Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Teleflora SuperBowl Poll

[poll id="148"]

Teleflora, an online floral delivery service, spent alot of money to trash other delivery services and to insult romance novel readers.) While I could see that it was a bad choice, I have lost place of of my outrage. Do I need to find it? Here’s the contact form, if you want to send your feedback to Teleflora.

It doesn’t make a ton of sense to insult romance readers, given that it is such a large demographic, but maybe it’s directed toward men. Not women?

Kate G and SB Sarah both blogged about this topic yesterday during the SuperBowl.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

55 Comments

  1. Angela James
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 08:41:58

    While I could see that it was a bad choice, I have lost place of of my outrage. Do I need to find it?

    This is a really good way to describe how I felt.

    I knew as soon as I saw the commercial I thought it was in bad taste and that it would cause an uproar, but maybe I’m just too drained from previous uproars to feel the “proper” outrage for this one? I don’t have the energy to be outraged every time someone insults romance. Or epublishing. Or erotic romance. Or…yeah. I’d be outraged all the time and that’s just exhausting.

  2. theo
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 08:52:40

    I found it in very bad taste, and I won’t be ordering from them at all, but I also wasn’t throwing rocks at the TV.

  3. MB (Leah)
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 09:01:44

    I wasn’t watching the Superbowl but was following what everyone was saying on Twitter and then went to Katiebabs’ blog when she first posted the commercial and watched it.

    My immediate reaction was to be pissed off and insulted. However, Meljean Brooke pointed out that it was a commercial trying to say that boxed flowers are crappy, get ones in a vase. And I could see then that is was mainly poor taste using just about every negative stereotype of a woman.

    Even so, and I could really give a crap about this company’s sales, it’s the initial reaction to a commercial that counts and obviously many women felt insulted.

    Personally, I don’t like getting flowers so it’s a moot point in my house about ever using that company.

  4. Laura K Curtis
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 09:08:52

    Theo said it for me. I found it offensive, but I find so many ads offensive that I can’t exactly say I was outraged. For example, I find the alcohol ads that glorify lying to your wife/girlfriend so you can drink with the boys instead of listening to her nagging much more offensive than I find this one. I don’t order from Teleflora anyway–Pro Flowers has gorgeous flowers that, yeah, they do come in a box but who cares?–so what stands out most to me in this is one of the things that’s stood out to me so often in the past…”wow, someone paid a LOT of money to an ad firm to make an astoundingly bad ad, and then another LOT of money to place that ad on TV.”

  5. joanne
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 10:01:23

    It’s a commercial that has to be ‘explained’ so therefore it’s a failure as part of an ad campaign. Negative ads seldom work and this one less then others. I learned that lesson almost 40 years ago so I should think it would be part of the infrastructure by now.

    Any time a person — in this case a woman who looked to be happy in her work environment — is made to look ridiculous by a bunch of flowers or any other product or service then the ad agency has failed in it’s attempt to sway buyers to use their client.

    Starting with the delivery guy and the bright bouquet of flowers would have been smarter. I’m not angry, I’m just stunned by the waste of money.

  6. Cathy
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 10:01:55

    Honestly, I found the commercial pretty funny. As a romance novel reader, I wasn’t insulted, nor was I insulted becasue I own a fat cat (who, yes, smells on ocassion).

    I think ultimately the commercial was kind of dumb, since receving poor-quality flowers doesn’t make me doubt my self-worth nor the intent of the sender but instead call the florist to complain, but it was a typical commercial – a 30 second attempt at proving that their product is far superior to the competitor, using strong imagery and ear-catching language to make it memorable. I won’t be using Teleflora because I choose to use local florists when sending flowers long-distance, but I’ll certainly remember their name.

    I think there were other commercials that were far worse, maybe not for romance readers but for women in general – GoDaddy.com, anyone?

  7. katiebabs
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 10:06:29

    I find it in bad taste and very stereotypical. The people I were with didn’t comment, except for one because they knew I enjoy reading romance novels.

  8. jillyfae
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 10:08:03

    @Laura K Curtis “wow, someone paid a LOT of money to an ad firm …. then another LOT of money to place that ad”

    The part that always really gets me about advertising, is one assumes they researched different companies and/or campaigns, rather than just throwing their money around wildly, which means they chose this particular really bad ad as being better than the alternative. I don’t get advertising, and I never have, and I mostly just try to ignore it. (For example, I’ve noticed a recurring trend in advertising, where companies seem to be trying to make their customers (the people using their products in the ads) look both rude and stupid. Why are they going out of their way to do that?)

