Avant Card, the company that gave Australians free postcards, is closing

After 25 years of handing out more than 300 million free
postcards in cafes and retailers across Australia, Avant Card is
closing, a victim of the Instagram era and a struggling arts
sector.

Managing director Pat Mackle, who founded the postcard
advertising business in 1992, will close the business this week
because it is no longer financially sustainable.

A combination of the rise of digital advertising, funding cuts to
the arts (Avant’s major client base), reduced marketing budgets,
and a highly competitive media environment brought about the end.

“It is with sadness, tinged with immense pride, that the time has
come for the very last Avant Card to grace our displays. Who
would have thought that 25 years ago, as an unemployed
28-year-old, we could have come this far, placing a postcard a
day into the hands of delighted people,” she said in a statement
announcing the closure.

Over the quarter century, the business produced more than 20,000
campaigns. The final card issued, number 20850, is titled “Elvis
has left the building”.

Mackle began the company with 10 Sydney cafes as distribution
venues, and was Australia’s first free card media company – one
of just eight globally, a figure that subsequently increased
tenfold. Mackle also bought out the several competitors who
emerged locally over the years.

The Avant Card distribution network grew to more than 1,550
venues nationally and went from a one-person operation to
employing 28 people. It was a major media company, claiming to
reach 6.1 million people weekly.

Government was a major client, with the Australian Tourist
Commission commissioning card 8 in 1992. The CSIRO, Australian
Bureau of Statistics, Department of Health and even the ATO used
Avant Card. The Sydney Film Festival came back as a client every
year for 23 years.

Dendy Films commissioned card 74 in…

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