This article was featured in the 6/18/14 The SAF Wednesday Ebrief
Bloggers in the U.K. are giving a red card to a supermarket chain that tried to capitalize on World Cup fever with a special bouquet — but at least one sports-savvy florist in Boston said the idea has the potential to hit plenty of marketing goaaals.
Calling the “Come On, England” bouquet concept “painful,” several bloggers put the red and white carnation design, sold at Morrisons grocery stores, at the top of their “worst” lists for World Cup tie-ins.
“Suddenly, a [groveling] apology from the other half for their latest screw-up just isn’t as gratifying as it used to be,” according to EuroSport. “Alternatively, it’s a rather backhanded way for a guy to [apologize] in advance for spending the next month doing nothing but watching football marathons and angrily debating contentious decisions on social media.”
The chain also rain afoul of customers in Scotland, who successfully petitioned the stores there to stop playing an endless loop of England-related soccer — er, football —songs.
Good intentions, lousy promotion? Not so fast, said Rick Canale of Exotic Flowers in Boston, who suggested the bloggers and writers are probably overreacting, and misinterpreting the grocers’ intentions. “I bet [Morrisons] did not sell the bouquet as an apology theme,” he said. “That would be floral suicide.” (At press time, EBrief editors had not been able to obtain the original marketing materials.)
Canale should know. Exotic Flowers was the official florist of the Boston Red Sox from 2007 to 2009 and won SAF’s Floral Management Marketer of the Year title in 2008. He recently partnered with The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., to launch his new “Cooperstown Collection,” which coincides with the museum’s 75th anniversary.
Canale said hitching your shop to a sports team or event can be marketing gold, but “it’s all about the approach.” In other words, never market a sports-themed design as an apology, but instead, promote it as a party idea or team-spirited host and hostess gift. When you do that well, you turn a non-floral event into an opportunity for your shop.
“Believe me, if I liked soccer, I would be pitching World Cup bouquets here, too,” Canale said. “You have to capitalize on the success of special events. [For example], every Election Day, we launch an Election Day category on our website and then rebrand the same category for Veteran’s Day.”