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Flowers For Fathers Gaining Acceptance

June 18, 1988

DETROIT (AP) _ Marketing seeds planted by Florists’ Transworld Delivery Association during the last five years are beginning to bloom with an increasing number of men getting flowers for Father’s Day.

″It’s not that unusual these days to have people coming in the store to buy flowers for Father’s Day, whereas a couple of years ago I might have lifted an eyebrow if someone asked about flowers for dad,″ said John Adamo of Conner Park Florists in Detroit.

Over the past five years, flowers-by-wire orders for Father’s Day have more than doubled from about 25,200 to 55,200, said Henry Knitter, group director of corporate services for FTD, based at Southfield, Mich.

The association has spent approximately $100 million on advertising since 1983, 20 percent of that promoting the idea of giving flowers to men, Knitter said.

FTD says commercials featuring Merlin Olsen, a former pro football player turned actor, are part of the reason for the rise in popularity of flowers on Father’s Day. Olsen has been the FTD spokesman since 1983.

″He (Olsen) has a macho image, yet also comes across as a gentle giant,″ Knitter said.

″Flowers are just another alternative as dad gets a little older and it seems like he has everything,″ Adamo said.

Despite a gain in acceptance, many potential Father’s Day flower buyers still are concerned that they will hurt a man’s macho psyche by giving him flowers, florists said.

″We’re doing a lot of ‘manly’ looking designs, like red carnations,″ said Mary Griffin of Greenhaus Florists in Traverse City.

Red was the most popular floral color for dad, while orchids were the least suggested gift idea, florists said.

But despite the growing popularity of sending a daffodil or two to dad, Father’s Day has a long way to go before challenging Mother’s Day, florists said. Knitter said sales on Mother’s Day outnumber those on Fathers’s Day by a 16-to-1 margin.

″There’s absolutely no comparison,″ Knitter said. ″Mother’s Day is the biggest day of the year for florists.″

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