Colombian and U.S. Growers Extend FPO

February 19, 2004 - 15:17

Colombian and U.S. cut-flower growers have agreed to extend the Flower Promotion Organization (FPO) to 2007. The FPO, an alliance consisting of United States and Colombian growers and importers, was first developed in 1999 to expand consumer demand for fresh-cut flowers. FPO helped its initial markets (Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Philadelphia and San Diego) assert flowers as a natural, easy, simple and inexpensive way to improve and freshen up the home and office. The original agreement spanned from August 1999 to January 2002.

In 2002, the FPO expanded its market into Minneapolis/St. Paul, and in 2003 launched a campaign in Atlanta. Both markets joined the FPO promotions team, and local retail florists and wholesalers raised enough funds to leverage the scope and effectiveness of the FPO campaign investment. "This new three-year funding agreement clearly shows that the FPO is truly committed to building consumption through consumer promotion and education," said FPO Executive Director Stan Pohmer.

After an extensive review of industry trends, consumer behavior data and focus group testing, based on the American Floral Endowment’s Consumer Tracking Study, FPO created the "Flowers. Alive with Possibilities" campaign, featuring flowers as the perfect and natural home décor solution. Their idea is simple: "Take home a bouquet or bunch of flowers and get creative with how you use them." Unique usage ideas and display suggestions are presented, showing flowers used in different ways throughout the home and office.

After only two waves of advertising, the campaign has shown tremendous impact. Targeted consumers in the initial five markets bought flowers 26% more often than in the control markets due to FPO promotions. According to Dr. Ronald W. Ward, professor at the University of Florida, "After analyzing the six phases of FPO promotion in selected U.S. cities, the definitive conclusion is that the promotions have significantly impacted the demand for flowers through increasing buyer frequency and, to some degree, attracting additional buyers."

The FPO campaign is directed to the consumer and is retail-channel neutral. The "Flowers. Alive with Possibilities" message is focused on raising consumer awareness, changing attitudes towards flowers and positively impacting consumers’ purchase behaviors, without regard to where the flowers are bought. The FPO continues to encourage people to identify opportunities to adapt this unique campaign, further increasing cut-flower sales across the market.

"Over the past few years," said Pohmer, "we’ve developed a measurement tool that can validate our successes and fine-tuned a message that the consumer positively responds to. We’ve created a promotional and PR model that can be implemented in virtually any market, offering an exciting and professional consumer campaign with modest investment. We look forward to bringing our ‘Possibilities’ campaign to additional markets through partnerships with local floral communities."

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