Michelle Simakis
PHOTO BY KEN BLAZE

With all the on-demand options available through Netflix and other streaming services, I rarely watch live TV. As I’m writing this note, the Cleveland Cavaliers are playing the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, so I’ve been watching more than usual, and as a result, I’ve also seen a lot of commercials.

One from KeyBank about its “Financial Wellness Tool” caught my attention. (You can watch it here: bit.ly/2rRe8Bt) The commercial, which is both live action and animated, (a la the A-ha “Take On Me” music video), opens with a young woman dressed in a suit, and she’s just landed a new job and bought a new home.

“Look at you go,” the narrator exclaims. She smiles, tilts her chin up, and admires her new place.

In this first scene, there are not one, not two, but three beautiful, established houseplants in the background, framing her. They are illustrations, but they appear to be a full fiddle-leaf fig, a colorful Croton and a tall, slender Sansevieria.

The woman continues to look around her house. As she saves her money, her new purchases pop into the frame, like throw pillows, a bench, and yet another plant that looks like a rubber tree. “The new place is getting there one step at a time,” the narrator explains.

And it appears that the first step was filling it with houseplants. The commercial seemed to communicate that indoor tropicals are essential when personalizing your space.

Three things struck me. One, making her house truly feel like a home required houseplants, and that was a priority over decorative items and even furniture. Two, it was an example of what people in the industry have been saying for years: Consumers think of indoor plants, especially those in attractive containers, as part of their overall décor. Three, and most importantly, another industry is not so subtly promoting ours.

Michelle Simakis
msimakis@gie.net