Hitting the Target with Valentine’s Day Marketing

Kris Estrella  | 

While roses, jewelry and chocolate may never go out of style, Valentine’s Day celebrations are no doubt experiencing a revolution. The charge is led in part by Gen Z and millennials, whose views on how to commemorate Cupid’s holiday extend beyond a traditional romantic date. The National Retail Federation reported that millennials comprised the biggest-spending Valentine’s Day demographic in 2018, which makes this a trend worth watching. Here’s how marketers can benefit from using novel ideas to attract attention on February 14.

Opt for User-Generated Content
Building buzz often boils down to connecting with consumers and finding fresh ways to elicit customer engagement. User-generated content strikes both notes on digital channels, and Valentine’s Day presents the perfect opportunity to introduce a marketing campaign that invites users to spread love in unique, creative ways. Tiffany & Co. accomplished it with stickers, launching their online Tattoo Hub that let lovebirds create bespoke works of art using a variety of fonts and images—including, of course, the iconic baby blue box. Personalized “tattoos” could then be sent via social media, in lieu of traditional paper cards. MeUndies ran an Instagram photo contest asking couples to post pictures of themselves in matching pairs of knickers, with the accompanying #MatchMeUndies hashtag. Results were playful and diverse, reflective of the brand’s tone and image.

Go Beyond Romance
Approximately 28 percent of young consumers (ages 13 to 36) spent Valentine’s Day last  year celebrating with friends instead of a romantic partner. In fact, 73 percent of millennials and Gen Zers believe the holiday is simply a good chance to show kindness to friends and family. Getting in on Galentine’s or Palentine’s Day, the V-day iterations that let gals and pals shower each other with friendly affection, proved beneficial for The Body Shop. The cosmetics company hosted a kiss-blowing contest timed with the release of Lip Juicers, their fruit-scented lip balm. Participants shared photos of themselves blowing a smooch to a tagged bestie, and winners scored a product gift pack to be shared. A further evolution of that concept finds many people focusing love on their pets on February 14th. The National Retail Federation reported that 27 percent of Americans planned to buy gifts for their favorite furry buddy last year, for a total of $1.7 billion spent on pets. Subscription service BarkBox released special love packages containing items like rose-shaped squeaky toys or “shredible arrangement” treats.

Finally, self-love is having a moment, as brands tap into various opportunities centered around solo pampering and “me” time. London pop-up restaurant Two4One, in partnership with Tastecard (a discount card accepted by many UK eateries), plans to seat single diners in front of large mirrors so they can spend Valentine’s Day dinner reflecting on themselves.

Be Anti V-Day
Not everyone is feeling the love on February 14. Some consumers are nursing bruised hearts—the reason anti-Valentine’s Day gifts were invented. Marketers are finding innovative ways to help the not-so-starry-eyed seek respite, with messages that are a more spice, less sweet. The Break-Up Letter from T-Mobile helped dissatisfied customers end relationships with existing service carriers by penning Dear John notes. Users could formulate specific wording based on copy contained in various templates, then shout it to the world on social media. And this month, the San Diego Zoo will host its “Cry Me a Cockroach!” event, which lets revenge-seekers buy a cockroach ($5) or a rat ($25), name it for their ex and have an employee feed it to an animal. Proving there are ever more reasons for marketers fall in love with Valentine’s Day.

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