Don't look now, but the Great Depression has suddenly become the hottest thing in marketing
Andrew Shaffer had a problem on his hands. The Order of St. Nick, the irreverent-greeting-card company that the former office manager runs out of his Iowa City home, was gearing up for Valentine's Day -- a bread-and-butter occasion in the card business. But few things can kill a romantic evening like a limp GDP. If your beau just lost his job, chances are you're not getting two dozen long stems and a box of Godivas this year.
So when Shaffer sat down to write his cards, he scoured for a theme that was right for the times-memorable, romantic yet realistic.
He found it all in the Depression.
Yes, that Depression -- the "great" one, with breadlines, shantytowns, work-relief programs and all the rest of it. One card shows a Dust Bowl farmer and his wife cooking a pot of slop in an open kettle. Its caption reads: "William took Martha out to eat for Valentine's Day." Another shows a bunch of down-and-out guys in fedoras loitering outside of an automat. "Box of chocolates?" exhorts the caption. "She'll be lucky to get a box of rocks from me this year."
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