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 KANSAS CITY, Mo., Sept. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Hallmark Cards, Inc., today announced it will market an innovative line of greeting cards featuring a Sprint (NYSE: FON) prepaid long distance telephone card.
 The new cards will combine greeting card designs and messages with this telephone card good for 10 minutes of domestic long distance calls.
 Hallmark is the first in this country to put a greeting card and a long distance phone call in the same envelope. The move is another example of how Hallmark has positioned itself as the innovator in the personal communication industry.
 "We cannot think of a more natural opportunity for us to work with Sprint, another hometown company," said Robert Firnhaber, Hallmark Brand president. "It is a marvelous pairing of expert leadership in terms of innovation, technology, creativity and communication."
 Thomas E. Weigman, president of Sprint's multimedia and strategic products services, agreed.
 "This is a perfect tie-in between two forms of communication that enhances them both," Weigman said. "Combining the convenience of Sprint's prepaid calling cards with Hallmark greeting cards turns a thoughtful communication into an imaginative and practical gift."
 The new product line will feature both the Hallmark and Sprint logos and will be tested beginning November 1993 in five U.S. cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles and New York. The greeting/calling cards will retail for $6, a price that includes the purchase of the greeting card and 10 minutes of long distance usage.
 "Research recently conducted by Hallmark revealed that people use multiple forms of communication to stay in touch with families and friends," said Firnhaber. "Most adults consider greeting cards and long distance calls to be ideal forms of communication."
 In fact, Hallmark research indicates that more than 83 percent of Americans feel it is easy to share their feelings by sending a card or talking on the telephone.
 "This new greeting card is more than an outgrowth of the latest technology," said Weigman. "It is a product that satisfies the complete personal communication needs of almost anyone, day or night, in any part of the country."
 Sprint began marketing its prepaid long distance card in the U.S. market earlier this year and in 1992 became the first major U.S.-based carrier to offer a prepaid card for foreign travelers to the United States to call overseas. The cards have proven to be very successful.
 The prepaid telephone card is a calling tool that has been popular in Europe and Asia for many years. In fact, prepaid long distance telephone cards are a $4 billion per year business in Europe and a $2 billion per year business in Asia. They even have become collector's items.
 Hallmark Cards, Inc., headquartered in Kansas City, is the world's leading creator of greeting cards and related personal communications products. Hallmark serves approximately 21,000 retail outlets domestically, including 10,000 specialty shops.
 Sprint, which has 9,000 employees in Kansas City and more than 52,000 overall, is a diversified international telecommunications company with more than $10 billion in annual revenues and the United States' only nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network. Its divisions provide global long distance voice, data and video products and services, local telephone services to nearly 6 million subscriber lines in 19 states, and cellular operations that serve 42 metropolitan markets and more than 50 rural service areas.
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 /NOTE TO EDITORS: This transmission should replace DC011 moved earlier today./
 /CONTACT: Amanda J. Kleiboeker of Hallmark Cards, 816-274-8272; or Robin Pence, 202-828-7454 or, home, 703-820-1873, or Juanada Teas, 202-828-7426 or, home, 703-644-5165, both of Sprint/

CO: Sprint; Hallmark Cards, Inc. ST: Missouri IN: TLS SU: PDT

IH-MH -- DC011B -- 7942 09/01/93 11:55 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 1, 1993

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