Hallmark has a new way for tweens to keep in touch. Released in Canada on Tuesday, Text Bands are bracelets that display text messages aimed at what the greeting card manufacturer calls the “pre-cell phone” market.
Dan Bengert, director of advertising and consumer insight for Hallmark Canada, explained children want to own tablets and smartphones. Parents, however, may not want kids to have their own gadgets because of cost, over-use or safety concerns.
“The product addresses those issues,” said Bengert. “We understand how important it is for young people to communicate with their friends. This is a fun way they can do so without having the responsibility of a cell phone at a young age.”
Designed for kids between six and 12 years old, the bracelets require actual physical contact between sender and receiver even though messages get sent wirelessly. Users have to fist bump or high five to share messages, lessening the danger of communication with strangers, the company said.
Hallmark started its pre-launch PR campaign for Text Bands in May by giving away 200 free bracelets at a One Direction concert in Toronto. The company also tested Text Bands with young consumers at Canada’s Wonderland near Toronto and at the Greater Vancouver Zoo.
Bengert said the company is hoping the new product will help expose the Hallmark brand to an upcoming segment of consumers.
“For most kids, cards are not something they generally will use,” he said. “This is a way Hallmark is demonstrating the relevance of its brand.”
Text Bands debuted in the U.S. in July with a PR campaign featuring teen pop star Cody Simpson.