants were then judged -- based on representing the theme, creativity and ability to be sent for multiple occasions -- by representatives from Hallmark and (RED)(TM). The 10 finalists' designs were posted on http://www.Hallmark.com/you where consumers were encouraged to vote for their favorite design through Jan. 10, 2008.

Meet the other finalists

While McGuire's design was voted by consumers as best design in the country, she faced stiff competition from other creative consumers. Meet the other nine finalists, hailing from a variety of locales:

-- Emily Barklage from Eureka, Mo.

-- Leslie Bernal from San Antonio, Texas

-- Tiffany Bogus from Sarasota, Fla.

-- Mia Deng from Atlanta, Ga.

-- Kelsey Hargens from Ames, Iowa

-- John Lucatorta from Tucson, Az.

-- Meredith Shamburger from Carthage, Texas

-- Angie Stiles Richardson from Peoria, Ill.

-- Daniel Williford from Los Angeles, Calif.

The 10 finalists received $250, with Hallmark matching that amount in a contribution to the Global Fund. Their designs also were made into actual Hallmark cards currently for sale on http://www.Hallmark.com/you through the end of February. McGuire's card will be sold on http://www.Hallmark.com/you through the end of the year. Just like the entire Hallmark (PRODUCT) RED collection, 8 percent of net wholesale sales of these cards will go to the Global Fund. As the Grand Prize winner, Erin received an additional $2,250, with Hallmark matching it in a contribution to the Global Fund.

"This first-of-its-kind creative endeavor is a perfect example of why we are thrilled to have Hallmark as a (RED) partner," said Susan Smith Ellis, chief executive officer, (RED). "With this competition, Erin and other (RED) fans everywhere were given the opportunity to put their inspired designs to work to put a smile on a friend's face -- and help people living with AIDS in Africa at the same time. Beyond buying Hallmark (PRODUCT) RED, this is great way for the (RED) community to get involved."

What's next? Your funniest pet photo

While the first rendition of the you-powered greeting card competition tied in with Hallmark's (PRODUCT) RED, it doesn't end there. Consumers can start preparing now for the next competition. From Jan. 14 through Feb. 3, 2008, photographers and pet enthusiasts alike will be encouraged to submit their funniest pet photos with a birthday sentiment in the "YourPets" competition. Anyone interested in learning more before entering can visit http://www.Hallmark.com/you.

About Hallmark Cards, Inc.

Kansas City-based Hallmark is known throughout the world for its greeting cards, related personal expression products, and television's most honored and enduring dramatic series, the Hallmark Hall of Fame. The company's Crayola subsidiary provides fun and imaginative ways for children to colorfully express themselves. The company publishes products in more than 30 languages and distributes them in more than 100 countries. In 2006, Hallmark reported consolidated net revenues of $4.1 billion. Hallmark is a proud partner of (PRODUCT) RED. Find more at http://www.Hallmark.com/RED.

About (RED) and (PRODUCT) RED

(RED)'s primary objective is to engage the private sector in raising awareness and funds for the Global Fund (http://www.theglobalfund.org), to help fight AIDS in Africa. Companies whose products take on the (PRODUCT) RED mark contribute a significant percentage of the sales or portion of the profits from that product to the Global Fund to finance AIDS programs in Africa, with an emphasis on the health of women and children. Current partners are: American Express (U.K. only), Apple, Converse, Gap, Emporio Armani, Hallmark and Motorola. MySpace.com (http://www.MySpace.com) is the first media sponsor in the United Kingdom and MTV Networks is the first media sponsor in the U.S. Since its launch in the spring of 2006, the (RED) initiative has generated more than $50 million for the Global Fund. (RED) money is already at work in Swaziland, Rwanda, and Ghana. For more information, visit http://www.JOINRED.COM.

Contacts:

Sarah Gronberg

Hallmark Cards, Inc.

(816) 545-6270 - w

(816) 305-6556 - c

sgronb3@hallmark.com

Robin Broder

Fleishman-Hillard

(816) 512-2385 - w

(816) 729-0765 - c

robin.broder@fleishman.com

http://newsroom.hallmark.com

This release was issued through eReleases(TM). For more information, visit http://www.ereleases.com.


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SOURCE Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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