Love, flowers, chocolate, blah blah blah …
Where are the marketing results ?!
Okay, probably not what your Valentine’s Day is all about. But if you’re a marketer, you might be interested in connecting your loved ones with your marketing. But how?
Well, these companies have come up with some creative ways to capitalize on the warmth and fuzziness (or unadulterated anger and crushing loneliness … whatever) that Valentine’s Day instills in people.
If there’s no marketing campaign planned for the 14th, some of these may inspire you to take part in a last-minute Valentine’s Day promotion.
9 Effective Valentine’s Day Marketing Campaigns
1. Crook & Marker’s “OnlyCans” website
In 2020, many online threads and message boards discussed the controversial “OnlyFans” website. This platform invites users to purchase videos or pictures from people or influencers with profiles on the website.
Crook & Marker looks ahead to the OnlyFans controversy with relatively PG marketing content.
The cheeky vacation campaign to raise funds for Muddy Paws Rescue began with the launch of a co-branded website called OnlyCans.dog.
When you visit the “OnlyCans” website, you will immediately see videos and pictures of shirtless men holding cute puppies. You can also browse the profiles or any male-puppy duo.
On each profile page, you can then select a pre-recorded video message or photo of it and share it with a friend or loved one.
For every visitor who shares a video or photo message, Crook and Marker commit to donate $ 1. In addition to having fun shirtless profiles, videos, and photo messages, the site also has subtle ads for Crook and Marker products – as seen in the GIF above.
This is a great example of a co-marketing campaign that uses nervousness and current trends to create a campaign that will grab your attention and make you laugh. Although there is only subtle mention of Crook and Marker on the site, users know that they created them and that the campaign is for a good cause.
While this campaign isn’t specifically about marketing a brand, it’s fun and unique. This may allow customers to remember Crook & Marker the next time they look for a Spiked Seltzer product.
2. Custom bottle of ranch dressing
Nothing says Valentine’s Day like giving someone a bottle of ranch dressing?
While flower companies and B2C brands highlighted the romantic gifts partners could give each other in 2021, Hidden Valley hilariously pursued that strategy by offering audiences bespoke bottles of ranch salad dressing for Valentine’s Day.
While this may seem like an odd gift to some, Hidden Valley knows they have fans who just love to top everything they eat with ranch dressing. For that audience, this gift is fun, personalized, and potentially useful.
“I appreciate that Ranch leans into the quirky and confident following of their product. It’s a consumer brand that doesn’t try too hard,” said Connor Cirillo, conversational marketing manager, HubSpot. “I can’t wait to order something for my Valentine’s Day. And it’s not just me,” admits Cirillo, who drew our attention to the campaign.
3. Deliveroos “Third-Wheel Kevin”
Many people have identified themselves as the “third wheel” or the only person hanging out with one or more couples. And many of these people know how awkward or uncomfortable a couple’s vacation like Valentine’s Day can be.
Because of this, Deliveroo’s Valentine’s Day 2020 ad told the story of a third bike named Kevin, rather than the story of a romantic couple.
The commercial, shot like a documentary, follows the life of Kevin – an incredibly single man who is always surrounded by couples. As the ad goes on, it addresses the strange, uncomfortable, and totally untrue thoughts that individuals may think wrongly about themselves.
The narrator, who appears throughout the commercial, explains, “Being single doesn’t just affect Kevin when he’s at home. Many life-affirming activities are impossible on your own. It can be stressful being lonely. Him is just a hollow shell. “
While the narrator dramatically describes the minor inconveniences of a single in a comedic and lighthearted way, Kevin has seen him practice boring one-person sports and pose on a two-person photo booth. While Kevin does these daily activities alone, the narrator and his partner are also shown playing team sports together and enjoying each other’s company
After explaining how boring individual life is, the narrator adds, “Deliveroo can help you bring some love to the third wheel in your life.”
