SAF does a lot of great work on behalf of retail florists but some of the most obvious happens around Valentines Day and Mothers Day.
Because flowers are the absolute king of these holidays, the best possible gift that can be sent to the special people in your life, other companies love to take cheap shots. Rather than try and sell their products on their own merits they try and knock flowers.
This year SAF responded to ten instances of negative advertising. Examples included...
In each case SAF reached out to the advertiser and encouraged that they stay away from disparaging flowers and focus on the benefits of their own products.
Sometimes flowers get negative editorial coverage as well. This year MarketWatch, a financial information website, posted an article called “Why you shouldn’t buy mom flowers on Mother’s Day”. In addition to this negative headline the article included an image of a bouquet of flowers with a line through it. Below that another line read “Your mom doesn’t want flowers this Mother’s Day.” The post included a statistic from coupon site RetailMeNot that claimed to show that “only 8% of mothers surveyed said they would like flowers.”
SAF was quick to respond and what they heard back from the people at MarketWatch is fascinating:
I doubt anything could hurt flowers’ preeminence of as a Mother’s Day gift, but some readers are always searching for alternatives.
It's a contradictory and lazy position. Even though they'll acknowledge in private that flowers are so popular as to be untouchable they chose to run an inaccurate, inflammatory clickbait style headline. They could just have easily gone with "Looking For An Alternative to Flowers?"
The Washington Post also ran a piece by Jennifer Grayson called “Flowers may be nice for Mom, but they’re terrible for Mother Earth.” Grayson, billed as an “environmental journalist,” asked readers not to buy flowers for Mother’s Day, citing complaints against flowers and the international floral industry, including environmental concerns and workers’ rights.
Not surprisingly the article was based on misinformation and blatant exaggeration. SAF CEO Peter Moran responded personally, pointing out the defamatory nature of the piece – false or misleading information presented as fact.
Peter Moran, SAF CEO, in response to the Washington Post
Unfortunately, the outdated and unwarranted accusations we see in the media are perpetuated by anecdotal, non-fact based information, often planted by others who have an agenda to paint a negative picture of the industry. However, it was disheartening to see it happen in a credible news outlet such as The Washington Post.
He wasn't the only one – Post readers were also able to see through the sensationalism approach and melodramatic tone and were quick to share their concerns online.
...Jennifer Grayson, who fancies herself as an "environmental journalist," exposed herself as a truly annoying scold.
SAF is really great at responding to this kind of negative publicity – whether it be advertising or editorial. Florists are lucky to have such a strong ally and should alert SAF to any negative publicity about flowers that they see.