1-800-Flowers Gets ‘Social’ for Mother’s Day

NEW YORK 1-800-Flowers.com is embarking on its most aggressive push yet for Mother’s Day, launching a new “Spot a mom” effort.
Unlike past years, 1-800-Flowers is starting its Mother’s Day push more than a month in advance, launching a social media outreach program it hopes will build viral buzz. The company is “spotting” mommy bloggers that exemplify one of eight archetypes of motherhood the company has devised. It sends chosen bloggers a bouquet and discount code to share with their readers. The company is also promoting its “Spot a mom” campaign with blogger outreach.
The hope is that the 24 mommy bloggers spotted will spread the word about 1-800-Flowers through their networks and ignite what Lewis Goldman, svp of brand marketing at the company, calls a “viral movement” that reaches the intended target: women who frequently give flowers as gifts. This is a group that tends to plan its Mother’s Day gifts in advance, he said.
“There are 82.5 million mothers,” Goldman said. “We want to make sure every one of them gets flowers for Mother’s Day. The idea is no mother should be left behind.”
Last week, 1-800-Flowers’ blogger and “floral lifestyle expert” Julie Mulligan (blog.1800flowers.com/Julie) recognized two mommy bloggers as “Red Carpet Moms” for their stylishness. Both women wrote posts about the recognition and posted photos of the bouquets they received along with the flower discount code.
This week, Mulligan recognizes “Do-it-yourself moms.” In the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day on May 10, Mulligan will recognize bloggers in categories like “On-the-go mom” and “Pet-lover mom”
“We wanted to get to this idea that there are other moms you know in life and it would be great to recognize them as well,” Goldman said.
The blogger outreach is supported by a Twitter account (www.twitter.com/1800flowers), Facebook page (www.facebook.com/1800flowers), microsite (www.spotamom.com) and sweepstakes for people to submit their own nominations for mothers that deserve the spotlight (www.spotlightamom.com). Public relations firm MMW Group is handling the social media work.
The effort is 1-800-Flowers’ most ambitious social media campaign to date. One thing it does not include: paid advertising on social networks.
“One of the things we’re trying to figure out is how paid advertising fits with these social networking sites,” Goldman said. “It’s something we’re trying to figure out. We haven’t seen the return we were hoping for from it. I’m not giving up on it yet.”
The social media push leads up to an ad campaign, including TV, print and online placements, kicking off on April 20. Nitro created the traditional media iterations. Targetcast is handling media planning and buying. Thirty- and 15-second TV commercials will feature CEO Jim McCann giving bouquets to moms on the street, in the supermarket and in other everyday situations.
“He brings a personality to 1-800 Flowers that our competitors don’t have,” Goldman said. “It plays well in this era of personal accountability.”
1-800-Flowers plans to measure the overall campaign based on sales lift and branding metrics like the Net Promoter score. For the social aspects, it will also look to coupon redemptions and the number of entries to its “Spotlight a Mom” sweepstakes, Goldman said.
“We’re still in a learning mode,” he said. “Our business is all about giving gifts and reconnecting with the people we love. It’s what social networking is all about. It seems to me that our brand should be able to figure out how to integrate with social networking in a way to drive our business and deepen our relationship with our customers.”
1-800-Flowers is also holding a cocktail party for mommy bloggers in New York on Thursday evening. CEO McCann plans to attend.