In the week before Valentine’s Day, several florists were shocked to receive an email from the Philadelphia Horticultural Society (PHS) with the message, “This Valentine’s Day, forget the bouquet!” to promote purchasing tickets to the Philadelphia Flower Show in June. The same messaging was also on the website for the event.
As word spread in the floral community about an ally of the industry disparaging flowers, several florists asked PHS to reconsider their marketing approach — pointing out the damage that such messaging can do to florists, who play an essential role in the Philadelphia Flower Show by working and volunteering at the event.
PHS quickly responded with an apology and removed the disparaging text from their website.
A representative responded to one of the messages on Instagram saying, “That is a great point of view, and we are updating immediately. We are so appreciative of the work that florists do and would never want to undermine their work.”
My Daily Choice, a Network Marketing company that promotes products and services from a variety of wellness brands, also saw the error of its marketing approach after the Society of American Florists reached out. To advertise their Valentine’s Day offerings, the company said “Don’t settle for picked-over store-bought chocolate and flowers this Valentine’s Day. Spoil your significant other with these sure to please products”.
SAF received an apology from My Daily Choice, which read “Thank you for your message. We want you to know that we take your concerns seriously and although it was never our intention to disparage any other business with our marketing message, we will strive to do better in the future. Please feel free reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any further comments, concerns, or suggestions you wish to share. Again, thank you for your feedback and we wish you the best.”
In the run-up to Valentine’s Day 2022, SAF asked 20 media outlets and businesses that disparaged flowers to reconsider their approach and instead promote the advantages of their own product or service (Search “Negative Publicity Update” on safnow.org for past coverage).
This week SAF reached out to:
- Baked Bouquet, a local business which sells cupcakes in the shape of bouquets. The Valentine’s Day message on its website read, “Watch these Not Die” and “Instead of wasting your time with a bouquet of dying flowers, order a fresh bouquet of buttercream frosting cupcakes!”
- American Legion Auxiliary, a patriotic service organization, promoted its offerings with an email that said, “Skip the flowers and chocolates this Valentine’s Day and choose a lasting gift. Buy your loved one gifts in their name honoring veterans, military, and their families.”
- Popular morning news program, The Today Show, which sent an email with Valentine’s Day gift ideas and the subject line “Skip the chocolates and flowers — these 13 gifts are just as sweet”
- Repeat offender, Steven Singer Jewelry, has been contacted several times by SAF. This year the company website advertised “Roses are a nice gift until they end up in the trash in a week later. Gift a real rose, dipped and preserved in pure gold, that lasts forever.” They also ran local radio ads with scripted dialog that includes “You mean I don’t have to throw the rose in the trash in a week?”
- Total Wine & More shared an Instagram post with copy that stated, “She doesn’t want flowers this Valentine’s Day, she wants wine.”
- A San Francisco shopping complex called Gift Center & Jewelry Mart posted a sponsored Facebook ad which included an image of dead flowers and the text “Flower prices on Valentine’s Day have you saying damn-delion??! How about a gift that doesn’t die?” and “Romance isn’t dead, but those flower you’re buying will be by next week.”
- Nike promoted gift-cards as the best Valentine’s Day present this year and sent an email with the subject line “Better Than Roses ❤️” and text that said “Gift cards will go further—let ‘em choose a gift they’ll love. Send one now.”
Elizabeth Daly is the marketing and communications manager for the Society of American Florists.