When a major corporation knocks flowers in the run-up to an observance meant to recognize hard-working employees, could it be anything other than a mean-spirited dig?
In the case of an American Express Co. promotion for Administrative Professionals Week, turns out a dig against flowers may well have been an honest mistake —or, at least, a corporate oversight.
AmEx executives initially told the Society of American Florists that they were unaware that promotional gift cards for the credit card company read, “Flowers Expire. This Card Won’t.”
“Thank you for reaching out to us and raising attention to this,” AmEx’s Marina Hoffmann Norville, vice president of corporate, financial & risk public relations, wrote in an email last week to SAF. “I have raised this with my colleagues who handle gift cards, and we will look into this matter.”
But when AmEx’s Ann Satti, vice president of prepaid marketing, was looped into the communication, she expressed genuine surprise — and asked for some help.
“We’ve reviewed our current American Express Gift Card campaign, and we are not using that messaging,” she wrote to SAF. “We agree that marketing should focus on Gift Card benefits rather than drawing comparisons with other industries. Could you send us a copy of the ad that you saw to help us investigate this matter? We, too, don’t want it out there.”
SAF was more than happy to oblige and forwarded a picture of the ad it received from member Cynthia Hanauer of Grand Central Floral in Jacksonville, Florida. The ad, from a mall in Columbus, Ohio, shows a picture of an AmEx prepaid gift card and reads: “Flowers Expire. This Card Won’t.” In small type, the ad includes: “Say thank you to the one who keeps you organized with an American Express Gift Card from Polaris Fashion Place.”
At press time, Satti had not responded. SAF also sent a message to Mary Dimitrijeska, marketing director at Polaris Fashion Place in Columbus, Ohio, who responded: “We have made our corporate office aware of your concerns regarding the Administrative Professional Day ads. Thank you for your feedback.”
As the negative publicity watchdog of the industry, the Society of American Florists responds to companies that disparage flowers. Read more in “SAF Works with Companies to Reduce Negative Mother’s Day Advertising.”