Valentine’s Day: A Digital Marketing Love Story

The 14th of February has passed and it brought us: expensive chocolates, red roses, secret admirers, potential rings on fingers and love in the air. Many of us lonely enough on this Hallmark holiday (and in advertising) might have looked at it objectively and saw it for what it was… a content creators not so dry dream. Well that’s at least my take on it – let me explain.

If you’re not familiar with the above term Hallmark holiday, it most probably means you’re not holding hands with your husband or wife of 40+ years. If that’s the case, then I’m probably right in assuming your idea of a birthday card is a Facebook post on a friends wall 20 minutes before the strike of midnight.

Well, Hallmark was – and still is – one of the biggest card manufactures around the world. Their eloquent messages and well designed cards became synonymous symbols of any moment you wanted to share with a close friend or loved one.  It was through their presence at every special holiday in a year that earned them that honour and title – I guess Handmade holidays didn’t roll off the tongue as easily.

It was with this world domination and market share for owning special moments, that lead to the over marketed presence and need for romantic gestures on this ‘special’ day. Think about the impact this had on the following businesses and industries: bakeries, chocolatiers, florists, restaurants, barber shop quartets?, cinemas, lingerie stores and jewelers.

It’s with these successes and the innovation of technologies that has seen more than just the above players wanting to get their own slice of the heart-shaped-cake. This day is now about grabbing attention and focus away from competitors. All businesses will have a Valentine’s Day post – much like this – across their channels to get you the consumer to fall in love with them and their content.

What’s really exciting is when brands use the day to get creative and align their brand with cupids arrow. Some noticeable digital examples we are totally in love with include:


UBER Complimentary Valentine’s Day Rose

Back in 2017 UBER saved the day for the forgetful lover, friend or secret admirer.  They built into the App a rose button function, that once pressed would send a red rose to either yourself to pass on later or directly to the intended person. What was brilliant about this whole digital experience is that there were a limited number of roses that could be UBERed between 11am to 2pm. This prompted users to act fast and spend money on a trip they didn’t even take – although there was precious cargo.

To cap it off, there was a competition being run that the users had no idea about. Thus leading to a couple winning an all expenses special V-Day night out on UBER at a selected Bar, Restaurant and Hotel for a romantics night stay.

UBER seized the day by transforming their platform from the delivery of persons to that of flowers. All while saving people, the time and effort of going to an overpriced and packed florist and a possible fight for missing the occasion.


Deadpool Hijacks V-Day

For anyone who has seen the Deadpool movie (and comics) will know that this anti-hero is anything but Valentine’s Day date material. Yet the genius of their marketing strategy and build up to the international release on the 14th February 2016, made those seeing the trailer or hearing about it for the first time, think it might be a romantic comedy. This put the knowing partner into the driving seat; all while winning brownie points for suggesting a new rom com featuring Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin. What insured was a sarcastic violent blood bath poking fun at every superhero film before it.

What was so brilliant about this ATL & BTL marketing campaign was that the tone of voice from the fictional character jumped out of the screen and into our feeds. Wade Wilson (Deadpool) seemed to be the one tweeting and rallying the support with his unapologetically-honest-quick-witted-humour. The movie sold itself by taking a day of love and hijacking it for its own narrative – now the whole world not so secretly admires this movie franchise.  


P.S. Cadbury Microsite & Mzansi Love Songs

When it’s a home grown campaign it’s even sweeter for us. Yesterday, chocolate giant Cadbury gave the well-known P.S. candy bar its very own Microsite to promote love songs written by the everyday South African which was then performed by professional artists.

Once on the Cadbury microsite you could choose from 48 original songs that catered to each of our countries eleven languages. You selected a unique album cover (heart inspired of course) and typed in your special someone’s name and viola! P.S. had a personalized song for you to share with your person this V-Day. For those all about quantity over quality, you could repeat this process by downloading a full album of unique titles to send to your many crushes.

Along with the Mzansi Love Songs, P.S. had created unique GIFs and downloadable images that followed their bold and playful CI that you could send around social media. This strategy was a real winner in our eyes as it indulged our taste buds and invigorated our ear buds.

Hopefully, these three simple but big digital romantic gestures prove to you the power that a well thought out content campaign can hold on a day as popular as Valentine’s. Your target market is already looking out for love on this Hallmark holiday, either waiting to be passed a box of chocolates or to be given a bouquet of flowers. Why not go one better and share with them creative content that gets them sending your brand love letters and kisses for the remainder of the year. With all that mentioned, you will turn a single day interaction into a lifelong relationship.

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