1-800-Flowers.com Spreads ‘Warm, Fuzzy’ Feeling

1-800-Flowers.com has unveiled a holiday campaign that plays up the tender feeling consumers get from receiving flowers as a gift.

The campaign, via Sapient Nitro, launches today (Monday) on cable and TV networks, as well as on social networking sites. One television ad shows a tired sales woman stressing about her day on the way home. But her anxiety disappears when a 1-800-Flowers deliveryman waits on her doorstep with a holiday floral centerpiece from her mom. “Sometimes, the holidays can feel a lot more like work,” the ad claims, but the “perfect [floral] gift” can brighten the day. The spot ends with a fuzzy ball bouncing towards the screen.

The campaign is a switch from previous holiday ads, which were more product and direct-response-focused, said marketing svp Lewis Goldman. Last year’s holiday campaign, for instance, featured founder Jim McCann delivering flowers to Martha Stewart’s house to show that consumers can get Martha-designed boutiques and gift baskets from 1-800-Flowers.

This year’s campaign plays up the “emotional benefits” of flowers-as-gifts. “The product is still hero and primary . . . but the focus is on the feeling you get from getting a gift after a hard day of work,” Goldman said.

Social and mobile media launches include a Facebook application where consumers can send a “warm, fuzzy holiday feeling,” (the character from the TV spot) to “friends.” An iPhone app will also launch this week that allows consumers to put a picture of someone against a “warm, fuzzy feeling” background and send it out.

The online florist is also driving sales during the holidays via a free shipping offer. Goldman said he expects free shipping to be a major component of many e-tailers and e-commerce sites.

A Nielsen report this month found that 42 percent of consumers plan to spend less on holiday gifs this year, compared to 35 percent in 2008. 1-800-Flowers hopes the “emotional” connection will convince consumers to reach into their wallets.