Gotta Love These Valentine's Day Marketing Ideas
Written by: Stephanie Bariatti, SMB Media Marketing Consultant
I’ve always been a big fan of Valentine’s Day. I just think it’s sweet. Yes, I know there are lots of you who hate this day with every fiber of your being, and I get it. I really do. It can be totally over the top, mushy-gushy and quite frankly, gag-inducing. It can also make single people feel like they have no reason to take part in the festivities. And some of you might simply feel that it is just overrated. But, since it is such a manufactured “holiday” anyway, we can kind of make it whatever we want it to be in our own lives. Right?
These days, Valentine’s Day is indeed taking on a different meaning. While there is still a heavy emphasis on the lovey-dovey stuff, February 14th does not have to be for couples only. We’ve seen this becoming more popular in recent years, but many people now see it as an opportunity to celebrate love in its many forms, whether it’s romantic, platonic or self-love.
Setting the trend, as usual, Gen Z and Milennials are mainly responsible for the twist on Valentine’s Day. 73% of people in these generations think that Valentine’s Day is just a good opportunity to show affection to their loved ones. They are taking a fun, light-hearted approach to the day and not setting any high-pressure expectations. And they are going to spend. According to Ypulse, apart from buying gifts for spouses or partners, 13% planned to buy gifts for friends, 21% for their moms, 15% for their dads and 38% for their kids. In addition, 20% of people will buy gifts for their pets in the leadup to Valentine’s Day.
So for businesses, this basically translates into a chance to present nearly any product or service as a Valentine’s gift.
That being said, here a few useful tips for your Valentine’s Day marketing:
- Encourage user-generated content. Invite customers to post photos and share Valentine’s Day stories on your social media platforms. They can be happy, sad, funny, inspirational. You can do a lot with this and drive engagement.
- Offer limited time deals or freebies – buy one for you and get one free for someone you love, etc.
- Offer gift guides or date night ideas. This is super helpful in guiding folks toward actual items or services, especially for those who are unsure of what to get.
- Focus on non-romance – “Galentines” gatherings and other friend gifts/experiences, pet gifts and the anti-Valentine crowd. Yes, that’s right. Let’s not forget there is a whole group of people that will shell out for gifts that say things like “I hate you the least.”
- Show a little love to a charity that’s close to you. Pledge to donate a portion of Valentine’s Day sales. We have seen that this kind of social consciousness means a lot to the younger generations.
- But, let’s not forget self-love! Remind customers it’s ok to indulge in themselves a bit. Promote “me time.”
- Above all, be creative and find a way to stand out!
And now, just for fun, I want to give a shout out to some of the most unique gift ideas I’ve seen so far.
- Edible Arrangements – This year, the famous fruit bouquet company is offering “Love on Fire,” which is a box of chocolate covered strawberries sprinkled with ghost pepper flakes. It’s not for the faint of heart. According to the brand, “Ghost peppers are over 100 times hotter than a jalapeño and trigger your brain to release endorphins and dopamine. Combined, these chemicals create a euphoria similar to falling in love.” That’s one unique way to spice up your Valentine’s Day. Although, it might make more sense to send this to someone you don’t really like instead!
- Krispy Kreme – The company is bringing back its popular doughnut conversation hearts. They come in 4 colors, 4 flavors and 24 fun sayings, from “Pick Me!” to “So Extra.” Super cute! I think I’ll “Say Yes” to a box of these!
- Olive Garden – Another one to file under the category of “Yum!” The restaurant chain is selling bouquets of breadsticks as part of their Valentine’s Day Dinner for 2 ToGo. These breadsticks have somewhat of a cult fan base, so I’m sure there are many people who would choose this over a bouquet of flowers any day! Olive Garden will even kindly throw in a box of after-dinner mints because, you know, garlic.
- Coors Light– Absolutely love this one. The beer brand is encouraging people to make a furry friend their forever Valentine. Anyone of legal drinking age who resides in an eligible state and adopts a dog between February 4 and February 21, 2020 can text a picture of their adoption receipt to Coors Light. After review, the first 1000 eligible participants will be given $100 to apply toward their adoption fees. For full rules visit www.promorules.com/PL013422.
- Name a Cockroach – This one makes me laugh every year. At the Bronx Zoo, you can pay $15 to name a Madagascar hissing cockroach for a loved one. The Zoo says, "You don't always have the right words, but you can still give them goosebumps. Name a roach for your Valentine, because roaches are forever." If you shell out $55, you'll get a printed certificate, roach socks and a roach candle. The certificates show two roaches "kissing." However, some zoos and museums, like the El Paso Zoo, don’t take such a sweet approach. They offer to name cockroaches after exes and feed them to hungry meerkats. In 2019, the zoo received so many names, it had to spread the cockroaches out to other animals. You can watch the feast over a live stream.
Kudos to these marketing and PR teams!
Even if the thought of it makes your eyes roll, I think we should all find a way to participate in Valentine’s Day next week, even if it’s just a tiny gesture. And so what? A little extra love going around just might be what this world needs right now.
Stephanie Bariatti works as a Consultant and Project Manager for SMB Media Consulting. She has had extensive experience with many facets of advertising and media, having worked for and with creative agencies, production companies and research departments. She lives in New York with her wonderful husband, three lovable little boys and a snuggly Golden Retriever.