  9. Lynn M
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 10:21:39

    I confess, I laughed when I saw this ad. Just the idea of a box of flowers spewing snark at the recipient was funny to me. I didn’t give much thought to the reality that what the flowers were saying was insulting to women. I agree with Meljean that I think the whole point wasn’t to insult women, more to imply that by sending boxed flowers, you might as well shout out mean insults in public. And, come on, the end when the geeky guy said “I’d like to see you…” was kind of funny.

    But – huge BUT – I definitely did catch the slam against romance readers, and I was annoyed. I suppose I should just roll my eyes about the fact that, yet again, someone/the ad writers have shown such a lack of creativity as to go to the lowest common denominator by implying that reading romance novels = stupid, unworthy, desperate woman. How unoriginal.

    I’m one who Googles a local florist to avoid paying a bunch of fees by ordering from a national company, so Teleflora doesn’t get my business anyway.

  10. Janicu
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 10:28:48

    I thought all the things the flowers said as kind of lame – the cat thing, the being single thing. I have other things to get more riled up over though so this didn’t rile me up. Plus I’d never even HEARD of teleflora let alone use them, so it’s not a big sacrifice to not buy flowers from them (I get discounts on other flower places anyway).

  11. Lori
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 10:38:30

    Yeah, I found it really offensive toward women. Not as a romance reader, but as a woman in general. But, yeah, I also chuckled at the last line, too. But believe me, I also made it a point to tell my husband I expected him to never, ever, ever order flowers from there. Ever.

    Neither of us noticed the commercial during the hubub that was the superbowl party at our house yesterday. It wasn’t till I logged onto Google Reader last night and saw the trailer on SBTB that I called him in. I think his jaw dropped farther than mine.

  12. veinglory
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 10:42:24

    So sue me, I am d) thought it was funny.

  13. Rene
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 11:08:09

    I thought it was funny and made a very good point. If you give a crappy gift to someone, one that obviously had no thought behind it, you are insulting them.

  14. MaryK
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 11:13:47

    @Lynn M:

    the whole point wasn't to insult women, more to imply that by sending boxed flowers, you might as well shout out mean insults in public.

    Maybe that’s what they were trying to do. But what they did do was say if you get boxed flowers you’re a

    stupid, unworthy, desperate woman.

    Maybe it’s a POV difference depending on whether you identify with the one who sends the flowers or the one who receives them.

  15. Meljean
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 11:16:02

    I think it was an ineffective commercial because it’s message was so muddied by the delivery (and I think it’s deliciously ironic, considering the point of the commercial was that delivery from another service would send the wrong message.)

    But as to the particular jab against romance, I just felt that the flowers were saying things that only an asshole jerk would say. And I’m very comfortable with the idea that only an asshole jerk would suggest that a woman going home to her romance novels and her fat cat is pathetic.

    So I thought bad commercial, and that they forgot that a good portion of the audience was going to be women who might be offended by the content regardless of what kind of flowers were handing out the insults…but I’m not outraged. I’m just shaking my head over the really crappy delivery.

  16. Robin
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 11:19:16

    Just bad advertising, IMO. Not an ad you watch and immediately resonate to in a good way. Needs actual conversation to supplement/clarify the meaning, superficially insulting to women, and how the hell many people even think about flowers “in a box” v. “in a vase” when they order them, or even know there’s a difference? If the entirety of the difference is “in a vase,” I don’t think the ad did anything to a) convey that effectively or b) generate any interest on my part to care. Of course, maybe that’s the whole problem — they *don’t* really have much to distinguish them as better. Including a better ad.

  17. (Jān)
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 12:51:29

    My first thought was “Who was the fool who signed off on wasting a million bucks on that?” My second thought was “Scrap Teleflora from my list of florists”.

    The Doritos ad with the vending machine was my favorite. Childish, but hilarious.

  18. Jennifer
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 12:58:01

    I think this ad fit perfectly into a whole series of ads that were violent and relied on humor that insulted other people. Gone are the funny ads like Monster.com “herding cats” ad that was just funny without being cruel.

  19. El
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 13:38:19

    The ad insulted just about everyone–guys who send flowers but are clueless about how to do it well are still trying to be nice guys. The geek at the end was beyond ubergeeky. The officemates are designed to look ugh. And the idea that getting flowers from a crappy delivery service means the recipient is a loser is, well, absurd. She’s a total babe!

    Epic fail on this one. Besides, every anniversary my parents get GORGEOUS flowers from Hawaii (from an ex-student of my mom’s) in a box. Totally classy.

