So in the UK the Gift Card industry uses a number of formats of gift cards but wouldn’t it just be easier to have a single format
Initially when we launched the first gift card mall in the UK for InComm in 600 Sainsburys stores back in 2006, all the cards were InComm’s preferred format, the M6, although even before then I was thinking there must be a better use of all the spare plastic, so we developed the M6+. As a side note actually (a quick card history lesson), we had been developing this format for what was to be the original Vanilla Voucher, the brain child of John Guest. This card was intended to be a prepaid card that could be redeemed against any service that signed up to the scheme – the original version of prepaid MasterCard/Visa type programme…without the banking system. We had developed the product just at the time InComm acquired Vanilla Vouchers…anyhow this was how the M6 Plus was born. This essentially was 2 x CR80 cards + a small area for the Euro slot. A couple of brands saw the potential of 2 cards in one rather than just wasting the opportunity – in fact Sainsbury’s won an industry award for the Best Card Design of the Year in 2009 with their Parent / Student card – the perfect example of what I had in mind when I developed, patented it and then licensed it to the card manufacturers. Anyhow the M6 Plus died a slow death over the coming years but the M6 snap (single CR80 and the US market’s staple product) remained – no separate cardboard hanger, the card not slipping off the hanger, just a clean, simple all in one solution.
And this card in its plastic form is what got me looking at alternative ways to create the same user experience but on an environmentally friendly paperboard substrate. How would we create the same ‘snap’ effect, leave a clean edge and no visible, horrible perforated edge? A simple perforation would of course be a simple solution but when giving a card as a gift, who wants a rough edge to the card…really?
After years of trials, testing on different machines and cutting forms made of steel and the in the end titanium, and of course performance in retail, we finally had the winning formula, a design which we protected in the UK and the EU.
With the tidiest snap on paperboard with a clean edge, no nasty perforation plus the most compelling environmental back story with our partners Iggesund, our Green Gift Cards are the best alternative to plastic cards with the cleanest break when snapped.