The use of national plant marketing campaigns has been debated for decades in the United States, but with little action because of the complexity of managing it and paying for it. European growers have worked through the issues and adopted several successful campaigns throughout the years. While European growers have more monoculture operations, which makes a national campaign easier to manage, there are marketing lessons to be learned from these programs.

This year, a group of European growers and retailers invested jointly in a campaign to promote flowers and plants to consumers in Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. The Flower Council of Holland (FCH) is promoting the sale of flowers and plants in those countries with a total budget of 14.5 million euro. FCH provides marketing in each country in its language, also taking into account local preferences and trends through two primary websites: Funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk and Thejoyofplants.co.uk.

The year started with the campaign, “Christmas Tree Out. Houseplant In,” which included more than 250 posters on railway stations in the Netherlands aimed at a younger target group.

The Houseplant of the Month campaign was co-financed by the European Union through July. This campaign created collaborations with major magazine titles, such as vtwonen and Madame in Germany, and with a leading German photographer and artist Kristian Schuller. The campaign generates 290 articles a month, and reaches more than 1 million people. There’s also a Garden Plant of the Month, which has focused on blue conifers, viburnum and azalea.

Vitamin Houseplant for Men, with a tagline of “Because men love plants too,” highlights plants that need minimal care, touts the benefits of indoor plants, and provides interior design ideas, all aimed at the male consumer. A French version of the campaign went online at the end of March, reaching more than 650,000 consumers. For Valentine’s Day, FCH produced a video that was sent out via the Periscope mobile app and was viewed more than 15 million times. Have you tried marketing your plants or brands on this platform? If so, I’d like to hear about it.

Public spaces

During the month of April, FCH opened the first modeling agency for plants – The Plant Agency – in the center of Amsterdam. It was designed so stylists, editors, photographers and bloggers could borrow plants for free for productions. The aim was to draw attention to the Houseplants of the Month campaign through relevant magazines, websites and blogs. In the states, I can see something like this working in New York City.

To draw extra attention to garden plants in Germany, people were able to book a night in a specially created trend garden in Berlin’s hip Schrebergarten in May (via AirBnB). I especially loved this idea, and one that brands could certainly attempt.

Don’t be afraid to be bold – there are marketing ideas to imitate all over the world and in many different industries.

* Campaign information provided by FCH (www.flowercouncil.co.uk)

krodda@gie.net