The power of technology at this year’s Philadelphia International Flower Show 04/20/2012
by Natalie Yurkoski, PRSA Philly News Committee Member
Since 1829, the area’s most talented local florists, independent horticulturists, landscape architects, landscapers and environmentalist have been invited to put their creative abilities on display at the Philadelphia International Flower Show, produced annually by the Philadelphia Horticulture Society. Through the years, these displays have become larger than life. Take this year for example; the show’s Hawaiian theme showcased floral arrangements ranging from traditional centerpieces to three-story-high masterpieces representing the Hawaiian culture, as well as performances by professional hula dancers and Hawaiian musicians.
The Philadelphia International Flower Show is not only a staple among locals, but also throughout the country. In fact, travel writer Patricia Schultz even included it in her 2003 New York Times bestselling book 1,000 Places to see Before you Die. Therefore, it’s not surprising the Flower Show brings an influx of positive press and attention to Philadelphia, as well as business and recognition to the presenters. “Every year I hear from new clients–‘I saw you at the Philadelphia Flower Show and knew you would be the perfect florist for my event,’” a representative from Robertson’s Flowers said.
David and Robin Heller, owners of Flowers by David, a major exhibitor and award winner at the Flower Show since 1997, were amazed with the constant flow of visitors each and every night this year. “Since the beginning of time, humanity has been instinctively drawn to flowers; their use in ceremonial events and art can be dated back to some of the oldest civilizations,” David Heller said. “The Philadelphia Flower Show is yet another example of this connection.”
While traditional media and word-of-mouth promotions have continuously worked in publicizing the Flower Show, this year a number of exhibiters and the Philadelphia Horticulture Society also used social media to reach their target audience in a different way. The result was an interactive experience for everyone-via a smartphone! Attendees were able to fully immerse themselves in the horticultural experience unlike ever before.
First, when viewing the different vendor displays, people had the opportunity to scan their smartphones at one of the many “Like it” scanners, which linked up to individual’s Facebook pages. There were also a number of Twitter hashtags visitors could follow upon entering the show, as well as constant blog updates.
Visitors were also encouraged to participate in a public voting for the best floral arrangement – three designers were given a few minutes to present their work to everyone in attendance and then the public voted for their favorite via their smartphones. The winner was awarded a trophy within minutes of the voting.
A Flower Show mobile application was developed this year. The application allowed those in attendance immediate access to up-to-date information, and alerted them to various activities and performances.
The presenting designers spend countless hours preparing and laboring over their intricate displays, hoping to captivate audiences. Now social media and smartphone technology provide new outlets for exhibitors to draw crowds and connect immediately with potential customers.
The Philadelphia International Flower Show may be the nation’s oldest and largest indoor flower show, but the new interactive experience has certainly engaged the modern attendee.