Media Guy Mailbag: The 'Snapchat for Flowers' Fires Back

... With Flowers.

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Welcome to Vol. 4 of the Media Guy Mailbag. This is where I respond to reader feedback and happily answer your questions about media, marketing, pop culture, kittens, kitchen remodeling on a budget -- anything! So send me an email with "Media Guy Mailbag" in the subject line. More details below.

First I want to note that while most of the reader feedback I get comes to me by email or via social media, sometimes folks still physically send stuff -- or even have it hand-delivered. Case in point: A flower arrangement that recently arrived at Ad Age headquarters in Manhattan.

I'm pretty sure the last time I was sent flowers at work was when I was briefly (and improbably) named the acting editor-in-chief of Seventeen (where I had been executive editor), early in my career when I was a glossy-magazine guy. After my appointment was mentioned in The New York Times, various cosmetics companies sent me flowers -- including L'Oreal, which addressed them to "Simone" (I guess they figured if I was editing Seventeen, I had to be a lady, right?).

Why don't more people think to send guys flowers? (Not fair.)

Anyway, back to the flowers that arrived recently. I don't actually work out of the Ad Age offices, so everyone who does was wondering who sent them -- until my colleague Fallon Atta-Mensah, who'd emailed me to tell me about their arrival, opened up the attached card at my request. It read,

Oh, BloomNation, you shouldn't have!
Oh, BloomNation, you shouldn't have! Credit: Fallon Atta-Mensah

"You are the Whisper for awesome articles. We loved your piece! Thanks for putting a smile on all our faces. :)-"

It was signed "Farbod, David & Gregg @Bloomnation"

Farbod Shoraka and David Daneshgar are the cofounders, and Gregg Weisstein is the COO, of BloomNation, a company whose recent PR pitch I deconstructed in a post titled "Does the 'Snapchat for Flowers' Know What Snapchat Actually Is?" I made rather merciless fun of the company for rather illogically comparing itself to Snapchat, which was obviously just a way to shamelessly try to bite off of Snapchat's current buzz. (That said, I mentioned that I liked the idea for the company, which is that when you order flowers through their website, the local florist in their network who takes your order sends you a photo -- which doesn't self-destruct -- of the arrangement before it's delivered, so, you know, no surprises.)

To the BloomNation team: Thank you! Also: Well played! If everyone I made fun of sent me flowers, then Fallon would have even more flowers (because I regifted the BloomNation arrangement to her after she sent me a photo of it, BloomNation-style).

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Reader Kate Hughes asks, "What's your favorite thing in media right now?"

Right now? Right this second?

Writer Alan Trotter's personal website, greaterthanorequalto.net, which is getting shared a lot on Twitter. His ultra-simple homepage and its embedded narrative changes depending on how you navigate through it (pro tip: it's sort of more fun to play with it on mobile than desktop) ... and may end up leaving you strangely touched and thinking about how, as I wrote in Mailbag Vol. 2, life moves too quickly and we're all just racing to our graves.

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In Vol. 3 of Media Guy Mailbag, newish agency employee Kelsea Wilhelm asked, "What qualities make someone invaluable at an agency? I mean, dang, advertising is rapidly changing. Change or die, right? I don't want to die." Since I don't work at an agency, I turned the question over to my other readers to answer. Here are some thoughts from Max Castillo, who may love exclamation points even more than I do (!):

"It's pretty simple to be invaluable. In fact, I think it's the same no matter where you work. Be dependable! Work hard! Stay off Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and all the rest of those social media time wasters! If you're bored, bug your manager/supervisor about it. Better yet, use your free time to learn about other departments and how they function! You'd be surprised what you might learn! Step up! Don't wait till someone asks you to do something! Don't rely on what your immediate co-workers say to do! Ask other departments what it is they expect or would like to see you do when interacting with them. Odds are your co-workers are just going to pass their bad habits on to you! Don't be a sheep and just follow the herd! If, you see a potential problem, speak up! If you can offer a solution, then great! Don't be a Stepford Employee!"

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THIS WEEK'S SWAG: I'm giving Kate and Max $15 iTunes gift cards as thanks for writing in.

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For next time: Send me an email with "Media Guy Mailbag" in the subject line and a question in the body of the email. Each installment of Media Guy Mailbag I'll choose one or more questions to answer, and if I choose your question I'll send you some media swag as thanks.

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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