THE BLOG

'The Postcard' By Vistaprint

03/14/2015 10:55 am ET | Updated May 14, 2015

We are exposed to advertising every day. Some adverts we hope to never see again, and others strike a nerve and become a permanent memory. Vistaprint recently released a new television advert that has made a big impact on viewers across the country. I spoke to Bridget O'Brien, Vice President of Brand and Communications about why the advert has been such a hit.

Tell us about the concept behind this new advert.
While it may not be obvious at first glance, Vistaprint's products, such as business cards, banners, flyers, and postcards, have a strong emotional connection to a business owner's life. They are a physical representation of that business. Our goal was to tap into the truth behind what it takes to run a small business in a way that seamlessly ties in Vistaprint products - in other words, we didn't want a beautiful story about a small business that any brand could put their logo on. It had to be a story only we could tell and directly relates to our brand.

Our father and son duo open and run a small bakery together called Barrett & Son. As we see the business evolve over several years (through their use of Vistaprint products) so does their relationship. Like many young people the son yearns to spread his wings and is lured into the exciting world of life in the big city - leaving his dad and the bakery behind. However, prompted by constant reminders of home, in the form of the very products Vistaprint makes to remind people of businesses, he feels a strong pull to return to his roots. Their final, emotional encounter sees the business handed down to the son, in the form of a business card bearing his name and the word 'Owner,' finally completing his father's grand plan.

In order to make this a global spot that could be easily localized across multiple locales, we created an original song to convey the emotion and then used our products, rather than dialogue, to communicate the story. To be truly global, we knew we needed to tap into a universal truth that would resonate with people around the world. Relationships, especially multi-generational bonds, are a common thread that all the small business owners we talk to value, and speak to a truth small business owners experience in a way unique to them.

Why did Vistaprint decide on this change of direction towards brand forward advertising?
Three years ago our company decided that we needed to make a radical shift in our business model to one that put the customer where she belongs: front and center. Since that time, we have been reinvesting earnings to support that shift across multiple platforms, including customer service, manufacturing and site experience. We recognized that our past marketing efforts and highly promotional approach were not representative of all we had to offer, and had caused us to attract a disproportionate number of "deal seekers" rather than build long-term relationships with our customers.

Engaging in brand forward advertising allows us to highlight the improvements we've made and to begin to shift marketplace perceptions among our target audience away from our historical categorization as the "free business card company." While we want to demonstrate to the segment of the market who requires more product and quality options that we are able to meet their needs, we also want to create a positive emotional connection to Vistaprint. We are a company that truly cares about these small business owners and about providing them with the right marketing materials to help them meet their goals, whatever those are. We hope that sentiment is conveyed through our new broadcast spot as well as our future marketing efforts.

What feedback have you received, and how will this affect future marketing ideas?
We have received an outpouring of positive sentiment and feedback across multiple platforms. The director's cut has received over a million views between YouTube and Facebook and is clearly resonating with our customers, just as we'd hoped. Viewers are taking to YouTube and Facebook to share their own stories, many of which are telling us how emotional it makes them. Here are some examples:

"Wow. Everything about this is amazing. Clearly shows a strong bond between family as opposed to the corporate world. Small business can be very special as demonstrated in this commercial; so touching, and inspiring. So many memories ran through my mind here. Great job!" - Ethan R

"Awesome! My dad always wanted us to be entrepreneurs as he was. My brother and I are both now in small businesses of our own. My brother 20 years, and me for 14. Hard roads, but worth it!" - Suzie Amsberry

"This literally made me cry! Vistaprint is a company that really understands how much they make people's dreams come true! Every time I get a new product with my company logo on it it makes me feel so excited. This commercial hit the spot J Thank You Vistaprint!" - Hailey Ray

Seeing how much this ad has resonated with our customers has us thinking of new, innovative ways to connect with them. We are launching a new initiative this Spring that will shine a brighter light on the inspiring and unique stories of our customers. While we will be exploring new marketing avenues, we will continue to run our traditional promotional offers in combination with branded advertising. We know that a combination is necessary to appeal to our entire growing audience, no matter what their needs are.

Advert Credits: Agency/Client - Vistaprint
Spot Name - "The Postcard"
VP, Global Agency Director - Bridget O'Brien
Executive Creative Director - Liam A. Shannon
Creative Director - Kim DiVincenzo
Senior Producer - Maura Larose
Director, Global Brand Strategy - Lauren Zirilli
Production Company - Velocity Films
Director - Greg Gray
Music - Original Music by Verité Music