DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., Aug 17, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- FTD(R), a leading provider of floral and related products and services, will celebrate its 100-year anniversary on August 18, 2010. Founded in 1910 by 15 visionary florists who banded together in order to give customers the ability to send flowers nationwide, FTD has become one of the world's best known brands, with the Mercury Man logo displayed in over 40,000 floral shops worldwide.
"FTD began as an agreement between entrepreneurial florists and 100 years later our florists remain the life blood of our business," said Robert S. Apatoff, President of FTD Group, Inc. "Our founder, John Valentine, and the other original FTD members truly were visionaries in that they realized collective effort by florists could expand the floral industry as a whole. FTD has grown exponentially over the past 100 years and while the marketplace is vastly different, our core mission has not changed. Our mission is to help grow FTD and the retail floral industry, ensure the success of our member florists and, of course, make the world more beautiful with flowers."
To celebrate its centennial milestone, FTD has launched a 100 Years of FTD Web site at www.ftdi.com/100. The Website presents the company's story from its founding, and includes images, the history of the Mercury Man logo, and a video presentation detailing pivotal moments in FTD's rich history. The company is also issuing an assortment of Anniversary Awards to deserving florists including:
Additional information regarding the FTD Anniversary Awards is available at: http://www.ftdi.com/100/memberawards.htm.
FTD was founded in 1910 as the Florists' Telegraph Delivery Association (FTD), the country's first flowers-by-wire service. It was led by Valentine, a Colorado wholesale florist who recognized that in order for the floral industry to grow, customers had to be able to send flowers to each other nationwide, and florists had to work together to allow them to do it. By 1930, over 5,000 florists had become FTD members, and FTD's Mercury Man logo, which had debuted in 1912, was displayed in the members' shops.
Throughout the 1980s, FTD evolved into a full service business solution for florists. It launched many innovative sales, marketing and technology programs to help FTD member florists grow their businesses. In 1994, FTD created www.ftd.com as an additional way for consumers to shop for flowers. In 1999, the company combined www.ftd.com and its phone order business, 800-SEND-FTD, into one company called FTD.COM.
In August, 2008, FTD was acquired by United Online, Inc., and became a subsidiary of that company. Since that time, FTD has instituted significant new marketing efforts, including showcasing its famous FTD black and gold marks and iconic Mercury Man logo. The company also completed a major re-launch of the FTD.com Web site.
"Over the last 100 years, FTD has built its brand on innovation, customer service, and a passion for the flower business, all of which flow directly from the artisan florists who display the Mercury Man logo in their shops," said Apatoff. "These florists have helped make FTD and the Mercury Man the gold-standard in flowers over the past 100 years."
Over the years, many well-known celebrities have represented the FTD brand. In the 1950s, the decade in which FTD changed its name from Florists' Telegraph Delivery Association to Florists' Transworld Delivery, Inc., its roster of celebrity endorsers included Kim Novak, Elizabeth Taylor and Rosemary Clooney. In 1983, NFL Hall-of-Famer Merlin Olsen became the new FTD spokesperson, a position he held for the rest of the decade. Olsen appeared regularly in FTD television commercials and helped FTD launch one of its most successful product promotions, the Pick-Me-Up Bouquet(R). Through the next two decades, Olsen, who died earlier this year, continued to be an important member of the FTD family appearing at the Rose Parade and FTD conventions.
As befits a floral industry leader, FTD is also the longest-running commercial participant in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade. It entered its first award-winning float, themed after the company's popular "Say It With Flowers" slogan, in 1933. Currently, FTD is the Official Floral Sponsor of the Tournament of Roses.
FTD Group, Inc., through its operating subsidiaries including Florists' Transworld Delivery, Inc. and FTD.COM, Inc., is a leading provider of floral and related products and services to consumers and retail florists, as well as to other retail locations offering floral products, in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland. The business utilizes the highly recognized FTD and Interflora brands, both supported by the Mercury Man logo, which is displayed in over 40,000 floral shops worldwide. The consumer businesses operate primarily through the www.ftd.com Web site in the U.S. and Canada and the www.interflora.co.uk Web site in the U.K. and are complemented by the florist businesses which provide products and services to FTD's independent members. FTD Group, Inc. is a subsidiary of United Online, Inc. (Nasdaq: UNTD). For more information about United Online, please visit www.unitedonline.com.
Cautionary Information Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements about the company's proposed marketing initiatives and product offerings. Potential factors that could affect the company's ability to perform and consequently its business, financial condition and results of operations include the company's inability or failure to implement any or all planned marketing initiatives, to achieve benefits associated with the initiatives and services, technological issues, and other problems associated with the company's operations, systems and technologies, the occurrence of unanticipated events, as well as other factors described in United Online, Inc.'s annual and quarterly reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (http://www.sec.gov), including, without limitation, information under the captions "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and "Risk Factors."
United Online, Inc.
Erik Randerson, CFA
Copyright Business Wire 2010