The world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands and a startup company in the custom framing industry apologized to the floral industry after the Society of American Florists pointed out that their email promotions disparaged flowers.
“We love flowers and chocolate, too, and our intention was to broaden the Valentine’s Day gift consideration set also to travel,” wrote Kristi Gole, senior director of customer strategy and insights at the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), in an email to SAF. “We apologize to those we may have offended.”
GHA sent an email to its Discovery loyalty program members with the subject line “What’s better than flowers and chocolate?” to promote romantic getaways at Omni Hotels & Resorts.
That isn’t the only company response SAF has received this week.
“We LOVE flowers,” wrote Susan Tynan, founder and CEO of Framebridge in an email to SAF. The company promoted custom framed artwork and photos in an email with the subject line: “Not too late to not send flowers.”
Tynan added, “We’ll be sure to promote them in the future. Our tongue-in-cheek advertising was not meant to offend — we thought it was clearly a joke because flowers are always a great gift. We know flowers win the day on Valentine’s and every day in between.”
As the voice of the floral industry, SAF responds to ads and others that disparage florists and flowers or cast floral gifts in a negative light.
“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.”
Sometimes, companies don’t agree with us, Scala said.
SAF reached out to retailer Leaf & Clay to point out the negativity in the subject line of its recent email promotion: “❤️ Succulents are better than roses :)❤️ ”
Nick Sandford, president of Leaf & Clay, wrote back: “We appreciate your comments, but Leaf & Clay will continue to market to its customer base in the manner and tone it sees fit. The statement ‘succulents are better than roses :)’ was used in the context of promoting our products against the largest direct competitor in the market for Valentine’s Day business—flowers, namely roses. I’m sorry, but it’s a bit silly that someone could possibly be offended by what was obviously a very tongue in cheek subject line. Leaf & Clay proudly wholesales to 100’s of talented florists who use our products to create beautiful arrangements of all kinds. Again, thank you for your feedback, but we stand by our choice of language. “
SAF also reached out to these companies:
- Elements Massage radio commercials say flowers are cliché and unoriginal.
- Flaviar, a craft and premium spirits spirits enthusiasts club, emailed: “Screw flowers — give ‘em membership.”
- Jared The Galleria of Jewelry radio commercials say flowers don’t last.
- Lane Bryant emailed: “Keep the roses. We want BOGO 50% off ALL bras.”
- Mesa Garage Doors, America’s largest garage door installation company, airs radio commercials that say buy garage doors instead of flowers that only last a week.
- Seat Geek emailed: “Roses Out: Tickets: In.”
- Southwest Vacations emailed: “Vacations are better than roses 🌹.”
- USA Today ran “From bacon and beef jerky to breadsticks and pickles: Valentine’s Day bouquets go wacky.” It begins with: “Forget traditional flowers.”
- Whole Foods Market in-store sign reads: “You can say it with flowers, but cake just tastes better.”
Katie Hendrick Vincent is the senior contributing editor for the Society of American Flo