- Best video advertising campaign – Teleflora
- Best co-marketing campaign – KFC and Deliveroo
- Best giveaway campaign – Coors Light
- Best native advertising campaign – Budweiser, China
- Best packaging campaign – Gü Desserts
- Best social media campaign – Junk King
- Best pop-up store campaign – Pip & Nut
- Best guerilla marketing campaign – El Paso Zoo
Valentine’s Day brand campaigns are definitely no longer just those sickly sweet celebrations of romance. While brands are still focused on themes of love, the best marketing campaigns have a certain edge that draws the customers in – whether it’s celebrating a welcome break up with an ex, encouraging connection with a pet rather than a partner, or exploring diversity of different types of relationships.
This year is expected to be the biggest Valentine’s Day ever, with overall spending forecast to reach $27.4 billion, an increase of over 30% from last year. How are brands worldwide cashing in? What is the best Valentine’s Day marketing strategy we’ve seen in a range of categories? Let’s take a look:
1. Video advertising
There’s no better gift you can possibly give on Valentine’s Day than flowers. That’s the message by Teleflora, the floral wire service, in their series of funny Valentine’s Day video ads showing different love-gift fails. Like a clingy coffee mug that drives the recipient crazy at work. Or an annoying talking teddy bear. According to Teleflora, “Flowers Say It Best”, and the video ads do a great job of convincing the viewers!
Brand: KFC and Deliveroo (Singapore)
In Singapore, couples are declaring their love over fried chicken with a co-marketing campaign by KFC and Deliveroo food delivery company. It’s not the first time the two brands have joined forces for Valentine’s Day to offer couples a little extra love on the special day. This year, with the “Will Delive-roo be my Valentine” campaign, couples can pre-order home delivery of the KFC love meal combo, which includes a delicious chicken dinner, plus a limited edition KFC bucket ring designed and crafted by local jewelry brand Gemnesis. A ring and chicken? It’s the perfect combo for powerful (and tasty) brand recognition!
Brand: Coors Light
Ever heard of “cuffing season”? It’s the cold winter months when singles get together to have someone to cozy up to. And for this year’s Valentine’s Day, Coors Light beer brand is calling for a boycott of cuffing season, and encouraging people to adopt a dog instead! And they just might be onto something. According to the National Retail Federation, total spending for pets on Valentine’s Day was forecast at over $800 million in 2019. In this creative giveaway campaign, Coors Light offers $100 towards dog adoption fees to the first 1000 people to qualify. It’s a great way to brand itself “The Official Beer for Skipping Cuffing Season” while promoting a good cause.
4. Native advertising
Brand: Budweiser, China
Valentine’s Day is not just in February. The Qixi Festival is the Chinese festival of love, celebrated on the 7th day of the 7th month of the Chinese lunar calendar, which means it usually falls sometime in August. For Qixi 2019, the Budweiser beer brand launched a video ad celebrating diversity in love, featuring several couples and their unique relationships. It’s raw, heartfelt, authentic, moving and engaging – everything a native video ad should be. Cheers!
Brand: Gü Desserts
Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to indulge in sweets, and the British Gü Desserts brand is taking full advantage. They’ve released a Valentine’s Day campaign called Love Notes, a series of love-themed packaging for selected Gü desserts, each with a love song title adapted to the Gü brand. So, you can buy salted caramel cheesecakes for your loved one, complete with packaging that states “I’m in love with the shape of Gü.” Or perhaps you prefer to gift the berry flavored shortbread cheesecakes that sing “I can’t take my eyes off of Gü.” Whichever you choose, this smart love-themed packaging gets the message across in a totally brand immersive way.
6. Social media
Brand: Junk King
How does the holiday of love tie into junk removal? For Junk King, the answer is obvious! It’s Dumptruck or Lovestruck! The junk removal company is sending bright red dump trucks to several major US cities, where people can dump the junk left behind by their exes for free! But the company is also taking a more positive spin, with a social media competition for couples who are moving in together. They have a chance to win a free dump truck service to get rid of all those things they don’t need after the big lovestruck move. Couples must submit a photo of themselves on Facebook with the hashtag #JKLOVEStruck and tag their local Junk King franchise for the chance to be in the running.
Heavy hearts deserve a junk haul. Whether you’re full of love or loveless, Junk King will win you over this Valentines season. Contact us to see whether the Lovestruck or the Dump Truck will roll up to your local Junk King. pic.twitter.com/13RIMrJqOy
— JUNK KING (@JunkKingCorp) February 9, 2020
7. Pop-up store
Brand: Pip & Nut
Pop-up stores are a fast-growing marketing tactic, and they are often used for seasonal or holiday marketing campaigns. That’s what nut butter brand Pip & Nut is up to in London. They’re opening a pop-up store over the Valentine’s Day holiday, called the “Love Lab”, where customers can create their own custom blends of nut butter. It’s a great example of an interactive pop-up store experience that drives brand awareness and engagement and enables the brand to get face-to-face with customers. Plus, the company is donating one jar of nut butter to a local food bank for every jar created during the campaign – that’s true marketing love!
8. Guerrilla marketing
Brand: El Paso Zoo
Valentine’s Day is not always about love and light and lollypops. El Paso Zoo in Texas is making a memorable mark this year with a truly guerilla (or cockroach…) marketing campaign. For those who recently went through a breakup, well, revenge is a dish best served to a meerkat. The zoo is giving people the opportunity to name a cockroach after their ex, and all the offending creatures will be fed to the meerkats and other animals during a three-day period over Valentine’s Day 2020. Named “Quit Bugging Me”, the anti-Valentine’s Day campaign is a tongue-in-cheek testament to love…gone wrong.
The most important thing is to maintain a sense of humor, and that’s easy to do on Valentine’s Day with parody sites like Amazon Dating (spoiler – it’s fake) or the major faux pas by cell phone carriers in the UK, who unwittingly sent out old Valentine’s Day messages to dozens of people – in November.
But make no mistake. Valentine’s Day marketing is serious business, involving billions of spending dollars. Consumers today are smarter, savvier and better informed than ever before. Traditional Valentine’s Day campaigns are falling by the wayside as brands move towards edgier approaches and tongue-in-cheek love messages.