Hallmark Cards Required Reading

Hallmark Cards, the Kansas City-based manufacturer and supplier of greeting cards, ornaments and flowers, deals in sentimentality. So it’s no surprise when you reach for the hanky when watching their television advertisements. To tell the truth, I usually avoid watching commercials for greeting cards, being somewhat tired of gawky sentimentality. However I’ve discovered that many Hallmark TV commercials have more substance than Hallmark cards. Case in point: Ed’s Required Reading, the story of an illiterate man who learns to read so he can read the greeting cards he’s received from his family.

Ed and tutor in Hallmark Required Reading


‘Required Reading’ the 2.5 minute commercial, stars TV actor Ken Strunk, attending a night school in literacy.

Scene 1: Literacy Classroom

Ed tentatively enters the classroom which is empty save for a woman tidying up resources.

Hi. You must be Edward. Come in.
Hi. Ed.
I’m Susan. Have a seat.
Susan gives Ed a copy of “The Poky Little Puppy”.
This is one of my favorites. Can you read the title for me?
The… Sorry…

Scene 2: On the train


Ed holds ‘The Poky Little Puppy’, attracting the attention of young boy and his mother.

It’s my daughter’s.

Scene 3: Literacy Classroom

Ed’s reading from The Observer Star.
Today on Capitol Hill
Demo-cra-tic
Ed sighs and moves the paper down.
Ed?

Scene 4: Literacy Classroom

Ed reads a line from A Tale of Two Cities.

“It is a far far better thing that I do than I have ever done.
It is a far far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”
“You’re on your own now”, says Susan.

Ed and tutor in Hallmark Required Reading

Scene 5: Ed’s Home

Ed’s in his walk-in wardrobe, taking down a box of greeting cards. He places them on the bed and takes out a card.

Poppa means love
I know this is true
I know it because my Poppa is you.
Happy Father’s Day Poppa
Love, Jenny

Ed is clearly moved.

The super: “When you care enough to send the very best. Hallmark.”

Credits

Hallmark Required Reading was conceived, created and directed by David Harner from Los Angeles production company, Institute for the Development of Enhanced Perceptual Awareness. Harner had directed a number of Hallmark’s previous television commercials. He filmed this short film then took it to Hallmark’s advertising agency, Leo Burnett, Chicago. Leo Burnett and Hallmark warmed to the spot and ran with it. The commercial was recently nominated for Best Advertisment in the USA Emmys.

The Poky Little Puppy

Using ‘The Poky Little Puppy‘ was a sure way to access the hearts of Baby Boomer men. The children’s book was written by Janette Sebring Lowrey and illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren, originally published in 1942 as one of the original twelve Golden Books published by Simon and Schuster.

Music in Hallmark Required Reading

Music in the Required Reading commercial is “Orange Sky”, by Alexi Murdoch, a British singer/songwriter. “Orange Sky” was first released on Murdoch’s self-published album, Four Songs, in 2002. It was featured in the movies Garden State, Ladder 49 and Paradise Now, in episodes of television shows Dawson’s Creek, The O.C. and Prison Break. It has been used in an ad for Honda Element. Orange Sky was included in albums The O.C. Mix, and in Murdoch’s June 2006 album Time Without Consequence. See Alexi Murdoch’s MySpace and Wikipedia entry. The version in the Hallmark commercial is found on Music from The O.C. Mix 1.

Orange Sky – Music from the O.C., Mix 1 (Music from the TV Series) on iTunes

Lyrics for Orange Sky

Alexi Murdoch on cover of Time Without ConsquenceWell I had a dream
I stood beneath an orange sky
Yes I had a dream
I stood beneath an orange sky
With my brother standing by
With my brother standing by
I said Brother, you know you know
It’s a long road we’ve been walking on
Brother you know it is you know it is
Such a long road we’ve been walking on

And I had a dream
I stood beneath an orange sky
With my sister standing by
With my sister standing by
I said Sister, here is what I know now
Here is what I know now
Goes like this..
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, in your love, in your love

But sister you know I’m so weary
And you know sister
My hearts been broken
Sometimes, sometimes
My mind is too strong to carry on
Too strong to carry on

When I am alone
When I’ve thrown off the weight of this crazy stone
When I’ve lost all care for the things I own
That’s when I miss you, that’s when I miss you, that’s when I miss you
You who are my home
You who are my home
And here is what I know now
Here is what I know now
Goes like this..
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, my salvation lies
In your love, in your love, in your love

Well I had a dream
I stood beneath an orange sky
Yes I had a dream
I stood beneath an orange sky
With my brother and my sister standing by
With my brother and my sister standing by
With my brother and my sister standing by

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  • Marilyn Nichols

    I am an adult literacy tutor and my current student happens to be named Edward or Ed. I have come to tears so often with his progress, and every time I see the Required Reading Hallmark commercial. I am not proficient on the computer or with much of the current”new technology”, but I would love to know some way I could get a DVD or printed edition of that commercial. Ed has made so much progress that he could read it to me. Thanks ,Marilyn