Who Has 4+ Hours to Wait in Line for a Custom ‘Valentino’ Bouquet?

Hint: Probably Way More People Than You Think!

On a very random Friday walk in SoHo, I spotted a green flower cart on the corner of Mercer and Prince Streets. A few steps and many eyerolls later, I spotted a line that extended beyond my sight. New Yorkers wearing head-to-toe vintage outfits, oversized sweaters, neon dresses, platform heels, holding shopping bags and a cup of coffee were all waiting in line that day to fill their other hands with flowers. Free flowers – wrapped in pink Valentino paper. Based on the short interviews I made during my long hours waiting in line, the crowd was formed primarily as a result of the one TikTok video that revealed the brand’s weekend takeover of SoHo for the launch of their new Rendez-Vous collection literally the night before.

When I joined the line, it was 2:15 PM. By the time they announced they were done for the day, I had waited in line for 3 hours and 45 minutes. That is 225 minutes that could have been spent more productively had I chose literally any other activity. But there is an opportunity cost for every decision in life, and I would still stand in that line if I had to choose again. First and foremost, my favorite activity in New York City is people-watching (shout-out to my journalism minor), and needless to say this was a streetstyle runway. I easily made new friends as we bonded over not being able to believe how so many people were willing to wait for so long. Then again, we were part of the mystery.

For those who didn’t have as much patience, Valentino staged a retro pink taxi on the corner of Crosby and Spring Streets. A professional photographer was shooting a relatively smaller crowd of excited New Yorkers who were then lining up to receive their printed and framed photos.

Of course, there was more: A sketch artist was illustrating fashion sketches inside the boutique, and baristas were preparing hot chocolate with fun toppings on a cart located conveniently in front of the store. There was a separate line for each offering, and most people were barely aware of what they were waiting in line for. That is strong marketing: People joining a line that goes back a few blocks, without even knowing what it is for. Common sense may encourage people to think that there is something special since so many people are waiting in line, but a strong marketing campaign (a.k.a. Instagram-friendly pink bouquets and coffee cups featuring the brand’s logo) turn those thoughts into actions. And that explains the ever-extending line. Seriously, when the representatives said the event was done for the day, not a single person has bothered to move, and some kept joining…

Soon, it was time to accept that they were done for the day, but I learned that the marketing campaign would last for two more days. So, I did what any reasonable person who waited in line for 225 minutes and didn’t get the flowers would do: I joined the same line the next day. Different people, same vibes, and somehow an even longer line. I couldn’t help but wonder how these multitaskers known for running instead of walking (because they always have so much to do and never have enough time) were committed to this line just for flowers. I guess this is where the power of social media enters the conversation. This interactive campaign isn’t groundbreaking, but it is efficient. You don’t have to be a customer to be an advocate for the brand. I am unlikely to forget about this launch anytime soon, and I doubt anyone who waited in that line would disagree. Apparently, a little rendezvous goes a long way!

Until next time!

xx

Yaprak

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