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ProFlowers in the News

Would you believe it - plants are hot news again, and so soon after Michigan trees had their moment in the sun. This time it's the red hot controversy over ProFlowers' sponsorship of Rush Limbaugh's radio show. (If you've been in the Outback for the last week or so, click here to re-enter the news cycle and find out why so many people are angry at Rush and want his sponsors to dump him.)

Several sponsors indeed dumped the show immediately, and pressure mounted against the rest who, like ProFlowers, who seemed to be standing by their man.

The company was getting lots of complaints via Twitter, and responding, sort of.  I notice in the screen shot below that the Blogging Nurseryman Trey Pitsenberger was speaking his mind.  (Go, Trey!)

ProFlowers Twitter

And on the website Pissed Consumers, a new section appeared - Proflowers Pissed Consumers.

One disgruntled customer, a blogger, wrote:

This past Valentines Day, I spent over $50 with to buy my wife two dozen multi-colored roses. It was our tenth Valentines Day together and I wanted to do Proflowers2something extra special for her.

He goes on to say he won't be doing that again.  Hey buddy, try your local florist.  Here's what you get from ProFlowers for 50 bucks, by the way. 

Speaking of Valentine's Day, imagine how panicked the company would have been if Rush had made his incindiary comments a month earlier, right before V Day?

No matter.  There was enough pressure on them to cause a rethinking of initial lame responses and on Sunday, they dumped Rush. On their Facebook page they criticized his comments as "beyond political discourse to a personal attack" and stressed that they "do not reflect our values as a company." 

Other sponsors, including AOL and Carbonite, also announced they're jumping ship, and now radio stations are, too. We're on a roll here! 
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But back to ProFlowers, about which I learned a bit over the course of all this unwanted media attention. For instance, it was started by one Jared Polis, the first openly gay male freshman congressman from Colorado.  But then I found a reference to ProFlowers as a long-time contributor to Republican causes - presumably since it was sold by Polis, a Democrat.

From the ProFlowers Wiki page we learn about some troubles unrelated to shock radio - lawsuits involving false advertising and unfair competition.  And this: 

Florist advocacy groups continue to take umbrage at ProFlowers' marketing which disparages the role of the local florist, particularly since ProFlowers itself uses local florists to fulfill its same-day, late next-day and Sunday delivery orders.

Readers, are you using ProFlowers or their online competitors, or do you go local?  And is that a loaded question? 


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