Monday, August 23, 2010

Interpreting Art

When I was working on the decor for S's birthday party, I came across these cute toddler calling cards on the Internet. I had never heard of such a thing, but my designer friend who told me the cupcake toppers were all the rage knew exactly what I was talking about. She was in mid-design on some herself. So I thought, what the heck? I'll make some for S to put in her favor bags. I thought it seemed kind of pretentious for a 3-year-old to have a business card, but at the same time, it makes perfect sense. At her daycare, I have to ask the provider to give her friends' parents my contact info so they can contact me so I can invite them to playdates/parties. Wouldn't it be easier to just have cards to pass out?

I set out on my little design project, and felt pretty proud of the result. Here's the basic premise with the names and numbers changed for security purposes:

I backed it to matching hot pink cardstock, and it looked super cute, if I do say so myself. I put the playdate cards in the favor bags. As the party was wrapping up, I was talking to my sisters, neither of whom have kids so were unaware of the purpose of these cards themselves. Apparently due to the phrasing, both my sisters thought I was starting a business where I coordinate playdates for other kids. My older sister even thought maybe I coordinate mommy playdates. What? That's not what it says? Surely they're just misunderstanding because they don't have kids. I grabbed a card and re-read my title:

mommy • playdate booking agent

OMG. Why did I choose to use such ambiguous punctuation and fluffy phrasing? It totally COULD be read that way. I...was...mortified.

My sisters were feeling pretty smug about teasing me, but saw how upset I was getting and told me they really thought it was actually a great business idea. I don't care if it is - it's completely inappropriate to advertise your business in your kid's party favors. It would be like I was a real estate agent and threw my business card in, and as I handed out the favors, shook the kids' hands and said, "Thanks for coming, and hey - let your parents know if they're looking to move, give me a call." Wink, wink.

My sisters told me all this at the end of the party, so I asked a couple of the moms who were still there what they thought. After looking at the cards, they said that's kind of what it sounded like, too, until I explained it. Nooooooooo! My fears were confirmed. One of them had seen other playdate cards so she knew what I was intending. I ended up putting a note in with the thank yous to clarify. And I'll be revising the wording on them going forward. Sooooo embarrassed.

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