In Case of Emergency

You’re wandering the streets of Paris on Valentine’s Day. You’re by yourself, which makes the holiday even lonelier. Trudging down the sidewalk, you look up to cross the street. Instead, you catch the gaze of a stranger. You don’t know them, but there is something in their eyes that makes you want to change that. They turn away, heading in the opposite direction. Rather than let the magical moment wither away, you pluck a flower from the wall and run after them. Maybe it won’t be such a lonely Valentine’s Day after all.

Sounds a little cheesy right? It sounds like something out of a fairytale – not something that would happen in real life. Well au contraire my cynical friends. This year, the Flower Council of Holland played Cupid throughout the streets of Paris. As part of a guerrilla marketing campaign designed by Kingsday, Amsterdam, 1,500 red emergency boxes were installed on bridges, fences, lampposts and walls.  However, these boxes wouldn’t help you in a fire or a car accident. They were only helpful in a love emergency.  They read “In case of love at first sight, break glass.” Rather than a fire extinguisher or a phone to call 911, breaking the glass (which was really cellophane) allowed the lovestruck individual to take the single red rose inside.

There’s no telling how many sparks flew because of the little red boxes. Guerrilla marketing stunts like this are hard to measure. The Flower Council of Holland was able to cut through the clutter with a creative, simple and unexpected idea.  They gave it some emotion and then used it to promote their own brand. Even the boxes that weren’t used will remind consumers of the organization and its subsidiaries.

Would you take part in the somewhat-cheesy but still romantic act ? Better yet, would you think of the Flower Council of Holland because of it?

– Christine Schulze