If you’re an individual, the commercial is pretty funny because it reminds you of all the weird, overdramatic comments that fewer individuals make. When you’re not single, think about the times you were single and think about the same uncomfortable thoughts.
Since the audience may report or laugh at the sarcasm of this ad, it may be more memorable to them. Because of this, the next time they order a Valentine’s Day meal for themselves or friends with a “third gasp”, they might think of Deliveroo.
4. Twitter’s offline campaign
Believe it or not, one of Twitter’s great Valentine’s Day campaigns actually didn’t launch online.
In 2020, Twitter launched Valentine’s Day billboards showing only users’ incredibly sarcastic tweets about love and dating.
For example, in the picture below, one tweet said, “Yo, I’m really embarrassed. Good luck to anyone who wants to date me,” while in another, “My husband said we had too much cheese in the fridge, so now I do have to find a new husband. “
In this fun campaign, Twitter highlights the tweets of real users who used the platform to share their thoughts on Valentine’s Day. While other companies are dedicated to promoting ideal images of love and relationships, Twitter promotes the relatable content of its actual users.
“Not only does the campaign feel authentic, but it also reminds you that Twitter is a place where you can freely share your thoughts without judgment – even if they’re not always pretty,” said Pam Bump, HubSpot’s blog, Audience Growth Manager.
5. 1-800 Flowers Cupid Advertisement
In 2019, 1-800 Flowers launched a commercial where Cupid shared his complaints about how the bouquet company made him jobless.
In the ad, in which a shirtless Cupid in his costume is sitting in front of telephones that are no longer ringing, Cupid yells: “I’ve been unemployed for 1-800 flowers!” He adds: “People no longer need Cupid to express their love. Now they only need 1-800 flowers.”
While Cupid continues to complain about 1-800 Flowers’ high quality bouquet products, the video shows screenshots of the brand’s website and all of the pretty flowers it has to offer.
Because you see Cupid as an angry, disgruntled adult man, the ad immediately catches your attention. While Cupid complains that his competition outperforms him, he also points out that 1-800 Flowers is also better than competitors who also sell romantic products because they allow for quick, painless, scheduled delivery.
This ad is a great example of how a brand can playfully use its competition and tell a fictional story that highlights what makes their product stand out.
6. Frankie & Benny’s Instagram post “Lady & the Tramp”
In 2019, the Italian restaurant chain Frankie & Benny’s referred to romantic scenes from notable films such as “Lady and the Tramp”.
In a cute Instagram post, two real dogs are seen on a classy date with Frankie & Benny with the same strand of pasta in their mouth. This mimicked a class scene from Lady and the Tramp in which two dogs kiss after accidentally eating the same strand of pasta.
The carousel entry then highlights current photos from legendary films such as “When Harry Met Sally”. The post’s heading encourages the Instagram audience to guess which movies are being referenced.
While the real dog’s imitation of Lady and Tramp caught the attention of animal lovers on Instagram, the captions and other photos encourage audiences to interact with the brand by guessing which movies are referenced.
This is both a fun way to grow brand awareness and using the vacation to get involved on social media.
7. Panera’s engagement offer
In 2018, Panera tweeted that customers who got engaged in one of their restaurants on Valentine’s Day could win free wedding catering from the chain.
The tweet included a short and simple video announcing the promotion and cheering two Panera employees as if they were witnessing a proposal.
Love is in the air. Get engaged in a Panera this Valentine’s Day and we may take care of your wedding for free. #PaneraProposalSweeps https://t.co/mpL5VbjSOd pic.twitter.com/VPRzu0QLNd
– Panera Bread (@panerabread) February 9, 2018
This is a quick and cute way to use vacation and social media to drive pedestrian traffic into a physical store. While Panera is a huge company, this campaign strategy is so simple that smaller businesses could do something similar with a tweet, a short video, and an offer that promotes pedestrian traffic.
8. Facebook Messenger Heart Feature
Just before Valentine’s Day in 2018, Facebook Messenger’s Twitter announced that if you announced that you were “in a relationship” with a friend, solemn hearts would rain on your Messenger thread with that person.
