Breathing Easy Indoors

Refrigerators are stocked with blueberries these days partly because organizations like the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council promoted the fact over the last several years that they’re abundant with antioxidants. Consumers, obviously, bought into the message.

Now, Costa Farms is in the early stages of a similar marketing campaign in O2 For You: Plants With A Purpose, a program that’s designed to spread awareness of the dangers of indoor air pollution and educate about the health benefits of having plants in the home and at work.

“We want to make plants the new blueberries,” says Marta Maria Garcia, marketing manager at Costa. “Many people are not aware of all the pollutants that exist in the indoor air environment – the glue used on rugs, the tint used in photocopying in the office. We should be concerned equally about the indoor environment as we are the outdoors.”

Considering the information Costa gathered to build the O2 For You campaign, indoor air pollution should indeed be a concern. The National Safety Council, for starters, says that roughly 90 percent of a person’s time is spent indoors. A recent EPA study found that indoor air pollution can be two to five times higher – sometimes even worse – than the pollution outdoors. And the World Health Organization reports that 1.5 million people die each year because of the ill effects of indoor air pollution.

Those statistics were eye openers for Garcia and Charlie Acevedo, vice president of sales and marketing at Costa. The statistics were also probable cause for a plant marketing campaign like O2 For You.

“Those [findings] are some of the tidbits we want to take and communicate,” Acevedo says. “The fact that plants remove toxins – nicotine, benzene, tobacco smoke, the chemicals found in paint – is worth noting.”  

Kicking Off O2

Until 18 months ago, Costa Farms’ marketing department was in the development stages. Acevedo was still relatively new to the industry, at the time, after doing sales and marketing for Anheuser-Busch and managing his own alcoholic beverage distributorship. Garcia, meanwhile, was still working for Bacardi planning its marketing initiatives in Miami and Puerto Rico.

But today, Acevedo and Garcia are key contributors to Costa’s success in the South Florida area, and they’re moving full-speed ahead with the O2 For You message of better living through plants. The O2 For You campaign actually launched May 6 in New York, and Costa teamed a group of volunteers from Earth Day New York and Garden Media Group there to deliver plants as gifts to mothers of newborn babies.

The group delivered plants to mothers at Bellevue Hospital Center and NYU Langone Medical Center, and a tour of more hospitals will follow this summer in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago and Miami.

“If you’re going to start somewhere, you might as well start with health experts because they’re going to support this message,” says Garcia, who’s also promoting the message of placing houseplants every 100 square feet through O2 For You to create purer indoor environments. “We want to create healing centers and have lots of plants in those areas so you can really notice the difference when you walk into a room.”

O2 For You is still in the grassroots stages, but Garcia plans to build credibility by continuing to visit mothers in hospitals and delivering “clean air” to their babies. Costa doesn’t have a huge budget for O2 For You, either, but it intends to spread its message through public relations, YouTube videos and, at some point, a standalone Web site devoted to O2 For You. For now, Costa is offering more information online at www.costafarms.com.

“From experience, it’s sometimes better for the consumer to discover your message on their own,” Garcia says. “We want people to be the ambassadors of spreading the message to their friends. We don’t want to be in their face.”

Eventually, Costa would like to involve its own customers, too. Several of Costa’s customers have expressed interest in O2 For You for next year’s Earth Day. Costa is considering the development of plant sleeves with the O2 For You logo to promote the message at retail, Garcia says, and it would like to open the program up to other growers.

“We’re leading the charge, but we’re not making this exclusive to Costa,” she says. “We really want this to be an industry initiative and for everybody to get on board. Hopefully, we can keep promoting the message.”

But in the short term, Costa simply wants to educate consumers.

“If we can get consumers to understand the message that plants clean the air you breathe, then we’ve accomplished the first part of our goal,” Acevedo says. “The actual purchase behavior will follow.”

