The best PR, it is said, is invisible PR. Unfortunately, sometimes that invisibility extends over the PR practitioners who make wonderful events happen each and every day, so this column is dedicated to giving credit where credit is due.
Case in point, the annual Philadelphia Flower Show. I attended last Thursday with several flower lovers on the occasion of one friend’s mother’s 88th birthday. What better way to celebrate another year of life by immersing one’s self in life’s beauty…floral beauty, that is.
I just want to say that the PR people working in this project “got it right.” From a 56-page “official schedule of events” that provided a wealth of information about the show, to the Herculean efforts that were undoubtedly required to bring hundreds of vendors together for “Springtime in Paris” (the 2011 show theme), well, like a bouquet of the finest roses, it just took your breath away.
This year’s event, which just ended yesterday, March 13th, benefitted the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society which bears no resemblance to the vision you’re undoubtedly conjuring in your mind, i.e. a lot of Mayberry RFD-Aunt Bee-types sitting in a school auditorium talking about their prize begonias. Oh no, as I was quick to learn, PHS is the force behind campaigns like “Plant One Million,” a mult-state tree-planting program; and City Harvest program which helps provide locally grown produce to those in need.
As PHS president Drew Becher’s letter to the Philly flower show attendees noted, “To date more than 77,000 pounds of vegetables have been donated by local community gardens, feeding more than 1,000 famlies per week during the growing season.”
Since it’s the 21st century, no PR effort would be complete without a foray into social media, and the Philly Flower Show is no exception. People were encouraged to “follow the Flower Show on Facebook” to check out “photos, contests, and visitor tips,” and to visit theflowershowblog.com for “behind-the-scenes stories.”
A legion of sponsors, including Acme Markets, Bartlett Tree Experts, and Tourism Ireland were brought into the flower show fold, not to mention a media partnership with WPVI-TV and catering by Aramark as looking at flowers, you can build up quite an appetite.
But of course, the best PR for the flower show is the flowers themselves. Incredible works of art, one right after another; even after 3+ hours of walking through the Pennsylvania Convention Center, I feel we barely touched the surface.
Recognized as one of the nation’s preeminent floral shows, the Philly Flower Show traces its history all the way back to 1829—yup, that’s correct, 1829, more than 30 years BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR—when the American public was first introduced to a little plant known as the poinsettia…today, perhaps second only to the pine tree, as the top “plant symbol” of Christmas!
Today, the flower show adds in excess of $60 million to the greater Philadelphia region’s bottomline, thanks to the efforts of “volunteers from 41 states and visitors from around the world.”
Incredible. So kudos to all those who took part in making this year’s show a “blooming success” (sorry), and for those who are often forgotten in all the details, the PR people who take events like the this, make them happen, and tell the world about them, so that people can continue to enjoy them, today and for decades to come.