Some count down the days to Valentine’s Day, waiting eagerly for the excuse to treat your other half and the opportunity to express your love for them. Others brandish Valentine’s as the ‘hallmark’ holiday, promoted by retailers to drain us of our well-earned money. Either opinion you take, every year retailers create some great campaigns around this celebration, utilising all channels and tones.topshop
In this blog we have picked out our favourite creative advertising campaigns from Valentine’s Days over the years, and explore what makes them such a success.
Uber - Romance on Demand, 2013
In 2013, Uber proved that any retailer can get involved with Valentine’s Day. On 14th February 2013 in 15 major US cities, Uber entered the floral industry as it transformed its mobile app into a rose delivery service.
By logging onto your Uber app and requesting roses to be sent to a location of your choice, a suited-up Uber driver delivered a bouquet of roses straight to your loved one’s door with a personalised card. Though this romantic, and disguisedly easy, gesture cost $100-150, it proved to be highly popular, spreading Uber’s name, encouraging app downloads and proving that any retailer can profit from Valentine spending.
Orange – Isn’t it Tweet, 2011
One for the romantic type, Orange invited couples to tweet the story of how they got together with their other half. Select lucky winners would then have this story designed into an animation, recollecting the first few stages of their relationship, which they could then send to their partner on Valentine’s.
Improving social media presence appears to have been Orange’s primary aim as entrants had to post their story on Twitter with the hashtag #feedlovestories and if they were picked, their video would be posted on Orange’s YouTube channel.
Carphone Warehouse – Bouquet, 2013
Valentine’s Day can be an expensive time of the year for many as we struggle to afford presents for our other half. Carphone Warehouse took this feeling onboard with their 2013 campaign in which they purchased a full-page ad in various newspapers with images of roses and wrapping paper. The ad then instructed you on how to fold the paper to make it appear like a bouquet of roses, so you don't have to buy the over-priced bunch of exotic flowers.
A creative and tongue-in-cheek ad, the concept of Carphone Warehouse helping you to save money fitted perfectly with Carphone Warehouse’s tagline - ‘We compare, you save.’
Starbucks - AR Valentine’s Cups, 2012
In 2012, Starbucks took advantage of the ever-increasing smartphone usage by creating a mobile Valentine’s campaign. By pointing your phone’s camera at a Starbucks coffee cup with a love heart on it, you could send this image directly to a contact on your phone. When the picture was seen, fluttering heart-shaped petals would fly across the user’s screen, utilising AR (augmented reality).
This campaign cleverly encouraged customers to download the Starbucks mobile app as you could only get involved through their app. Moreover, you needed to buy a cup of their coffee to take the photo - simple yet effective idea.
Heineken – Serenade, 2012
Too shy to ask your crush out on a date on Valentine’s Day? In 2012 Heineken were there to help. Via a Valentine’s Facebook app, you entered the name of your crush, why you fancy them and what the date plan is. Heineken’s app then transformed this into a musical serenade and posted it on to the recipient’s Facebook wall for them to watch. They could then decide whether they would accept the offer of a date which in turn would send a serenade onto the admirer’s wall.
Available in 20 languages, it was highly popular and brought a well-needed lighter tone to Valentine’s Day campaigns. And who knows, it may have even helped a shy teenager get a date on.
Topshop – Valentine’s Dilemmas, 2014
We’ve all suffered the agonizing nerves before a date as we panic about what to wear, to drink and to talk as we fear for awkward silences. Topshop decided to recreate this scenario in their 2014 Valentine’s video, reflecting every cliche moment you can imagine. However, to cleverly advertise their clothing, the video focuses heavily on the dilemma of choosing what to wear. This allows the couple to fashion several outfits, with each item then showcased below so you can ‘Shop the video’ – a brilliantly interactive way to advertise their products, as well as ensuring that they are targeting the right audience.
Asda - Twosie, 2013
Asda’s Valentine’s Day ad in 2013 showed that smaller campaigns are valuable in their own right too. The supermarket chain launched a Valentine-appropriate product in the build up to Valentine’s – a twosie (a onesite for two people). Drawing from the popularity of onesies, Asda advertised their twosies as the perfect Valentine’s gift to enjoy with your partner.
Priced only at £25 each and very limited numbers available, they soon began to trend on social media and sold out with great speed. Although a very simple Valentine’s Day ad and idea, it increased their social presence and brought customers into the shop and online.
Schwarzkopf - A Declaration of Love, 2014
Even those with the hardest of hearts will struggle not to be affected by the understated romanticism of Schwarzkopf’s Valentine’s Day ad. Depicting a couple in love, the ad focuses on the reasons why the man loves the woman, detailing her unique quirks and mannerisms. So how does this advertise Schwarzkopf? The ad primarily shows us shots of the woman, so allowing them to continually draw attention to her hair. In this way, the brand is subconsciously promoted throughout the ad. Subtle, but with cliches swamping Valentine's Day, it's a much-needed welcome relief.
KFC - Song Request, 2012
In the run up to Valentine’s Day, KFC took customer service to another level. Unfortunately only taking place in Asia, KFC allowed their customers to request a song on their date at KFC. Encouraging them to go online to choose a day/time and location, KFC promised to play their chosen song on their visit to make their date extra special.
A particularly unique idea, it was cheap, easy to deliver and a sure way to improve customer satisfaction. I'm sure many are hoping this marketing campaign will come to the UK soon too.
Tesco - Awkward Scenarios, 2015
Even those of us happily in love can get sick of the schmaltzy romanticism of Valentine’s Day from time to time. Tesco played upon this in their 2015 Valentine’s campaign by creating five sarcastic vines depicting awkward scenarios as you bump into your ex in the supermarket aisles. The inexpensive nature of these vines is part of its charm and makes it far more relatable; proving that you don’t have to spend big bucks to create effective campaigns. Choosing to create 6-second vines that play automatically as opposed to a 2-minute video also increased the chances of watching it.
With Valentine’s Day getting bigger each year, it will be as interesting as always to see what campaigns retailers will conjure up to get us spending. For more eCommerce analysis and discussion, download a guide (or two) today below: