The second-largest discount store retailer in the United States and an influential online news aggregator and blog disparaged Mother’s Day flowers this week. As the “watchdog” of the floral industry, the Society of American Florists has contacted them.
Target sent an email to customers on April 30 with the subject line, “Don’t get her flowers this year. Up to 25% off Mother’s Day gifts @ Target, thru Saturday.”
In an email to a Target communications executive, SAF wrote: “On behalf of thousands of small businesses in the floral industry, we respectfully request that you rethink negative promotions and focus on the many merits of your products rather than disparaging other industries. Keeping things positive reflects well on all involved.”
SAF’s message also pointed out that “negative references could alienate your customers, as florists and floral industry members are on your mailing list.”
During the lead-up to holidays, sometimes news outlets make negative statements about flowers to draw attention to stories on gift suggestions. SAF responds to those cases of harmful publicity, too.
HuffPost, formerly The Huffington Post, published an article on April 26 headlined “19 Mother’s Day Gifts That Are Way Better Than Boring Ol’ Flowers: Because your mom deserves the best.”
In an email to HuffPost’s lifestyle editorial director, SAF wrote: “While SAF understands and appreciates your need to provide readers with a variety of gift ideas, the negative headline seems unfair and unnecessary, as the gift suggestions can stand on their own. We realize the headline may not be intended to be taken seriously, but in this case, your need to entertain is done at the expense of an industry that works very hard to help people express their feelings. … SAF requests in the future you simply refrain from making unnecessary references to flowers.”
The response includes the reasons why flowers are a popular gift for Mother’s Day, pointing to the research on the emotional health benefits of floral gifts and the investment of memories they create, as well as touting that “professional florists can customize the flowers to match mom’s personality — creating a truly unique floral gift.”
SAF also contacted shoe retailer Mephisto about its May 1 email promo. Its subject line reads, “Flowers? Pass. Mom Wants Comfort.” The message continues, “Flowers are fine but the gift of comfort is unforgettable.”
As reported in the April 26 E-brief, SAF has responded to Coach’s and One Day University’s Mother’s Day promos.
To report negative portrayals of flowers, members should contact SAF’s Jenny Scala at [email protected].