It’s not official until it’s #FacebookOfficial. Update your relationship status on Facebook and shower bae with ❤️❤️❤️on Messenger. Customize your chat emoji, color, and more too! pic.twitter.com/P6oy35fHmp
– Messenger (@messenger), February 13, 2018
While a small business may not be able to add a major feature to their product just because of a holiday, this is a good example of how to do something related to your product, such as: B. Your website, temporarily thematize around a holiday.
Another interesting thing about this campaign is that Facebook is using a competing social platform, Twitter, to advertise this new feature. This easily undermines Twitter, which enables direct messaging as well, but with less interactive features.
9. “Adults Meal” – Burger King
While Burger King’s “Adults Meal” campaign is one of the oldest on this list, it’s still a classic that marketers are talking about today.
Burger King has always been no stranger to making fun of its biggest competitor, McDonalds. This was no different on Valentine’s Day 2017 when they offered an “Adult Meal” alternative with a similar box shape to McDonalds’ kid’s meal.
In the food ad, Burger King explains that kids’ meals are for kids. But on Valentine’s Day, Burger King customers can purchase an adult meal with an “adult toy”.
This campaign is pretty naughty. However, the nervous mission and subtle comments on its competitor’s product make it memorable and fun.
Honorable Mention: Match.com’s “Match Made in Hell” campaign.
Technically, this campaign wasn’t created specifically for Valentine’s Day. However, many of our marketers felt that it contained the perfect elements of a great Valentine’s Day campaign. For this reason, we would not be surprised if there is a lot of circulation in February.
In the commercial, directed by actor Ryan Reynolds, Satan is sitting in hell with Match’s app when he sees him match a woman named 2020. When he meets her on earth, he nervously says: “Hello 2-0-2-0.” “She replies:” Please call me 2020 “and pronounces it like the year.
As the commercial progresses, the character of 2020 seems to epitomize everything that happened in 2020.
For example, which launched in December, shows Satan and 2020 wreaking havoc, stealing toilet paper from shelves, having a picnic inn on empty stadiums, and finally posing for a selfie in front of a dumpster fire.
The couple cavort to the well-known sounds of Taylor Swift’s hit “Love Story”. That also triggers a sense of rom-com nostalgia for millennials.
On the same day that ad was posted, Match and Reynolds shared another commercial in which the couple explained how they met while counseling the couple.
In this video, Satan explains how he found 2020 at Match:
“I first used the custom search filter” Match “. I filtered out joy, happiness, toilet paper and sanity,” says Satan in the following video:
While this wasn’t published in February, it was a very clever example of newsjacking that many of our marketers found delightful when asked to share their favorite Valentine’s Day campaigns.
While 2020 was a tough year for many, Match and Reynolds found a tasteful way to create content that audiences can relate to. At the same time, they were still telling an epic, fun love story with a pleasant, entertaining tone. Despite discussing a really terrible year, they did so in what felt like escape to the viewer.
Valentine’s Day take-away campaign
When creating and launching Valentine’s Day campaigns, keep these strategies in mind that many of the brands mentioned above have used:
- Get your audience noticed: As with any holiday, marketers around the world are producing content around the globe. In order to keep up with this crowded Valentine’s Day advertising landscape, you need to grab and hold your viewer’s attention with entertaining elements or valuable information.
- Be assignable: At this time of year, many people are inundated with high-priced Valentine’s Day ads that don’t offer them any useful information or value. Even if you want to tell a mushy love story with your content, make sure it still feels relatable or authentic. To do this, you can use tactics like telling a story that your audience is referring to or user-generated content from your followers – as is the case with Twitter.
- Test different platforms: While some companies on this list used Instagram, others advocated physical campaign strategies like specialty products or the use of billboards.
Editor’s note: This blog post was originally published in February 2013, but was updated on January 30, 2020 for completeness.