NetFlorist, South Africa's leading flower and gifting service founded 14 years ago in 1999, has added another arrow to its quiver with the launch of a daily news service called #haroldsnews.
Or has it?
The answer, given by a grinning Netflorist Managing Director, Ryan Bacher, is 'yes and no'. 'Yes, Netflorist is providing followers on Twitter and Facebook with daily news updates' but 'no, the service is more tongue-in-cheek, more social commentary than strict breaking news'.
He explained: "#haroldsnews is the result of a brief we put in to our marketing partner, Draftfcb Johannesburg. We wanted a campaign that would create associations with everyday occasions and give people reasons to buy from NetFlorist.
"The agency's solution was to continue to use Harold, who has featured in NetFlorist's advertising before, on radio but to also give him a more socially-relevant voice by taking him to Facebook and Twitter.
"The creative team of Chief Executive Creative Officer Brett Morris, creative director James Cloete, copywriters Candice Hellens, Este De Beer and Lee Goodall and art directors Moira-Gene Sephton and Murray Sparg, created his social media presence ... and are responsible for crafting his news posts – with a twist.
"Everything Harold tweets or posts is done so in the witty – and sometimes below-the-belt – tone the public has come to expect from the character. You can just imagine what he has to say about the Gupta wedding, the meat scandal, Reese Witherspoon's arrest and Gareth Cliff's school-boy crush. It is great fun."
The #haroldsnews campaign started on April 8 and will run indefinitely. The radio element, which includes a news show hosted by Harold during which he discusses some of the topics he is commenting on in social media, is being flighted mainly on 94.7, Highveld Stereo.
"As far as we are aware, no other floral brand has created a character and placed them in a social networking realm," said Morris. "The content of the tweets and posts is also quite unique: although products may be mentioned every now and then, they largely deal with newsworthy stories in Harold's irreverent style.
"Humour is the key, and we expect many consumers to subscribe to #haroldsnews in a bid to add some spice and alternative thinking to their day."