The large bright yellow flowers are flourishing on apparel, cookware, jewelry and home furnishings. Sunflowers are also popping up as new products and in advertising campaigns.
General Mills later this summer will introduce Sun Crunchers, wheat-and-corn flakes with sunflower seeds baked in. A big sunflower adorns the package front. Advertising from DDB Needham Worldwide, Chicago, supports.
Elizabeth Arden Co.'s Sunflowers fragrance won the Fragrance Foundation's Fifi award for best broad distribution rollout in 1993.
The fragrance, introduced in May, had $50 million in sales by yearend. TV advertising, featuring model Vendela and two blond girls frolicking on the beach, is handled in-house. Print also supports.
Elizabeth Arden two months ago extended the collection to include bath and body products.
"The [sunflower] trend started a couple of years ago ... it's still growing strong," said Susan Arnot Heaney, public relations director for Elizabeth Arden. "It's bright, fresh and uplifting. This is the '90s update to the '60s daisy."
Sunflowers also pop up in Perrier Group of America's advertising.
A 30-second spot, which broke in August 1993, shows three children playing in a sunflower field. A bottle of Perrier is opened and poured into a glass. As the Perrier bubbles magically rise, so grow the sunflowers.
"Sunflowers are very cool right now and they're very natural," said Glen Jacobs, group creative director at Publicis/Bloom, New York, which created the commercial.
Even sunflower seed sales are growing.
Sunflower-pumpkin seed sales rose 3.4% to $67.8 million in supermarket, drug and mass merchandise outlets for the 52 weeks ended May 22, Information Resources Inc. reported. David, the No. 1 brand with a 46% share, saw sales sprout 13%. David is owned by Nestle USA's Sunmark.
Perhaps the 1987 sale of Vincent van Gogh's "Sunflowers" painting for a record $39.9 million inspired the trend, said Alan Millstein, publisher of the Fashion Network Report. "It's been around for ages."
"Things have been very somber for several seasons; I think [the sunflower trend] is a movement toward a happier time," said Sharon Graubard, creative director for "The Next Step," a fashion forecasting book published three times a year. "Colors are becoming livelier, and yellow is becoming very popular."
Julie Liesse in Chicago contributed to this story.