“Welcome to Valentine’s Day marketing, 1995 style,” Ad Age staffer Leah Rickard wrote 25 years ago this week. And indeed, her article on V-Day campaigns by FTD and “800-Flowers” (for some reason Ad Age dropped the 1) is a delightful throwback.
Of course at the time, this was pretty savvy stuff. 1-800-Flowers was among the first retailers to partner with CompuServe (in 1992) and with America Online (1994). In September of 1995, seven months after this Valentine’s Day issue, the company registered the 1800flowers.com domain name. “The Westbury, N.Y.-based company is shooting to score with the interactive crowd with an online contest,” Rickard wrote. Promoted on America Online, CompuServe and eWorld, the contest encouraged customers to write a poem about the person they love. The winner? A fellow named John Gretchen from Delaware penned a verse for his fiancée, whom he met on AOL.