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

5 thoughts on “In Case of Emergency

  1. I am a hopeless romantic so this is absolutely perfect to me! I would defiantly take part in this if I saw a cute guy walking by and I hope someone would do the same for me. I don’t know if it would play out as perfectly as it did in the video where they stare just a little too long as they pass and then he runs to box before she gets away. I do think it’s a cute idea even for couples walking along and the man decides to surprise his lady with a rose, I cannot think of one girl who would not swoon over such a gesture. From a marketing perspective this is genius, it is something that has not been done before, and if it has it’s not widely known, it’s simple yet it stands out to consumers. Around Valentine’s Day there are countless flower ads on television but by the time you want to do something for a loved one it’s forgotten. By having the roses on the street you can easily think about flowers and head to the nearest florist. I think the Flower Council of Holland has a great idea and if they continue it year after year it will become more well known and people will be more open and willing to participate in it!

  2. I think this is a genius marketing tactic. I don’t know if I would break the glass in the emergency of ‘love at first sight’ ( I’m taken), but I might do it to give a flower to someone who looked like they were having the day from hell. Regardless, seeing something out of the norm in the sometimes endless droll of everyday life is exciting to people. By setting these little red boxes up, it asks the public to become involved in the brand; promoting its cause, but also poking at pathos, urging the one with the ’emergency’ to take a chance on potential romance. It would be hard to forget this brand because it is such an unique idea. Instead of reaching one person with a business card, these boxes reach the giver and recipient of the rose, along with whoever is in the vicinity to witness the random act of kindness. It a positive way of getting your name and message out there, to which I applaud The Flower Council of Holland.

  3. I thought that this marketing move was brilliant! I would not consider myself to be a hopeless romantic but I do have hope for romance one day. The idea was very cute because it brought a fairy tail idea to “real life.” The thought of ‘love at first sight’ is one of the reoccurring themes that was very fitting for the annual holiday. Russel chocolates heart shape boxes come to mind when I think of Valentines Day simply because I see the advertisements every year. A great way to get people to think about the Flower Council of Holland more often is to have an event like this every year. The anticipation of a ‘Flower Council of Holland Rose’ on Valentines Day is enough to tug on the heart strings of any young or old lady which is more than enough to get men to buy Flower Council of Holland bouquets. This is why their plan is so brilliant! The Flower Council of Holland is in a way selling a fairy tale. They are attaching their product and therefore their brand to the idea of love and first sight and romance. I applaud them and one day I would like to receive a Flower Council of Holland rose..

    • Thanks for your comment Danielle! You have a lot of great insight as to what a memorable and long-term marketing campaign should look like. Now you just have to take a trip to Paris for that rose…

  4. I absolutely loved this idea! Maybe its because I love romance or maybe it was because this was very creative. Either way the Flower Council of Holland made a statement about their brand with that marketing strategy. I was smiling watching the commercial! They really tapped into their audience’s pathos. They had a prefect strategy to do that for Valentines day because most guys never know what to get a girl or where to get a gift from. Just seeing that walking the streets of Paris might have helped a lot of guys this year!

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