Those funky free postcards are about to disappear from Australian coffee shops

A photo from the archives. Avant Card founder Pat Mackle. Image: Supplied

Avant Card, Australia’s first free postcard advertising company, is closing next month, a victim of the rise of marketing via the internet and funding cuts to the arts.

The cards have for 23 years been a familiar sight in coffee shops, bars and universities, their sometimes funky artwork admired by many and drawn on by happy children.

Founder and managing director Pat Mackle expanded the product beyond the classic postcard but it wasn’t enough.

“The combination of the rise of digital advertising, funding cuts to the arts (the company’s number one client base), reduced marketing budgets in all sectors, and a very competitive media environment, has resulted in the business no longer being financially sustainable,” she says.

A postcard for the National Portrait Gallery – Digital Portraiture Award 2016. Image: Supplied

In 1994 when she started the business, the cards were innovative, fun, informative, and educational.

Over almost a quarter of a century, Avant Card produced more than 20,000 campaigns and distributed more than 300 million postcards.

The last postcard to be issued will be number 20,850, “Elvis has left the building”.

“It is with sadness, tinged with immense pride, that the time has come for the very last Avant Card to grace our displays,” says Mackle.

“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.

“All thanks to everyone who ever believed in the product, the humble postcard.

“Although we will be gone, I hope some postcards will be treasured and live on.”

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