For Teleflora, Talk Is Cheap

NEW YORK Fresh off a controversial Super Bowl ad that raised Valentine’s Day floral business during a sales drought, Teleflora is adding a new execution to its “Talking Flowers” work for Mother’s Day.
The floral brand, which contracts with local florists nationwide for hand-delivered and arranged bouquets, will also team with HSN in May for three 30-minute floral tip/direct-response segments.
In the new execution, “Teleflora’s Slacker Flowers,” the trash talk comes from a pair of slacker sons who send their mom a box of wilted weeds that come to life to convey their cheap thoughts. “Happy Birthday,” one flower says, forgetting the gifting occasion, while the other asks to borrow $10 for pizza since they spent all their money on the DIY floral kit. Their big mouths ultimately land them in the trash. (When one flower/son suggests they should move back home, mom promptly stuffs the buds down the garbage disposal.)
“Don’t send flowers in a box — you don’t know what they’ll say” — the ad tags, followed by a hero shot of a hunky delivery guy carrying a Teleflora “Wings of Love Mother’s Day” bouquet, hand-arranged by a local florist in a keepsake vase. The Mother’s Day ad was created by Teleflora’s in-house agency, Firestation, Los Angeles, and was directed by Brian Billow (“I’m a PC” for Microsoft, Wieden + Kennedy’s Nike spots featuring LeBron James).
The commercial will air on 29 cable networks (AMC, Bravo, Lifetime) over 10 days leading up to Sunday, May 10. Apparently slacker sons aren’t the sweet spot: Women tend to buy more Mother’s Day bouquets, so Teleflora is targeting female-skewing shows.

Ad critics dismissed Teleflora’s Super Bowl ad as “too mean” because the brunt of the sassy flowers’ trash talk was directed at the gift recipient, a pleasant-seeming office worker. However, it didn’t seem to bug the public.
“The true measure is, ‘Did you accomplish your business objectives?’ and we were up double digits in sales at Valentines Day,” said Shawn Weidmann, president of Teleflora. “I don’t think my competitors could say that.” Along with the hard economic times, florists had the misfortune of having Valentine’s Day fall on a weekend day in 2009, which Weidmann says can lead to a sales reduction of 10-25 percent over sales when the holiday falls on a weekday.
Additionally, Teleflora is planning to sell exclusive Mother’s Day flower arrangements on interactive lifestyle network HSN beginning Tuesday, May 5. During three 30-minute segments, Teleflora member florist Tim Farrell (Farrell’s Florist) will serve as an on-air guest to demonstrate the artistry of floral arranging. Teleflora will have seven exclusive bouquets on the segments (four with upgrade options, for a total of 11) available to viewers ranging in cost from $29.99-79.95. HSN is in 90 million households.
The shows will be promoted on air through alerts and ads, and Teleflora will also be featured in HSN’s program guide. During other shows on the network, Teleflora will serve as an official floral brand of sorts: Guests will be presented with bouquets and the brand will be acknowledged in an integration deal.