Whether you’re a committed couple, a casual couplet or a satisfied singleton, it’s hard not to fall in love with the hype that surrounds Valentine’s Day every year. January is over, the days are getting lighter and there’s a wider range of deluxe chocolates to choose from – but what does it mean for marketing?
Last year, Mintel predicted that Brits would shell out a staggering £650 million on gifts, meals and cards for the holiday, with £73 million expected to go on confectionery alone – 16% more than 2017. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that big brands are stepping up their game over the sensual season.
Check out our pick of the best Valentine’s Day marketing campaigns below.
Working together with Campaign to End Loneliness and The Salvation Army, Red Letter Days have launched their compassionate campaign to help combat loneliness in the centre of London. Providing a touching twist on the classic red post boxes, the gift experience pioneers have set up letterboxes across the city, while encouraging people to write and send a letter to someone who would otherwise be alone this February 14th.
The campaign launched in the capital after figures showed one fifth of the UK’s population – approximately nine million people – are often or always lonely. Red Letter Days’ Alison Vickery said: “For many people, Valentine’s Day is a fun and joyful occasion centring on love, affection and kindness.
“But for others, Valentine’s Day can exacerbate feelings of isolation and loneliness. This is why we’re encouraging members of the public to write a heartwarming message to a complete stranger this year, to help make Valentine’s Day an uplifting occasion for all.”
Each letter will be vetted before they’re passed on to various homeless shelters, old people’s homes and hospitals across the city. Little red letterboxes are also being set up in several other cities to spread the love, including Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham.
Snickers are taking a different approach to Valentine’s Day marketing than other big brands, opting to launch their campaign the day after on February 15th – urging Twitter users to ‘smooth over’ their ‘nomance’ mistakes following the main day. To promote their new line of Creamy Snickers bars, the TV, print, digital and social media efforts offer a tasty twist to the candy promotions that focus on love and gift-giving.
On February 15th, chocolate fans can win free Creamy Snickers-infused flower bouquets by tweeting #SmoothItOver and the chocolate emoji to the Snickers Twitter account, to rectify their romantic mistakes. A twist on the classic “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” campaign created by BBDO, Snickers is reminding partners that they’re also not smooth when they try to be.
Joining in with the ever popular trend of perpetuating pettiness, Hemsley Conservation Centre (HCC) in Kent is running a flippant campaign that will help people feel better about their failed relationships this Valentine’s. What’s the best way to feel better after a painful break-up? Name a cockroach after your ex, of course.
For just £1.50, avenging partners can bestow their ex’s first name on an unsuspecting cockroach via the HCC website, complete with a naming certificate.
Equating exes to insects is an idea that seems to have really taken off this year, with a zoo in Texas in the US also encouraging visitors to name cockroaches in an event they’re calling ‘Quit Bugging Me’. In a macabre (or incredibly satisfying, depending on your perspective) turn, keepers at El Paso Zoo will feed the creepy crawlies to hungry meerkats while streaming the event live on Facebook.
Sydney Zoo in Australia has gone even further, offering visitors the chance to name a highly venomous brown snake after an ex-lover in an exclusive competition. Entrants must explain what their ex did to deserve a snake being named after them in return for a $1 donation. These campaigns have been overwhelmingly positively received so far, with people seemingly sick of the lovey dovey commercialism surrounding the holiday.
M&S are known for their fancy full three-course feasts during the festive season, but they’re offering something a little (or big) different this Valentine’s Day. While plenty of partners will be stating that size doesn’t really matter this February, the major retailer’s Love Sausage is ideal for those who want to get stuffed.
The heart-shaped sausage for two is lightly truffled and wrapped in bacon, with M&S expecting to sell over 15,000 of the bulky bangers before Valentine’s Day. But it’s not just M&S that are bringing their meat to the table, with Morrison’s launching a range of Sweetheart Steaks just in time for the most romantic day of the year. Because nothing says “I love you” and “I’m definitely not overcompensating” like shaped slabs of flesh.
Although we’re all about sharing the love this Valentine’s, there’s no denying that Poundland missed the mark with their Gift of Nothing campaign. While the novelty product was created with the classic “I don’t want anything for Valentine’s Day” line in mind, environmental groups and disgruntled shoppers have labelled the offering an unnecessary waste of plastic.
Campaigner Sian Sutherland of A Plastic Planet said: “This product is designed to go straight into the bin, but will last for 500 years. It is a symbol of everything that is wrong with our view of the world.” Poundland defended their product, with a spokesperson saying “Our customers love it, as do loads of others online. They all know it’s a bit of fun and we understand that’s still allowed in moderation.” Apparently no – it’s not.
If you’d like to make the most of the festive season and create a PPC or SEO strategy that will steal hearts this Valentine’s, get in touch with us today.