  20. Robin
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 13:46:26

    I liked the Pepsi “Forever Young” ad best, even though I don’t like Pepsi.

    The Bud immigrant Clydesdale ad was moderately amusing, too. As was the Doritos vending machine ad (although I thought the second throw was kind of lame).

  21. Mireya
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 14:21:07

    I missed it during the game. By the time I saw it (online, today), I had read all the comments, and FU at the SBs blog, so I was expecting something so horribly insulting that I really was bracing myself for something unspeakable. Well, after watching it I have to admit I just think it is in poor taste and horridly LAME, not funny at all. But I have to admit I didn’t find it to be the horrible insult to all womankind that I was actually expecting it to be.

    As to insulting romance readers, I have always been in a minority as a reader. Only a few of my friends were avid readers through my childhood, and I was the object of teasing due to my being an avid reader most of my life, so I pretty much don’t give a rat’s ass as to what people think about my reading preferences.

  22. Jenn Nixon
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 14:43:51

    I liked the one in the hospital from the coworkers. This one wasn’t as funny, but I didn’t think it was offensive. *shrug*

  23. Michelle
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 15:07:48

    I have to admit that I saw this one “live” and was horrified/appalled. I thought it was insulting to women – particularly single women by mocking their “fears” – and wondered whom this ad was supposed to speak to and convince them to use Teleflora. I have bought flowers through Teleflora and plan to stop. Perhaps I’m more sensitive since I’m single as are a lot of my friends.

    I did see the godaddy one and one of the doritos one that other women were appalled by. When people point it out, it is discouraging all the negative representations of women that make it through…

  24. Robin
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 15:20:13

    When people point it out, it is discouraging all the negative representations of women that make it through…

    I think it says something about the stereotypes that continue to attach to major sporting events like the Superbowl. IMO the godaddy ad was way worse than the Teleflora ad, but the the intertwined themes of sex(ism) and aggression/violence in many of them seem to reflect definite assumptions abut the projected audience. And they’re not particularly flattering to men, either, IMO.

  25. SonomaLass
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 18:01:40

    Robin, I liked the “Forever Young” ad, too!

    I’m just bothered by the persistent stereotype that accusing a woman of reading romance is the same as accusing her of having no life. “You read romance” should not be an insult, as if the only reason we read it is because that’s the only way we can get it. And that’s what this commercial says — that telling a woman she reads romance is insulting, just like telling her that no one wants to see her naked is insulting. That’s the message of the ad — don’t send insulting flowers — but obviously a lot of us were insulted by the ad itself. Bad call on someone’s part.

    But, have I seen worse sexism in advertising? Sure. Were there worse ads than this during the Super Bowl? Hellz yeah. Will I ever use this floral delivery service? Not on your tintype, honey.

  26. Miki
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 18:51:48

    When this commercial started (yes, I saw it “live”), my jaw dropped open.

    But I eventually noticed that they seemed pretty careful not to cast a stereotypical-looking “old-maid” kind of woman to play the role. She was pretty in a very “average-American” kind of way.

    So I decided it was being marketed toward men – and the stereotypical “beer-belching, underarm-farting, belly-scratching” sports kind of “guy”. Which, to be honest, I think is as insulting to men as the “you-read-romances-so-must-live-alone-with-a-cat” stereotype is for women.

    So, did it “work”? Well, it didn’t make me want to run out and order flowers from TeleFlora. But it did make me wonder if the “flowers-in-a-box” I’ve sent occasionally to my mother really come looking that pathetic! She always seems to make a fuss, but now that I think about it, I’m not sure if she’s ever sent me a picture. Hmmmm…

  27. DS
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 18:58:53

    I did not see the ad (or the Superbowl) but right now outrage about florist ads is way down the list of my priorities.

  28. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 19:39:25

    I’m not exactly in an uproar-disgusted by it, yes. And I did take time to email them. I’ve got to be honest, it’s not just the slam at romances that bugged me.

    It was the sheer ugliness of it…as though if a guy doesn’t spend buckoo bucks on a Valentine’s Day gift, the women isn’t loved, she isn’t wanted.

    It was total commercialism, just like the stupid jewelry store commercials that ramble on about how a man should spend X amount on a diamond engagement ring (like one or two months salary) and if he doesn’t, he doesn’t really love his bride to be.

  29. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 19:40:19

    Hm…i’m thinking my comment got eaten by the spamblock.

  30. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 02, 2009 @ 19:48:29

    Oh…there I am. Thanks, Jane (I assume..???)

