Planted PR: The brands that turned the Chelsea Flower Show into a marketing opportunity
The Chelsea Flower Show is not an obvious marketing platform. However a number of brands have headed back to nature this week to activate their own gardens with a message for consumers.
Alongside the Garage Garden (Google it), one of the most maverick creations of this year's show is the LG Smart Garden. The tech brand has partnered with landscape architect Hay Joung Hwang to take the smart home concept out of doors, with the hope of making gardeners' lives better through innovation.
The garden features an LG Signature Oled TV, Scandinavian and Oriental planting arrangements and an LG G5 modular smartphone. The latter can be used to control the lighting and irrigation in the garden for the duration of the show, to ensure the plants received sufficient water and nutrients. In true 'smart garden' fashion, the installation can be controlled remotely via the We Mo app.
Harrods, a brand slightly more at home in the Chelsea landscape, teamed up with housewives favourite Diarmuid Gavin to create its British Eccentrics Garden. The two were inspired by the works of English cartoonist and illustrator William Heath Robinson, and this is reflected in the garden's 'performance', which takes place every 15 minutes.
Deborah Bee, director of creative marketing at Harrods, explained the company's interest in the horticultural event was came down to history. “The Chelsea Flower Show is one of the first big events on the British summer social calendar, an amazing event that many Londoners visit faithfully year after year, and we feel a real synergy between the RHS and Harrods," she said.
"The RHS launched its first garden in 1862 in Kensington, Harrods moved from Southwark to the Brompton Road in 1851, and both institutions have stood the test of time, appreciated over the years for their solid Britishness.”
Another British brand jumping on the grassy bandwagon is Welcome to Yorkshire. The tourist board's creation goes by the not-so-humble name of God's Own Country and was inspired by the medieval Great East stained glass window at York Minster, which is nearing the end of a 10-year restoration.
The garden features a panel of stained glass made using the same methods employed in 1405, yet this is juxtaposed with cutting edge construction techniques elsewhere.
Perhaps the brand most suited for this unusual form of marketing is French beauty brand L'Occitane, which has created a display that mirrors the environment of its home in Haute Provence. Scent is a key point of focus in this garden, and lavender, a stone bridge and an actual running stream all feature.
In comparison to last year's Nordic-heavy activation, Viking Cruises this year drew its inspiration from the East with the Mekong Garden. The installation is said to reflect the silk-weaving regions surrounding the Mekong river and comprises a lounger styled on a traditional fishing boat and floating beds laden with fruit and vegetables such as spinach, kale, aubergine, gourds and okra.
In case this wasn't oriental enough, the travel brand hired a group of hot women in traditional dress to pose with celebrities in the garden.