VistaPrint, a global company that produces marketing products, and the American Kennel Club were among the five companies recently contacted by the Society of American Florists about their advertisements bashing flowers.
VistaPrint urged consumers to purchase custom photo albums this Mother’s Day rather than flowers. “Memories last longer than flowers. Give them an extra special day with personalized gifts & more,” their ad reads.
The American Kennel Club’s shop is promoting canine-themed gifts for Mother’s Day, from breed-specific jewelry to home décor and travel gear, with a marketing email that says, “Mother’s Day is coming up. Don’t fall back on flowers again for this year’s gift”.
As the voice of the floral industry, SAF contacts companies that disparage flowers or florists and asks them to reconsider their marketing approach — not only around Mother’s Day but also year-round. SAF suggests that the companies promote products based on their selling points rather than compare them to flowers.
SAF also reached out to:
- Baked Bouquet, a company that sells cupcakes in the shape of floral bouquets with this text on their website: “Celebrate Supermoms with us. Watch these die…NOT” with an image of their cupcake flowers.
- Fresh Cut Paper posted a sponsored Facebook ad showing their paper card bouquets next to a vase of dead flowers. The ad reads, “Freshcut Paper. Finally, flowers that last forever.”
- Jewelry company, Gorjana, advertised its Mother’s Day gift guide with a promotional email and text on their website which reads “A gift that’s better than flowers…”
- Be objective, diplomatic and reasonable. Describe why you find the advertisement offensive or unfair. Explain that you believe in the effectiveness of advertisements that promote products based on their own merits.
- Don’t sound defensive. That will only make it seem as though the “attack” on flowers was justified.
- Don’t make unreasonable demands. Unless a story actually contains a factual error, don’t demand that it be retracted.
- Suggest a middle-ground approach that the advertisement could take in the future. You might point out that instead of the phrase, “Don’t buy flowers,” the message could be, “Flowers are one of many gift choices during…”
Elizabeth Daly is the marketing and communications manager for the Society of American Florists.