When an email from a textile company two miles from Jackie Levine’s flower shop appeared in her inbox suggesting its customers buy robes — not roses — she was disappointed and responded.
“It would have been nice to see Parachute promote their wonderful products on their own merits rather than the headline ‘Robes Over Roses’,” Levine, of Central Square Florist in Cambridge, Massachusetts, wrote in her email to the company.
Levine received a prompt response, in which the company apologized and stated that her feedback would be sent to their team.
“We want to reiterate how sorry we are,” the company said.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, some media outlets and companies promote their message or product by maligning flowers. The Society of American Florists and its members step in to ask these businesses to take a more positive approach — promoting products on their own merits without unnecessary and unfair remarks about flowers. (Click here to read about last week’s offenders — and the apology SAF received from a luxury fragrance company).
This week, SAF reached out to the following news outlets and companies:
- Rogers & Holland Jewelers, which is running a radio ad that says, “Roses are red, then they’re dead.”
- Silpada Designs, a sterling silver jewelry business, which posted an ad on Instagram with the caption “Skip the flowers.”
- Fragrance and diffuser company, Aroma360, which used the subject line, “Better Than Roses: 30% off!” and an email that says, “Instead of flowers, give them something extra special this Valentine’s Day.”
- Popular retail company Tommy Hilfiger sent a promotional email with the subject line “Skip the flowers this year.”
- New York Magazine’s publication The Cut wrote an article titled “13 Flower Alternatives to Shop for Valentine’s Day,” which opens with “Flowers? Not that groundbreaking come Valentine’s Day.” The article goes on to say, “Every year, that very beautiful bouquet of roses you gift ends up in next week’s trash…” and “read on to find symbols of your undying love that actually won’t die…”
Want to help deter these negative advertisers? Try these tips:
- Be objective, diplomatic and reasonable. Describe why you find the advertisement or article offensive or unfair.
- Don’t sound defensive. That will only make it seem as though the “attack” on flowers was justified.
- When responding to advertisers, urge them to promote products based on their own merits.
- When responding to editors, unless an article contains a factual error, don’t demand that it be retracted. Instead, suggest a middle-ground approach. 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…”
If you spot a harmful ad or article about flowers, please forward to email@example.com.
Elizabeth Daly is the marketing and communication manager for the Society of American Florists.