February 12, 2011

Tired or Tacky Hearts?

The month of February always promises to bring the same thing – a downpour of jewelry and flower ads.  Kay Jewelers, Jareds, and other brands roll out the same predictable commercials about three times a year: Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. The ads are so familiarly boring that you probably don’t even notice them anymore, except perhaps when you find yourself humming their catchy-yet-meaningless jingles.

It was interesting to see this year, that a couple of brands took a different route in their advertising and changed up the tired routine-they challenged us and their audience to think differently about flowers on Valentine’s Day.

Take a look at the recent Teleflora flower ad with the country superstar Faith Hill. In it, she advises her male friend to “just write what’s in his heart” when he is struggling with what to put on the card accompanying the flowers he’s sending to his girlfirend. He types spontaneously “Dear Kim, your rack is unreal” and quickly hits the send button. This is not exactly the typical romantic notion that one associates with flower companies. But guess what? It’s memorable. And, Teleflora tied the brand in with the Superbowl since Valentine’s Day was so close to the big game, with a “Don’t Fumble This Valentine’s Day” tagline.

Of course, the viewing public was offended. Online, complaints ranged from “Jerks don’t buy flowers” to “I was watching with my school-age daughters. I thought, ‘Oh, it’s Faith Hill. This will be cute.’ Nope, just raunchy.” And others just didn’t make the connection, as one blog commenter stated, “Just plain weird given the product.”

I disagree – I applaud Teleflora for breaking out of the clutter, taking a stand-even if it offended folks-and making a bold brand difference by not forging ahead with the same old same old. When was the last time you remembered an ad from a flower company, even had a spirited conversation about flowers or recalled Teleflora by name?

So, moral and politically correct compass aside, what works better when selling romance- tacky or traditional?


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