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Breathing Easy Indoors

More From Marketing...
PP&L CAST 2015 intros

April 22, 2015

6 Breeding Companies Serve Up New Varieties At Pacific Plug & Liner

Pacific Plug & Liner’s theme this year, Labyrinth, a conservatory of the world’s most captivating plants, was perfectly topped off (pun intended) with fascinators for the women and newsboy caps for the men. The PP&L team dressed their part to act out the gothic “conservatory of the world’s most captivating plants.” Truly, the displays looked like they practically popped out of a catalog, and the costumes were a nice touch. Retailers take heed, the fully merchandised displays at Pacific Plug & Liner are worthy of emulating. We’ll let the pictures tell the story of all the fabulous variety introductions presented at  Pacific Plug & Liner’s 2015 California Spring Trials, where Cultivaris, Cohen Nurseries, Histil Nurseries, Jaldety Nurseries, Southern Living/Sunset Collection and Pacific Plug & Liner all highlighted their 2016 introductions.  

Read More
Speedling 2015 CAST intros

April 22, 2015

Speedling Inc. Presents New Varieties From ABZ Seeds, Hem Genetics, Thompson & Morgan, Vista Farms & PSI

You name it, we saw it at Speedling's California Spring Trials location in San Juan Bautista, where five companies showed off their new introductions for 2016.

Read More
PittMoss on Shark Tank

April 22, 2015

PittMoss Wins On Shark Tank

Mont Handley, president and CEO of PittMoss, appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank on April 17 to try to get the “sharks” to invest in his peat moss alternative. Three investors from the TV show contributed $600,000 to PittMoss for a 35 percent stake in the company. Check out this clip from ABC’s website in which Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec discuss getting on board with the product. PittMoss is an alternative to sphagnum peat moss, made up of a mix of proprietary additives and recycled paper rescued from landfill space. Handley founded the Pittsburgh-based company in 1994. What started as a small experiment grew into a full-fledged business with the help of funding provided by an EPA SBIR grant and Pittsburgh’s Idea Foundry. Today, PittMoss is available to commercial greenhouses and nurseries from Michigan to Maine to North Carolina, with plans to grow. To learn more, visit PittMoss’ website, or check it […]

Read More
Latest Stories

April 15, 2015

Redesigned SunPatiens Website Offers New Tools For Saka…

Sakata Seed America's new and improved SunPatiens website launched March 1, 2015 and provides growing information, marketing support, product location and many more tools to encourage consumer success with SunPatiens.

Read More
Keenland

April 13, 2015

Proven Winners Partners With Award-Winning Designer Jon…

Proven Winners will partner with award-winning garden designer, author and fine living expert Jon Carloftis on a new series of four LIFE + STYLE events in 2015. In true Carloftis style, food and spirits will be paired with inspiring architecture and innovative garden designs featuring Proven Winners plants.

Read More

April 13, 2015

New Consumer Website Makes Buying Roses Easier

A new website has been created as a resource tool for gardeners who are looking for a rose that fits their needs. This website is 100% consumer focused and will inspire confidence and promote rose gardening to the next generation of gardeners. Visitors will also find links to connect on social networks, such as Facebook and Pinterest. The website promotes roses, not specific brands, and that is what makes it unique.

Read More
Rose rosette on Knockout rose, April 2012. Photo credit: Alan Windham, University of Tennessee

March 25, 2015

$58 Million In APHIS Farm Bill Funding Will Support Hor…

Nearly $58 million as been allocated by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to support the industry's Plant Pest and Disease Management and Disaster Prevention Program, under Farm Bill Section 10007. The program will support mitigation efforts for specialty crops, including providing research and other funding to address plant pest and disease priorities for the specialty crop industry, including floriculture and nursery crops.

Read More
National Floriculture Forum 2015 029

March 18, 2015

2015 National Floriculture Forum Focuses On Marketing I…

The 2015 National Floriculture Forum, held March 6 to 7 in Minneapolis, Minn., zeroed in on the topic of marketing in horticulture and included visits to Gertens Greenhouses and Garden Center, Bailey Nurseries, Bachman’s Floral, Home and Garden and Tangletown Gardens. The annual meeting allows greenhouse and floriculture faculty, graduate students and industry partners to meet and share updates on current research, issues and initiatives.

