Sunday, September 11, 2005

Spreading Contextual Love

Doing contextual marketing does not have to be expensive. Not that giving several dozen roses is cheap, but it's a lot cheaper than media advertising that most people would have missed completely.

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association reported about Ashland Addison Florist, a 73-year old family-owned florist based in Chicago and how they recently "shared some love" (and got people talking) in a fun, good-natured stunt.

On a busy street in the Loop, the florist gave out bouquets containing five roses to curious onlookers. Each bouquet came with a printed coupon of instructions that read: "Share the love!" and asked that each rose be shared with five other people to "make new friends and share goodwill to neighbors."

Not only was the story picked up by local media, but it also sent many post-vacation depressed workers in to their offices happy with a smile on their faces.

Now, I assume that each rose that was distributed included a message tag that allowed the "giver" to personalize a note to the "recipient." And that the tag provided a bounce-back coupon to create new customers ... at least that's what I assume because that would make this a pretty nifty "full-circle" promotion.

Another way a similar promotion could work is for Addison to deliver 5 roses to the CEO of nearby companies. Let the CEO thank 5 of his best workers by giving each of them a rose from Addison. Fairly sure bet that that CEO will use Addison the next time he has to send flowers from the company.


At 7:52 PM, Anonymous katie said...

Congratulations to Ashland Addison Florists for such a creative twist on an old promotional tactic. Handing out samples of your product is nothing new. Giant hot dogs and soda cups (complete with straw), cute employees with trays of edible items, little old ladies at Wal-Mart, etc – you get the picture. I have seen this tactic at malls, sports events and big city streets. However, asking curious bystanders to take a sample and then providing them the unique privilege of giving away flowers in order to “Share the love!” is something new.

I’m immediately reminded of the movie, “Pay It Forward,” with Kevin Spacey, Haley Joel Osment, and Helen Hunt. The basic premise of the movie is creating the ultimate “Share the love!” strategy when a young boy takes a homework challenge to heart and devises a plan to make the world a better place- exponentially. His theory was that if one person helped three people and those three people “pay it forward” by helping three more people, then the world would soon be a better place.

Addison’s promotion seems to follow the same strategy. If you have ever received flowers, especially unexpectedly, then you know the unique happiness that the gift creates. Flowers create a contagious happiness, just like chocolates and smiles – they brighten your day, making you a sweeter, friendlier person. I especially like the fact that Addison encouraged participants to "make new friends and share goodwill to neighbors." There is no telling how many people Addison made smile that day, or how many friendships were created or restored! I assume Addison aquired just as many future customers.

At 5:48 PM, Blogger Leigh Ann said...

Just reading this post made me smile! Ashland Addison Florist used simple marketing to advertise their product all over Chicago. "Share the love!" is an easy and guaranteed way to get your name and product out there for the world to see. I loved the idea of sharing the bouquet with others to "make new friends and share goodwill to neighbors." It says a lot about this old family-owned business and what they stand for.

Every girl loves to get flowers for no reason, and I'm sure it even helped brighten the day of some businessman on his way to a meeting. I agree with Katie when she said that flowers create a contagious happiness, and I know that if I had received one of these flowers I would have been happy all day! I'm positive that this tactic caused a stir on the streets of Chicago, and people started talking about Ashland Addison Florist. Their marketing tactic caught the attention of the local media, giving them even more publicity.

There are many other ways Addison could use the "Share the love!" strategy to advertise their business. I like the idea of CEO's using the flowers to thank employees for their work. They could visit restaurants, hospitals, coffee shops and other places to pass out flowers and coupons. It would probably save them money by advertising this way, and it is more personal to go out in the community and "Share the love!"


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