It’s that time of the year, ladies and gentlemen! While half of the internet is hunting for ideas online-in between making dinner reservations and checking their bank balance-the other half is safely tucked behind their smartphones, sharing jokes and memes about the former.
It’s Valentine’s Day!
One of the biggies in the list of consumer festivities celebrated globally, to the mirth of businesses everywhere. Because love sells and sells a lot! While the number of people spending money on Valentine’s Day may have dipped ever so slightly, the target demographics that are spending this money has in fact multiplied, along with spending limits.
What this means: Both businesses and consumers are investing in V-day, and this includes creating the massive buzz online that starts weeks in advance. We’re not sure if the patron saint St Valentine would approve, but the day has become a show of brands flexing their marketing muscle on the internet. And trust us when we say this, businesses try everything, everything to woo followers.
This effort has only escalated over the years as modern, social media-savvy consumers have higher expectations from the brands they engage with. It’s definitely no easy task to come out with a campaign that checks off all these boxes:
- Catching your followers’ attention
- Hitting the right tone
- Making sense for your brand
The worst case scenarios have multiplied—you could be called out for being tone-deaf like Woolworths who’s recent V-day banner that addressed men about women ‘borrowing their razor’ drew ire. Or you could just be the resident weirdo for making heart-shaped Pizzas and even releasing your own perfume that smells like dough…yeah, let that one sink in.
TL;DR—consumers want you to step up your game.
E-cards, chocolates and Snapchat filters are almost passe now—after all, we live in an age where Ubers will deliver fresh roses to your beau even if it’s not necessarily Feb 14th. We don’t mean you have to follow the flood and pour in large budgets into a splashy social media campaign. We want you to take a harder look at what Valentine’s Day marketing is really all about, to crack the concept before you make your royal dive!
Unlike traditional holidays, there are more approaches that can be taken to addressing a largely consumer-driven celebration like Valentine’s day. It helps that V-day as a concept is also being redefined with each passing year and everyone from best friends to pet cats make for Valentines. It doesn’t always involve sending expensive gifts and indulgent experiences.
Let’s look at 5 such campaigns and try to decide what approaches seem to work for brands on social media.
Campaign USP: Market research through creative UGC (user-generated campaign)
Marketing the sentiment behind the day, the mobile carrier pulled off a campaign that is still being talked about, years later. Capitalizing on the whopper of a business year that the telecom company enjoyed in 2013 with 4.4 million new subscribers, it rolled out a truly creative V-day campaign the following year. It was fairly simple—it asked users to write break-up letters to their former mobile service providers. With letters like these coming in, you can see why the campaign announced that over 80,000 took part.
That’s not just some killer marketing, but also a treasure trove of market research insights for T-Mobile.
Campaign USP: Multi-channel brand-building through a giveaway contest
Spread across multiple social channels, Travelex launched a campaign that was pretty straightforward—post a lovey-dovey photo with your partner, win a chance to fly to Paris. With the hashtag #TravelexKiss, the campaign definitely saw the traction it set out to achieve. Given that most people enjoy free tickets to France, we’re not particularly surprised. Moral of the story: A giveaway campaign tailored for your target demographic is always a good idea if you can’t come up with anything too crazy. It worked that the campaign fell in line with the industry the company worked in: travel & finance.
3. Wayside Chapel
Campaign USP: Brand recall by promoting community/cause
Shifting the focus on our attitudes around Valentine’s day spending, an Aussie Wayside Chapel has been quietly running a successful campaign. With the tagline ‘Nothing Says “I Love You” Like a Pair of Clean Undies‘, the Chapel’s campaign has been running successive years of the campaign and driving large proceeds, in order to buy clean underwear for the homeless—giving them the ‘gift of dignity’ on the occasion of Valentine’s Day. And as thanks for all the pairs of underwear that you contribute, Wayside also sends a special card to your Valentine. It may not be a huge internet sensation, but we think this campaign is one for the ages.
Campaign USP: Building engagement and social media presence
Mr. Peanut—the anthropomorphized peanut mascot of the popular snack Planter, together with the famous therapist Dr. Ruth, have decided it’d be a good idea to help people with their love problems for V-day this year! Recently, they took to Twitter to hear out love woes plaguing netizens, using the hashtag #AskDrRuth offering advice of date ideas and more in return for some good ol’ engagement and brand-building on Twitter.
Needless to say, the questions are pouring in.
Campaign USP: Brand recall through shock value
How would you like your local pest control company to send you and your date a box of chocolate covered insects? We really wish we were kidding, but Terminix has potentially one-upped every single V-day marketing idea on any drawing board with this very bold offering.
Asking us if we’re “bitten by the love bug“, the termite killing services has kindly offered to send the winners of this campaign a box of chocolate coated bugs to impress your Valentine. Leave aside the fact that not a lot of people might be too keen on feeding their date a box of bugs, the campaign definitely gets points for the shock factor. We’re not asking you to pull a Terminix, but introduce some shock-factor into your marketing (at your own risk, of course!)
Hey, we’re all for people investing in experiences—especially if it means we get to write about it.