Read More

February 18, 2015

Range Of Nursery Inspections To Protect Patented Plants…

Plant patents are under protection, and breeders are fighting for their rights to keep growers from illegally propagating protected varieties. It's something you don't want to take a chance on, because the risk is far higher than the reward. More than 300 inspections were carried out last year from New York to British Columbia and from Ontario to Florida to protect plant patents, Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) and branded programs.

Read More

February 4, 2015

TPIE 2015: An Electrified Industry Vibe Boosts Cool New…

The general feeling at the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association's 2015 Tropical Industry Exhibition (TPIE) was upbeat and positive. Attendees were inspired by exciting new products and varieties, as well as creative new displays and innovative ideas and left energized for the season ahead.

Read More
Costa Farms Website

January 21, 2015

Costa Farms’ Launches New Interactive Website

Costa Farms is making efforts to educate consumers while pushing horticultural digital marketing forward with the re-design of its website. The new website features a fresh design and improved navigation, as well as a plant finder that gives gardeners easy access to plant information.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Growers Are Successfully Marketing The Benefits Of Pla…

Growers who are already marketing plant benefits and gardening as a lifestyle say they think this could be the best angle for the floriculture industry to promote our products.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Plants Love You Campaign Raises Plant Benefits To Foref…

Plants make us feel good. It’s a no-brainer, backed by numerous studies, but there’s more to the story. And it’s one the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) hopes its Plants Love You campaign will tell in such a way that it will inspire people to make plants a part of their life, and on a bigger scale. COHA is an alliance between the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA), the Fédération Interdisciplinaire De L’Horticulture Ornementqale Du Québec (FIHOQ) and Flowers Canada Growers (FCG). Inspiration for The Plants Love You campaign came from COHA’s research, which revealed that 96 percent of consumers surveyed have a favorable attitude toward plants. When COHA delved deeper into the numbers, one thing stood out loud and clear. “It quickly became apparent that while consumers like plants because they are pretty and make them feel good, few understood the environmental and health benefits plants offer.” says Frank […]

Read More

December 9, 2014

New Website For PanAmerican Seed

PanAmerican Seed's new website is mobile-friendly and has a fresh look and enhanced navigation.

Read More
What’s a pumpulent? It’s a pumpkin planted with succulents, and it’s also one of the ways Altum’s is catching customers’ attention with new products and modern marketing.

December 1, 2014

9 Digital Marketing Resolutions For 2015

Whatever your experience with digital marketing, here’s some advice for keeping your business progressing into the new year.

Read More

November 25, 2014

Conley’s Launches New Website

Conley’s Manufacturing and Sales recently launched its newly designed website, which was redesigned to create a user-friendly digital environment for customers to explore Conley's products.

Read More

November 17, 2014

Canada’s Plants Love You Campaign Educates Consum…

In a cooperative effort to promote the benefits of plants to consumers, the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) recently launched its Plants Love You campaign to make consumers more aware of the health, environmental and economic benefits of plants.

Read More
Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum™ Petunia from Proven Winners

November 11, 2014

Plantbid Offers New Tool For Growers, Plant Buyers

Plantbid is touted as a revolutionary new tool that allows plant buyers to purchase their whole plant list at one time, from growers who provide their complete availability online. According to the company, this new offering could change the way growers and landscapers do business.

Read More
Dahlia Dahlinova Temptation Lavender from Dummen Fides Oro

November 10, 2014

Bas Pellenaars Takes On New Role As Brand Manager For D…

Dümmen group announces the transition of Bas Pellenaars from area manager to brand manager.

Read More

October 28, 2014

Zombie Adventures Are Back: GGS Releases Premiere Of Ne…

What's good for plants, but bad for zombies? GGS structures. The company released a new promotional video to get growers in the spirit of Halloween. GGS Structures ran a series of zombie movies last year, and this year, something new was released October 24.

Read More
Suzanne McKee

October 27, 2014

Use Your Data To Make Smarter Marketing Decisions

Learn which marketing metrics are important to your business, measure successes and learn where changes are needed.

Read More