PayPal teams up with Jonathan Adler to take stigma out of cash gifts

Money is at the top of consumers' Christmas lists; they're just embarrassed to ask, says CMO Patrick Adams

If it’s truly the thought that counts, your friends would prefer you thought about giving them cash this holiday season—they’re just afraid to ask for it, according to PayPal research. So the money-transferring company is partnering with designer Jonathan Adler to help reduce the stigma.

In a recent survey conducted for PayPal by Koski Research, 62 percent of Americans said they would rather receive money than traditional gifts for the holidays, but etiquette prevents them from saying so. Likewise, respondents said they were hesitant to give currency to loved ones because it isn’t personal enough (63 percent) or, worse, is tacky (29 percent).

Patrick Adams, PayPal CMO of North America, thinks his company can improve money’s damaged reputation by collaborating with someone with an impeccable personal brand. Adler has crafted eight digital cards to make gifting cash online "much more personal," said Adams.

Now, recipients of cash gifts from PayPal can receive a customizable, red-and-white, art deco card that reads, "Hope your holidays are MERRY to the MAX," for example, instead of PayPal’s typical blue-hued email alert.

To get the word out about the new e-card line, East Coast-based agency GYK Antler is advertising on Facebook and Twitter through Dec. 31. They’re part of PayPal’s "Making Spirits Brighter" campaign, which also touts free return shipping and purchase protection through TV spots, Times Square billboards, digital display ads and reciprocal marketing on partnership websites.

If the holiday cards are successful, PayPal might extend the initiative to other occasions, such as Valentine’s Day, weddings and graduations. "This is kind of a new twist for us, a new way to reinvent P2P gifting," Adams said. "We think it’s going to be something we’ll continue with."

The current collection consists of two holiday designs as well as one each for Christmas, Hanukah, Chinese New Year, holiday thank-you and generic gift-giving and is offered in 17 countries in North America, Australia and Europe.

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