You're Making Me Thorny, All Right

Shaker Stayss just emailed me about a banner advert she saw for Teleflora's Valentine's Day promotion, the tagline for which is "Make Her Thorny."

Ha ha—get it? Get it?! Send your girlfriend/wife flowers and she'll fuck you! Ha ha ha! 'Cuz women are just prostitutes who exchange cooter access for gifties! Wheeeeee!

(So much Valentine's Day advertising is based on this heterocentrist premise of commodified womanhood, they might as well change its name to Turn Your Woman into a Whore Day.)

Anyway, so as I'm looking for an image of the banner, I discover that Teleflora ran a commercial during the Schmooperbowl called Rude Flowers:


Coworker Dude #1: Hey, Diane. Flowers came for you!

Coworker Dude #2: Ooooooh. Flowers for Diane!

Coworker Woman #1: Oh, I never get flowers!

[Diane opens box of flowers.]

Talking Flower: Oh no! Look at the mug on you! Diane, you're a trainwreck! That's why he only sent a box of flowers. Go home to your romance novels and your fat, smelly cat!

[Coworkers look embarrassed for Diane. Coworker Dude #2 mouths "Wow" and turns away. Diane looks mortified.]

Voiceover: This Valentine's Day, don't send flowers in a box. You never know what they'll say.

Talking Flower: No one wants to see you naked!

[ Coworker Woman #1 scurries away. Diane closes box.]

Voiceover: Teleflora's bouquets are hand-arranged and hand-delivered in a keepsake vase, not in a box. That's the Teleflora difference.

Coworker Dude #1: I'd like to see you—

Diane: Gary!
So, apparently, the idea is to communicate to straight men that their partners will be embarrassed, shamed, stereotyped, and offered a pityfuck by another guy if they send flowers in a box.

Now, hold onto your seats, Shakers, but it turns out that I don't regard threatening women with abject humiliation is an appropriate marketing strategy to appeal to men. And I seriously question the existence of the sort of man to whom this advertising is meant to appeal: A man who feels compassion for the treatment of the woman in the commercial is probably tuned-in enough to reject misogynist advertising and the advertisers who rely on it, while a man who laughs at the treatment of the woman in the commercial, if he even buys flowers for his partner in the first place, doesn't give a hot damn whether they come in a box, a vase, or wrapped in a garbage bag, because she should just be happy with what she gets.

Of course, like many adverts purporting to appeal to men, it's really an admonishment to women to regard flowers in a box as a symbol of disdain, to heighten their expectations so that anything less than hand-delivered flowers in a damn vase communicates something negative about the recipient. Women don't have enough things telling them to feel shitty about themselves already; now flowers in a box from someone who loves you are to be taken as shorthand for "You suck, you're ugly, and you'll probably die alone."

Except for your fat, smelly cat.

It's the Seinfeldification of relationships insinuating itself into marketing, where the style and aesthetic and packaging of everything are of primary importance, and there's always a niggling detail that ruins everything. Sure, he sent me flowers, but they came in a fucking box!!!!11!!eleventy!

I don't think I've ever received flowers in a box in my life, btw, outside of a prom corsage; I had no idea this pressing concern was plaguing America. Probably because, y'know, it isn't. Just another created need and invented insecurity to sell crap we don't need.

This shit should be outlawed on the basis it undermines the pursuit of happiness.

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