One of the country’s most storied baseball teams has apologized to the floral industry after the Society of American Florists cried foul over an email promotion that disparaged flowers.
“By no means did we mean to offend our friends in the floral industry,” wrote Adam Grossman, chief marketing officer for the Boston Red Sox, in a response to an email from Jenny Scala, SAF’s director of marketing. “Going forward, we will make sure that we will not disparage the flowers or the florists in the name of a good promotion.”
The team’s promotion read “Forget roses — give Mom a beard” (a tongue-in-cheek play on an upcoming giveaway associated with player Craig Kimbrel, who has a distinctive beard.)
Grossman then took the apology from home run to grand slam (see what we did there?), offering to host the SAF member who first alerted the group to the disparaging claim, and acknowledging that the team is made up of flower lovers.
“Actually, when we screw up, we often send flowers,” he said. “However, that doesn’t right for this particular instance. So how about we send tickets and some gear to the local Red Sox fan who emailed you? We would love have to have him/her to a game this season.”
The SAF member, already a season ticket holder, suggested the team give the tickets to “a local student, senior or solider” instead.
The Red Sox aren’t the only organization that responded this week to SAF.
Chili’s, a restaurant chain with roughly 1,600 locations in more than 30 countries, also apologized for its Mother’s Day promotions that read “Why give flowers when we have fajitas? (Plus: $10 FREE!).”
“Please know that the intent was not to influence consumers to choose between flowers and fajitas; rather, the intent was to utilize the alliteration afforded with those two words,” wrote Lisa Appler, director of Chili’s guest engagement team. “Your concerns have been shared with the marketing leadership group for consideration as future marketing campaigns are drafted. We hope you’ll be pleased to learn that most of our locations purchased flowers to present to mothers in our restaurants on Mother’s Day. We love flowers too!”
As the voice of the floral industry, SAF contacts companies that disparage flowers or florists and asks them to reconsider their approach.
This Mother’s Day season, SAF responded to 17 instances of harmful floral publicity to date. By way of comparison, SAF responded to 18 cases in 2017; 19 cases in 2016; 11 cases in 2015; 14 in 2014; nine cases in 2013; 10 in 2012; and 16 in 2011. For Valentine’s Day, SAF responded to 28 cases in 2018; 23 cases in 2017 and 2016; 16 cases in 2015; 16 in 2014; 10 cases in 2013; 18 in 2012; and 39 in 2011.
“The main point of SAF’s response is to bring attention to the disparaging floral statements and ask advertisers to promote products on their own merits,” said Jenny Scala, SAF’s director of marketing and communications. “Success comes when the advertiser ceases running that particular promotion or at least takes note not to go that route in the future.”
Other companies that SAF has reached out to include:
- Papa Murphy’s Take ‘N’ Bake Pizza emailed: “Pizza is Better Than Flowers.”
- Pure Romance promoted: “Better than a Bouquet.”
- Scientific American posted: “Forget Flowers, Give Science.”
- T-Mobile radio commercials said skip the flowers and chocolates and buy an Apple Watch instead.
Check out coverage of SAF’s negative publicity response efforts here. Forward negative portrayals of flowers to SAF’s Jenny Scala at firstname.lastname@example.org.