A popular athlete surprised a fan with a rose corsage and slow-dance on NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on May 17.
The high-profile exposure came one day after the Tim Tebow Foundation (TTF) apologized to the Society of American Florists’ about negative references to flowers in its Prom With A Purpose efforts and promised to reconsider its 2018 approach.
Prom With A Purpose is a fundraiser for high schools to use their prom to benefit TTF’s Night to Shine, which provides a prom experience for people with special needs ages 14 and older. The annual event is held the weekend before Mother’s Day.
“In the spirit of giving, prom-goers are encouraged to go #BeyondTheRoses and give up their corsage or boutonniere for an official Prom With A Purpose wristband,” read a TTF email to a high school principal in upstate New York. The organization’s website asks prom-goers to: “Simply give up your corsage and go #BeyondtheRoses.”
As a watchdog for the industry, SAF asked the foundation to reconsider the negative references to flowers in its efforts. Jenny Stanley, TTF’s marketing, communications, and events executive, responded: “We sincerely apologize for any realized or potential unintended impact that our Prom With A Purpose campaign has had on you personally or on anyone in the floral industry. As you probably know, our intention was simply to challenge youth to think big and create even greater purpose during the prom season.” A day after receiving that response, Tebow talked about the Night to Shine program on The Tonight Show.
“You’ve never been to prom? That means you’ve never given a date one of these,” Fallon said to Tebow, handing him a rose corsage to give fan Judy Adams who attended Night to Shine in New York.
Tebow invited Judy on stage for a dance, and gave her the corsage to wear.
In its message to TFF, SAF included the following points:
“Florists are concerned when their products are negatively singled out. They understand that Prom With a Purpose is a worthy cause but hopes you will eliminate the reference to flowers in your fundraising efforts.
As you know, prom is a major rite of passage for teens. The wearing of corsages and boutonnières plays a big and memorable role in setting the mood for the celebration, and adds aesthetic beauty to prom attire for pictures and memories of the night. In fact, the images on your website — featuring prom-goers that benefit from your foundation’s efforts — showcase boutonnieres and corsages as part of their prom attire.
Rather than promoting your cause at the expense of local floral businesses, why not promote your wristbands for students to wear during the whole spring prom season, rather than just prom night? Why do they need to make the choice between supporting a great cause or completing their first formal occasion with floral accents to their attire?
In addition to reaching out to schools, have you ever considered reaching out to local florists to ask them to help promote your cause and sell wristbands along with the corsages and boutonnieres that they sell? They are working directly with prom-goers and their parents, so have a direct line to your target audiences.”
The full response from Stanley is below:
“We sincerely apologize for any realized or potential unintended impact that our Prom With A Purpose campaign has had on you personally or on anyone in the floral industry. As you probably know, our intention was simply to challenge youth to think big and create even greater purpose during the prom season.
Our heart for the Prom With a Purpose program is to involve high school students in celebrating and honoring people with special needs by raising funds to send them to Night to Shine, an unforgettable prom experience held around the world on the Friday before Valentine’s Day each year.
We really do appreciate you sharing your concerns in the marketing associated with our program this season and we will undoubtedly consider your feedback as we plan for Prom with a Purpose 2018.
We also felt it was important to share with you that this year alone, the Tim Tebow Foundation sponsored 375 Night to Shine host churches around the world. As part of our sponsorship of the worldwide movement, we require each host church to supply a corsage or boutonniere for every honored guest, which this year totaled 75,000 people with special needs. In addition to that, every honored guest had a “buddy” assigned to them and many of them wore a corsage or boutonniere as well.”