  31. TarotByArwen
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 00:12:20

    Totally ticked me off. Made me angry enough to want to throw my beer at the tv. It was offensive to women as a whole. I won’t be buying from Teleflora and will make sure those who would buy me flowers know not to buy from them either.

    It wasn’t the “go home to your cat and romance novels” aspect. That was lame, gimmicky throwaway advertising.

    It was the emotional abuse heaped on the sad, mousy woman as her co-workers looked on knowingly and laughingly or tried to scurry away. It was the idea that she was not good enough and the person who sent her the flowers was not good enough.

    I could go on and on and on about how much I loathed this commercial. It is because it triggered some past issues for me. SO yeah, totally ticked me off.

  32. Mireya
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 05:40:26

    You know what commercial angered me to no end every time they showed it? That jewelry commercial in which the guy is in the middle of that Piazza in Italy, and yells “I love this woman” gives her this big honking ring and then she tells him that she loves him, in his ear. THAT angered me. Love has no price, however, according to that commercial, it does… and that’s how you get your woman.

    Just typing this makes me want to scream… and that commercial was on for months if not over a year.

    That commercial didn’t cast a positive light on either women in general or love, yet I didn’t see any negative reactions to it anywhere online.

    I guess depends entirely on what your “hot buttons” are.

  33. GrowlyCub
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 07:54:22

    I love the cat herding ad, too, but it failed for Jennifer, grin, since it wasn’t by Monster.com, but by EDS, a company nobody had heard of before the ad aired and a company still nobody knows. ;) But the commercial was fab.

    As a consumer, those are the ads I love best: when they are creative or beautiful or evocative and I enjoy the artistic implementation, but at the end I have no clue what they want to sell me. Total fail as ads, but epic win as pieces of art. :)

  34. Lisa
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 09:03:34

    I haven’t read all the comments, so I don’t know if anyone has brought this up yet, but it wasn’t so much the Romance novel crack that bugged me, it was the bit at the end where the voice-over says: “No one wants to see you naked.”

    Considering the actress in the commercial is pretty darn beautiful, it’s no wonder women have body issues with media pressure like this. Couple that with the overweight female coworker who laments “I don’t ever get flowers” and the message is just nasty.

  35. Zoe Archer
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 14:14:45

    Initially, I was annoyed but not outraged. Then, later, I thought, Screw it, I’m pissed, and emailed the company to let them know I was offended by the ad and wouldn’t use or recommend their services.

    They emailed me back today with a $15 credit. The promo code referenced the Supebowl, so I wonder if they’ve been fielding complaints.

  36. Kalen Hughes
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 15:47:45

    One more reason I’m happy to have skipped watching the game . . .

  37. Shreela
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 16:42:17

    Woe be to the man that buys a women flowers from this company. Why would a company spend so much money to tick off their customers’ targets?

  38. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 22:37:09

    @Zoe Archer:

    Zoe, I emailed them and got the same response. So Yep, I imagine they HAVE been fielding comments. Screw the promo code. I don’t want their flowers.

  39. Zoe Archer
    Feb 03, 2009 @ 22:54:20

    @Shiloh Walker: Me, either. And, according to Jezebel, this isn’t the first time they’ve gotten into trouble because of sexist advertising.

    http://jezebel.com/5145591/does-teleflora-have-a-history-of-insensitivity

  40. Lisa
    Feb 04, 2009 @ 08:31:45

    I don’t want their flowers either, so the promo code this is like rubbing salt in a wound in my mind. They pissed me off as a potential customer and a discount is supposed to make me want to pay for their service now? That’s just such a load of total b.s.

  41. Bob Loblaw
    Feb 05, 2009 @ 06:25:53

    Oh boo hoo. Everything isn’t some secret plan made by men to bring women down. It’s a silly commercial and I would think you bliss-ninnies would have more important things in this day and age to be appaled about. Why don’t some of YOU go home to your romance novels and fat smelly cat!

  42. Jane
    Feb 05, 2009 @ 07:26:47

    @Bob Loblaw Um, I think I’m appalled at your spelling. I always think that if you are going to go on someone’s site and insult the whole crowd that you should try and use spell check. My fat smelly cat has helped me in many life lessons and that’s just one of them.

  43. Bob Loblaw
    Feb 05, 2009 @ 19:01:52

    Oh my no! a TYPO! That’s your best response, to comment on a typo? I bet your fat smelly cat has better come-backs than you.

    Were you the horrid fat pig that said “I never get flowers” on that commercial?

