It seems coronavirus is the one thing on everyone's minds right now, - well, that, and how much food and cleaning supplies we can get our hands on. But, spare a thought for the flower suppliers around the world, who are left with an excess of products at a time where no one is able to leave their house and pick up a freshly-picked bouquet. These cheerful bursts of colour are now facing a fate of being shredded and turned into little more than rubbish.
One particular region that is known for its flowers is Holland. Their blossoming displays attract thousands of visitors globally and Holland has a whopping 44% share in the worldwide trade in flowers and flower products. This year, though, the grounding of planes and the slowing down of supply chains caused by the coronavirus pandemic means that local floriculturalists are finding a new way to spread a bit of joy. The Flower Council of Holland has been working with international agency 180 Kingsday, to send the world a message of hope throughout these turbulent times while making use of the excess floriculture.
The project uses 20,000 flowers to create the message ‘Let Hope Bloom’ in a kaleidoscope of colours, from pinks, reds and yellows in the optimism of sharing the message of joy and comfort. The campaign will run in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and the Netherlands and globally, people are encouraged to share this message of hope along with the hashtag #lethopebloom.
Marloes van de Berg, Head of Production at 180 Kingsday and Bram de Rooij, Creative Director gave us an insight into what went into this particular project.
LBB> Flowers are such a huge part of the Dutch economy and are sold worldwide. How has this affected business?
Bram> The Dutch flower industry is made up of thousands of small family-run businesses. Their flowers are grown to bloom right before Mother’s Day, Easter and the start of the big seasons. Now, most of their harvest is going to waste. For small businesses, this is their worst nightmare, with roughly 70% of their produce being lost. And this is not just flowers, it’s house and garden plants as well, although the impact there is a bit smaller. Most plants simply last longer.
LBB> What was the creative inspiration for this piece?
Bram> If you’ve ever flown over Holland during this time of year, you’ve seen the vast colourful flower fields. At the start of this crisis, these family-run businesses had to throw away all the unsold flowers. They were working on their own initiatives and giving flowers away to healthcare workers and the most vulnerable in society, but still due to the amount grown, many flowers sadly had to be destroyed. Some farmers were also using the unsold flowers to write messages of their own. For example, Buy Flowers Not Toilet Paper.
These big mosaics always remind me of those SOS signs that people write on the beach or on rooftops - a message visible to the rest of the world, traditionally in times of crisis. The flower growers have these beautiful, vibrant flowers at their disposal. Alone, they’re beautiful, but brought together, with a powerful message they visually have such hope and optimism.
Let Hope Bloom from Ami on Vimeo.
LBB> How were you able to create this in line with the social distancing rules?
Marloes> We’re used to being agile and turning projects around quickly. However, the circumstances were like nothing we had known before and we had to create a new production blueprint. This was shot at the start of the outbreak, and things were changing rapidly - we paid close attention to governmental guidelines and adjusted as needed. Our first priority was the safety of our staff and clients. We had a very small crew, shooting in the open air and at a scale which allowed everyone to keep an appropriate social distance. This was vital. We didn’t hire any cast or additional crew, and the flower growers were already
working on site. Things, of course, moved much slower than on a normal shoot, but that was also vital to adhere to regulations.
Bringing the project to life - while observing social distancing rules and safety precautions
LBB> This sends such a positive message of hope, do you hope it gets picked up internationally in that way?
Bram> It already is - I see the message being shared in languages I cannot decipher. It’s fantastic. The Flower Council and their local brands such as Funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk want to make the whole world a more beautiful place. That’s their reason for being, to bring beauty and nature into people’s homes. Now, of course, they’re not able to do that in the traditional sense, so we wanted to find a way for them to still be able to connect with people.
In the Netherlands, the response to this campaign has been incredible. People are buying more flowers for each other, to support the growers and lift everyone’s spirit during this challenging time. We hope the rest of the world can quickly do the same.
Bram and Marloes
LBB> The Dutch Flower Council is already a client you had a good relationship with. Where did this campaign begin for you as an agency? What was the situation you were trying to address?
Bram> We started working for the Flower Council in 2011 - they were actually Kinsgday’s very first client. Since then we have developed work for them for the main Dutch flower export markets; Germany, France and the UK. We’ve done a range of work such as In Case of Love at First Sight and Cupidrone
for Valentine’s Day and film-led campaigns like We Need More Flowers
and Thanks Plants
When Germany and France started their lockdowns, planes stopped flying and borders closed. We knew that this industry was going to get hard-hit. We called immediately and offered help. And then we ran as fast as we could to bring them ideas and to bring this idea to life. For the Flower Council doing nothing or moving too slowly was simply not an option.