  44. Lori S.
    Feb 05, 2009 @ 19:15:46

    Oh my no! a TYPO! That's your best response, to comment on a typo? I bet your fat smelly cat has better come-backs than you.

    Were you the horrid fat pig that said “I never get flowers” on that commercial?

    Ignore him, Jane. Eventually he’ll go back to his momma’s basement so he can make out with his cardboard cutout of Counselor Troi.

  45. Jane
    Feb 05, 2009 @ 19:23:09

    OMG. Yes. How did you guess. I am totally that horrid fat pig. I have to pay people to go down on me. Or wait. Is that you?

  46. anna_chronistic
    Feb 05, 2009 @ 23:26:37

    Hey! Just because Bob’s a troll, that’s no reason to make fun of Star Trek! Let’s not attack another genre that, like romance, often gets little respect and has some persistent stereotypes attached to it. Yep, dyed-in-the-wool sci-fi AND romance fan, that’s me.

    But Bob’s still a troll. However, based on the way he wrote (not to mention the rather pathetic content) he’s clearly very young. I’m guessing mid-teens?

  47. SonomaLass
    Feb 06, 2009 @ 01:06:15

    I agree — don’t feed the trolls, especially not by doing the sort of negative stereotyping (based on genre preferences) that started this thread.

    Yep, ANOTHER “dyed-in-the-wool sci-fi AND romance fan” here!
    *waves to anna_chronistic*

  48. How To Piss Off Women » client k
    Feb 06, 2009 @ 04:03:40

    [...] I didn’t watch the Super Bowl, I’ve received a few hundred email pleas to boycott Teleflora. I’ve since watched the commercial and wow, this is a great example of a company NOT knowing [...]

  49. Lori S.
    Feb 06, 2009 @ 07:30:43

    I’m not attacking sci-fi at all. Been a fan all my life. All I did was make a ST reference. IMHO, that does not constitute an attack; it certainly wasn’t meant as one.

  50. Anion
    Feb 06, 2009 @ 09:45:57

    Personally, I don’t like flowers as gifts, and if I’m ordering them I order from Interflora instead; they have nicer arrangements, better prices, and they ship worldwide. (Hopefully I’ve been here long enough that you know I’m not spamming, lol. And no, I don’t work for Interflora either. I just send my Mommy flowers on her birthday every year, because she *does* like them.)

    But yeah, all those “gifts for women”? I think they’re all kind of sexist. I mean, thanks for the thought and everything, but I don’t want flowers or bath bombs or lotions or spa gift certificates. I’m not that self-absorbed, thanks. How about something that shows you actually know me, you know?

  51. Lisa
    Feb 06, 2009 @ 10:08:54

    Anion, I understand what you’re saying. I’m not too keen on flowers either. I mean, they die. However, anyone who knows me well, knows that a spa gift is a perfect gift for me. I don’t see it as being self-absorbed. It’s actually a chance for me to stop the crazy train of my life for a little while. :)

  52. Lori
    Feb 06, 2009 @ 10:57:37

    I love getting flowers and sending flowers. Unfortunately, many floral gifts also go to express grievance when someone dies.

    But looking at Telefloral’s commercials via the link Zoe put up on #39 made me cringe. What a repugnant group of ads. Nice to know that all my life advents (birthday, baby, love and friendship) are so snark-worthy. And being what they qualified as a non-Mom Mom (my daughter is adopted) made me literally feel rage.

    1-800-Flowers has my business.

  53. reader
    Feb 07, 2009 @ 02:34:40

    I found it funny.

    If you found it offending, maybe you should go to a professional to get help. Laugh at oneself is healthy.

  54. This commercial
    Dec 18, 2009 @ 11:39:12

    WAS HILARIOUS! HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Oh no, look at that mug!
    Go home to your fat, smelly cat!
    C’mon, stop being pansies that are offended by everything you see. It’s not that big of a deal. You know what I was always told? “truth hurts don’t it” so unless you do have a fat smelly cat, why let it bother you? What is this, a feminists group? Jesus Christ! (<— how many of you broads are offended by that, too, huh?)

  55. TB
    Feb 10, 2011 @ 11:15:28

    I saw the new Faith Hill ad last night a few times on ESPN and I am appalled that Teleflora would use such language that is a slap towards women in this ad. The “rack” comment is unacceptable. Will the next one talk about how well hung a guy needs to be? If so, it would be an equally negative and tasteless comment. Hopefully, Teleflora will have a little class and pull that ad. I am telling all my husband, family, friends and contacts NOT to buy from Teleflora for Valentine’s (or any other occasion).

%d bloggers like this: